Here is the detail below on what foods and substitutes:


Inflammatory Agent: Excessive sugar intake has been linked to tooth decay, increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and chronic inflammation!

Avoid: Beverages like soft drinks, punches, fruit drinks.  Avoid candy, pastries, deserts, and sweet snacks.  Did you know there are 39 grams of sugar in a can of Coke!  Read labels and look for sugar disguised with these names: corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, golden syrup, sucrose and maltose.

Substitute: Natural sweeteners like Stevia, honey, or blackstrap molasses sparingly. OK to eat natural sugars found in fresh fruit which also supply vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.


Inflammatory Agent: Common vegetable cooking oils used in many homes and restaurants have very high omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Avoid: Polyunsaturated oils: cottonseed, grape seed, safflower, corn, and sunflower oils- beware these are often used in most processed foods.

Substitute: Macadamia oil, or extra virgin olive oil.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Trans-fatty acids are notorious for their double whammy effect: they increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, while lowering levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol. But that is not all they can do. They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the ground for degenerative illnesses to take place.

Avoid: Fast foods; deep fried foods; commercially baked goods, anything made with partially hydrogenated oil, or vegetable shortening.  Commercially prepared peanut butter is one good example of foods that add partially hydrogenated oil.

Substitute: Natural peanut butter and foods without the trans-fats.


Inflammatory Agent: Milk is a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses like IBS, skin rashes, hives, acne, and breathing difficulties.  As much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk easily.

Avoid: Milk and dairy products like butter and cheese.  Many cakes, crackers, cream sauces and boxed cereals contain milk ingredients.

Substitute: Coconut or almond milk. Kefir,or unsweetened yogurt for those not allergic to milk.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Commercially produced meats are fed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Due to the small and tight living environment, these animals also gain excess fat and end up with high saturated fats. Even worse, to make them grow faster and prevent them from getting sick, they are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics.

Avoid: Most, if not all, beef, pork and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants that come from feedlot farms.

Substitute: Organic Free- Range Animals that are fed a natural diet such as grasses instead of grains and hormones contain more omega-3 fats. Having more room to roam freely, they are also leaner and contain less saturated fat.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that red meat contains a molecule that humans don’t naturally produce called Neu5Gc. After ingesting this compound, the body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that may trigger chronic inflammatory response. This low-grade, simmering inflammation that won’t go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease.

The link between processed meat consumption and cancer is even stronger. In the 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly of the esophagus and lungs too. Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.

Find them in: Common red meats are beef, lamb and pork, while processed meats include ham, sausage and salami.

Inflammation-dousing Substitute: You don’t need to avoid red meat totally, though the same thing cannot be said for processed meat. No amount of processed meat is safe. Replace the bulk of your red meat with organic vegetables, poultry and fish, and relegate red meat to a weekly treat. When you do eat red meat, remember to choose lean cuts and preferably, that of grass-fed animals. To reduce the formation of heat generated food contaminants, it is also advisable not to overcook your meat and use moist heat cooking like stewing and boiling more often than high-temperature dry heat methods such as grilling and frying.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx (voice box) and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.

Find them in: Beers, ciders, liquors, liqueurs, and wines.

Inflammation-dousing Substitute: A refreshing and thirst-quenching glass of pure, filtered water, anyone?  How about a cup of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory Japanese green tea? If you find the idea of swapping ethanol for water or tea implausible, limit your consumption to no more than one drink a day.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: A lot of the grains we eat nowadays are refined. They are devoid of fiber and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and the aleurone layer intact. This makes refined grains as good as refined sugars, which are practically empty calories. And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases like cancer, coronary disease and diabetes.

Find them in: Products made from refined grains are almost everywhere. The common ones are: white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. To make things worse, many products with refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and look, and are often loaded with excess sugar, salt, artificial flavors and/or partially hydrogenated oil in the process. A prime example is boxed cereals which contain substantial amounts of added sugar and flavorings.

Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Go for minimally processed grains if you are not gluten intolerant or allergic to grains. If you are an avid bread or pastry maker, invest in a grain mill to produce your own flour. It will be much fresher than the stale grain found in stores. When buying cereals or other products made from grains, don’t take the words on the packaging for granted. Just because the box says whole grains, it does not mean the grains inside are 100% intact. The problem is due to a lack of an internationally accepted definition for the word ‘whole grain’. When in doubt, if it does not look close to its natural state, don’t buy it.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Some artificial food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Find them in: Only packaged foods contain artificial food additives. If you need to buy them, read the labels carefully and weigh your risks. If you order Chinese take-out, make sure you have the option to ask for no MSG. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Besides limiting the consumption of processed foods, use anti-inflammatory herbs, spices or natural sweeteners to add flavor to your dishes instead of relying on food additives.


Pro-inflammatory Agent: Many people are sensitive to certain foods but are totally unaware of it. Unlike food allergies whereby symptoms usually hit fast and furious, symptoms caused by food intolerance may take a longer time to manifest. Consequently, when symptoms of food intolerance do appear, they are often brushed off as common minor ailments such as tiredness and headaches. But repeated, long-term exposure to food that irritates can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.  You can test for these sensitivities with a simple blood test.

Find them in: Common food allergens are gluten, milk, nuts, eggs and nightshade vegetables. Contrary to common belief, it is possible to develop an allergy to the foods that you eat often.

