Inflammation is more than just feeling bloated or swollen. It's the body's natural immune system response when fighting an infection or injury. When inflammation lingers, that's a sign that your body is always on high alert. This is known as chronic inflammation, some research has linked it to trigger a range of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. 
There are a number of things that can cause inflammation, some of those include smoking, drinking, and being overweight. But on the bright side, these are all things that are in your control. One of the best things to do to help reduce inflammation is to prioritize a healthy diet. Diet has been shown to play a role in helping lower inflammation levels. So, if you want to keep your health in optimal shape and want to reduce inflammation (or promote weight loss), then consider adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet! We have a list of 8 foods that will help fight inflammation and even enhance your training recovery, plus tips on how to incorporate them into your current diet!
8 foods that fight inflammation
Reducing inflammation comes down to this simple rule (in terms of diet) - focus on eating whole foods. Always aim to fill your daily meals with nutrient-dense foods, and minimize the amount of processed foods you eat. Processed foods are often the culprit of inflammation, but we'll give you more on that later!
Add these nutritious inflammation-fighting foods that will also help improve your overall health...
Not only are avocados creamy and delicious, but they are also packed with healthy monounsaturated fats - a heart healthy fat! It also contains a good amount of fiber, one half of an avocado can contain up to 7 grams of fiber. A diet high in fiber is ideal to reduce inflammation because it helps keeps our guts healthy and happy!
If you're not already eating avocados on the regular, then don't worry because there are so many ways to include them in your diet. You can have them for breakfast by topping your omelet with sliced avocados or making a savory avocado toast. You can also add some to your salads, brown rice bowls, or make some tasty guacamole!
Berries are hands-down one of the best fruits to eat! They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and most importantly they contain high levels of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant known for having anti-inflammatory effects. 
Stock up on strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries! You can eat them by themselves, frozen, use them in yogurts, smoothies, and protein shakes. Or if you're craving something sweet melt some dark chocolate to dip into with strawberries! Dark chocolate (above 80% cocoa) has antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects too!
Cherries are another fruit you want to add to your list! Just like berries, cherries also contain anthocyanins which help reduce inflammation. Plus, it's packed with vitamin C which is known to help keep your immune system healthy. And in case you didn't know, tart cherry juice is actually a food used for muscle recovery! That's because anthocyanins act as an anti-inflammatory which helps decrease muscle pain and reduce muscle damage after intense training. 
Incorporate cherries into your diet by using them in your smoothies, yogurts, or eating them just as they are! If you want to eat them for muscle recovery benefits then have a small glass of tart cherry juice concentrate post-workout.
Fatty fish are known to be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These omega-3's are metabolized in the body into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which give it its anti-inflammatory health benefits.  Not only that, but they're also packed with protein and other important nutrients!
The best fatty fish to eat are salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. Include any of these heart-healthy fish at least twice a week! You can have smoked salmon for breakfast to switch things up, have sardines as snacks, or make salmon for lunch and dinner. Don't be afraid to try something new, you may find something you end up loving!
This should come as no surprise and already be part of your diet! Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are packed with various nutrients and vitamins that help reduce inflammation, this includes vitamin K, lutein, and folate. Research shows that pretty much every dark leafy green has unique anti-inflammatory properties.  So, this is a great way to mix things up and get variety in your meals!
To make sure you're getting enough leafy greens in your diet, aim to eat a salad a day. Spice things up by having an omelet over a mix of spinach, arugula, and other greens. Or make your meal prep easier by making an easy kale salad for the week topped with other nutrient-dense veggies like bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes! Here's a kale salad pro tip: massage the kale with olive oil and lemon until it turns a dark green color. This will help make it taste better, but also easier to chew and digest! Plus, olive oil is another anti-inflammatory food to add to your pantry...
Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be one of, if not the most, healthiest fat to eat. It's a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which is popular for its heart-healthy benefits. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and studies have linked the consumption of it to help reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions.  What sets this oil apart from others? Besides it being rich in monounsaturated fats, it contains an antioxidant known as oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is known for having anti-inflammatory effects similar to ibuprofen.
Instead of using refined oils, use extra virgin olive oil for low heat cooking or drizzle some on your salads, eggs, use it as an ingredient for dressings and even baking!
Start eating more tomatoes! Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense fruit that is high in vitamin c, potassium, and an antioxidant called lycopene which contains anti-inflammatory properties.  The greatest thing is that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can actually maximize the amount of lycopene your body absorbs! So you get two anti-inflammatory foods in one.
Besides cooking tomatoes in oils, eat them raw! Add them into your salads, have them as a snack, or make fresh salsa. Limiting the amount they're cooked will ensure you're getting all the good nutrients!
Turmeric is always the most talked-about spice when it comes to reducing inflammation, and although we agree, it's not the only spice you should include in your diet. Focus on including a range of different dried herbs and spices instead of just relying on one. So, grab turmeric, clove, oregano, ginger, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, etc.
Salt is known to cause inflammation, so a good way to incorporate spices into your everyday cooking is by reducing the salt and mixing things up with spices! You can add cinnamon to your coffee or oatmeal, cook quinoa by adding turmeric in the water, using oregano, parsley, and fresh garlic when cooking your chicken, red meat, legumes, and more.
What to avoid
As we said earlier, chronic inflammation is associated with several health issues. Chronic inflammation can actually be caused by a number of things, including consistently eating pro-inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates. According to a meta-analysis published in June 2019, a diet high in sugar, fried foods, dairy, processed meats, and refined carbs has been seen to increase the risk of mortality by 23%.  And all those foods are known to increase inflammation. So, reducing the intake of these foods is the first and crucial step.
To make it easier, here are some of the worst foods that promote inflammation:
- Fast food.
- Refined carbs like white bread, pasta, crackers, biscuits, etc.
- Sugary drinks.
- Hot dogs
- Canned meats
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
Reduce the consumption of these foods and added sugars, and increase your intake of veggies, fruits, and the 8 anti-inflammatory foods listed above! This will not only help reduce inflammation, but it can also help enhance your muscle recovery and improve your overall health and wellness! Oh and throw some strength training into the mix, moving your body is a good way to get your body moving and blood flowing which can also help to reduce inflammation.