What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Cheryl Toner, MS RDN

How we eat is one action we can all take to help our bodies fight chronic inflammation.1 Food compounds such as fatty acids can help calm inflammation, and certain foods have more beneficial compounds than others. For example, walnuts are high in an omega-3 fat called ALA that has been shown to reduce inflammation in cell culture and animal studies, which are important steps in formulating hypotheses about how nutrition may affect human health.2 The effects of anti-inflammatory compounds in humans and their significance to human health is still being explored through research.3,4
However, there is research to show that walnuts may play a part in reducing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (both of which are related to inflammation in the body), when consumed as part of a plant-based diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.5,6

1 Galland L. Diet and inflammation. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2010:25(6):634-40.

2 Hardman E. Diet components can suppress inflammation and reduce cancer risk, Nutrition, Research and Practice. 2014;8(3):233-40.

3 Calder et al. A consideration of biomarkers to be used for evaluation of inflammation in human nutritional studies. Br J Nutr. 2013;109(S1):S1-34.

4 Albers et al. Monitoring immune modulation by nutrition in the general population: identifying and substantiating effects on human health. Br J Nutr. 2013:110(S2):S1-30.

5 Kris-Etherton PM. Walnuts decrease risk of cardiovascular disease: a summary of efficacy and biologic mechanisms. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4 Suppl):547S-554S.

6 Pan A, Sun Q, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Walnut consumption is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women. J Nutr. 2013 Apr;
143(4):512-8.

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