Inflammation-dousing Substitute: If you suspect that a particular food may be responsible for your food intolerant response, try avoiding it completely for about two weeks and monitor your reaction. At the end of the abstinence period, re-introduce the food back into your diet. If you are in fact incompatible with it, you should be able to notice the difference in how you feel easily.


1) Berries

Berries are small fruits that are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Dozens of varieties exist. Some of the most common ones include:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries

Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

In one study including 25 adults, those who consumed blueberry powder every day produced significantly more natural killer cells (NK cells) than those who did not consume the powder. These findings were similar to those of an older study (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).

Your body naturally produces NK cells, and they help keep your immune system functioning properly.

In another study, adults with excess weight who ate strawberries had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease than those who didn’t eat strawberries (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).


Fatty fish are a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Although all types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty fish are among the best sources:

  • salmon
  • sardines
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • anchovies

EPA and DHA help reduce inflammation, which may otherwise lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease (10Trusted Source11Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

Your body metabolizes these fatty acids into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects (14Trusted Source).

Studies have found that people consuming salmon or EPA and DHA supplements experienced reductions in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

However, in one study, people with an irregular heartbeat who took EPA and DHA daily experienced no difference in inflammatory markers compared with those who received a placebo (17Trusted Source).


Broccoli is extremely nutritious.

It’s a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Research has shown that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

This may be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants they contain.

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that decreases inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), which are molecules that drive inflammation in your body (20Trusted Source21Trusted Source22Trusted Source23Trusted Source).


Avocados are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source).

They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to a reduced risk of cancer (26Trusted Source27Trusted Source28Trusted Source).

In addition, one compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in newly forming skin cells (28Trusted Source29Trusted Source).

In one high quality study including 51 adults with excess weight, those who ate avocado for 12 weeks had a reduction of inflammatory markers interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) and CRP (30Trusted Source).


You’ve probably heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.

Research has found that drinking it is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions (31Trusted Source32Trusted Source33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells (31Trusted Source32Trusted Source35Trusted Source).


Bell peppers and chili peppers are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects (36Trusted Source37Trusted Source38Trusted Source39Trusted Source).

Bell peppers also provide the antioxidant quercetin, which may reduce inflammation associated with chronic diseases, like diabetes (36Trusted Source40Trusted Source).

Chili peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which may reduce inflammation and support healthier aging (41Trusted Source42Trusted Source43Trusted Source).


While thousands of varieties of mushrooms exist worldwide, only a few are edible and grown commercially.

These include truffles, portobello mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms.

Mushrooms are very low in calories and rich in selenium, copper, and all of the B vitamins.

They also contain phenols and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection (44Trusted Source45Trusted Source46Trusted Source47Trusted Source).

A special type of mushroom called lion’s mane may potentially reduce low grade inflammation related to obesity (Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

However, one study found that cooking mushrooms lowered their anti-inflammatory compounds significantly. Thus, it may be best to eat them raw or lightly cooked (46Trusted Source).


Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.

In addition, they may decrease the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and eye disorders (48Trusted Source49Trusted Source50Trusted Source51Trusted Source).

Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another antioxidant compound that has many health benefits.

Studies show that resveratrol can protect the heart against inflammation.

In one study including 60 people with heart failure, those who consumed two 50-mg capsules of resveratrol daily for 3 months experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including interleukin 6 (IL-6) (52Trusted Source53Trusted Source).

An older study from 2012 found that adults who ate grape extract daily experienced increased levels of adiponectin. Low levels of this hormone are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer (52Trusted Source54Trusted Source).


Turmeric is a spice with a warm, earthy flavor that’s often used in curries and other Indian dishes.

It has received a lot of attention because it contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound (55Trusted Source56Trusted Source57Trusted Source58Trusted Source).

Research has shown that turmeric reduces inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases (58Trusted Source59Trusted Source60Trusted Source).

In one study, people with metabolic syndrome consumed 1 gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine from black pepper. They experienced a significant decrease in the inflammatory marker CRP (58Trusted Source59Trusted Source).

It may be hard to get enough curcumin from turmeric alone to experience a noticeable effect. Taking supplements containing isolated curcumin may be much more effective.

Curcumin supplements are often combined with piperine, which can boost curcumin absorption by 2,000% (58Trusted Source).

More research is needed to understand how the dosage of turmeric affects inflammatory markers (61Trusted Source).


Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.

It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits.

Studies link extra virgin olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions (62Trusted Source63Trusted Source64Trusted Source65Trusted Source).

In one study on the Mediterranean diet, CRP and several other inflammatory markers significantly decreased in those who consumed 1.7 ounces (50 mL) of olive oil every day for 12 months (65Trusted Source).

The effect of oleocanthal, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (66Trusted Source67Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil has greater anti-inflammatory benefits than refined olive oils do (68Trusted Source).


Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying.

It’s also packed with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of disease and lead to healthier aging (69Trusted Source70Trusted Source71Trusted Source72Trusted Source).

Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and help keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy.

In one small study, people who consumed 350 mg of cocoa flavanols twice daily experienced improved vascular function after 2 weeks (73Trusted Source).

However, more high quality studies on chocolate and its components are needed.

In the meantime, it can’t hurt to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa — a greater percentage is even better — to reap these anti-inflammatory benefits (71Trusted Source72Trusted Source74Trusted Source).