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Eat These Foods to Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is being linked to more and more conditions. Conditions of particular interest to people in recovery include depression, heart disease, arthritis, and chronic pain. Inflammation is basically what happens when your body believes it’s under threat from a virus or bacteria. The immune system releases antibodies to attack the invader. The problem is, there may be no invader to attack. In the case of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, your immune system attacks your own cells. If you have inflammation, you may experience the same aches and fatigue you would experience with a cold or the flu. You may experience this as depression or chronic pain. Clearly, this is not helpful for recovery. Here are some food to eat and some to avoid if you want to reduce inflammation.

Leafy greens.

You can’t go wrong with leafy greens. They are nutrient dense, contain loads of antioxidants, and are high in fiber. These include spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and chard. You can increase their anti-inflammatory punch by drizzling a little olive oil on them.

Green tea.

Like leafy greens, green tea is packed with antioxidants. The catechins and polyphenols in green tea make it a powerful anti-inflammatory. As a bonus, it also has low levels of caffeine and L-theanine, so you are alert, but not jittery like you might be with coffee.

Olive oil.

Olive oil is thought to be one reason the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. It contains omega-3s and contains phenols that reduce inflammation. Be sure to buy extra virgin olive oil, the fresher the better. If possible, get olive oils from California. Other countries tend to send us the dregs, and oxidized olive oil is not as good for you.


Tomatoes are full of the anti-inflammatory compound lycopene. Lycopene is mainly found in the skin, so cherry tomatoes have more per volume. Also, olive oil increases your absorption of lycopene, so enjoy a caprese salad.


Especially berries. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that reduce inflammation by turning off inflammation producing genes. Other fruits like apples, bananas, and pineapple are also good.

While the above foods will help reduce inflammation, it’s just as important to reduce your intake of foods that increase inflammation. You probably know intuitively what these are because they are what we call junk food. Inflammatory foods contain things like refined carbohydrates, such as pastries, white bread, and sugary cereals. Fried food is generally fried in oils high in inflammatory omega-6s. Foods high in sugar, especially soda will increase inflammation. Perhaps less well known is red meat, especially if it’s highly processed and contains preservatives such as nitrates. Not only do these foods increase inflammation in themselves, they are likely to make you gain weight, which also increases inflammation.

A healthy diet is only one important aspect of a successful recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.