Inflammation is a key player in numerous chronic diseases, including autoimmune conditions. Studies show some foods have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s always best to choose a variety of antioxidant-rich foods that can help you reduce inflammation and nourish your cells. Let’s discuss some of the most potent anti-inflammatory keto-friendly foods.
Berries are tasty, juicy little fruits packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Berries also contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory effects and might reduce your risk of disease [1,2,3]. In one impressive example, those who consumed blueberries daily produced significantly more natural killer cells than those who didn’t. Your body produces natural killer cells to help keep your immune system functioning properly .
Fatty fish provide good quality protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. All types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, but to remember the best sources, think of the acronym SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. EPA and DHA have been shown to decrease inflammation [5,6,7].
Studies show people who consume salmon or DHA or EPA supplements experience reductions in C-reactive protein (CRP) — a marker of inflammation [8,9].
In recent years, the humble avocado has been more widely recognized as a superfood. Avocados don’t just make amazing guacamole; they’re also packed with magnesium, fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats. Avocados contain tocopherols and carotenoids, which are linked to a reduced risk of cancer [10,11].
One compound in avocados might reduce inflammation in young skin cells. Another study showed those who ate a slice of avocado with a hamburger had lower levels of inflammatory markers IL-6 and NF-kB, compared to those who only ate the hamburger without the avocado [12,13].
Green tea is a healthy and keto-friendly beverage that’s been consumed throughout history. Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions [14,15,16].
Most of the benefits associated with green tea are due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and a particular substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG mitigates inflammation by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to fatty acids in your cells .
Turmeric is a powerful, colorful spice with a strong flavor. It’s often used in Indian dishes like curries. Turmeric contains curcumin — a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient (often included in anti-inflammatory foods and recipes). Research shows turmeric reduces inflammation associated with diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions [18,19,20].
Consuming 1 gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine from black pepper resulted in a drastic reduction in the CRP inflammatory marker in those with metabolic syndrome. Taking supplements containing isolated curcumin seems to be more effective. Curcumin supplements are often combined with piperine, which can enhance curcumin absorption by 2,000% [21,22].
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that’s a staple in the Mediterranean diet. Research links extra virgin olive oil to a lesser risk of brain cancer, heart disease, and other conditions [23,24,25]
For example, one study revealed those who consumed 1.7 ounces of olive oil daily on the Mediterranean diet experienced a significant reduction in CRP and several other inflammatory markers. Oleocanthal is an antioxidant found in olive oil that’s been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil provides greater anti-inflammatory benefits than the more refined olive oils .
Final Thoughts on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation can be good or bad. Acute inflammation helps your body defend from injury and infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease. Many people suffer from chronic inflammation and the sharp and aching pains that come along with it. Even low levels of inflammation that become chronic can lead to disease.
Low activity levels, inflammatory foods, and stress can make your risk of inflammation even higher. Try incorporating some of these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to reduce chronic inflammation.
What are Your Favorite Anti-Inflammatory Keto-Friendly Foods?
Are you a fan of turmeric or extra virgin olive oil? How do you incorporate these beneficial foods into your keto diet? Share your favorite anti-inflammatory keto foods with other keto dieters.
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12. Donnarumma, G., Paoletti, I., Buommino, E., Fusco, A., Baudouin, C., Msika, P., Tufano, M. A., & Baroni, A. (2011). AV119, a natural sugar from avocado gratissima, modulates the LPS-induced proinflammatory response in human keratinocytes. Inflammation, 34(6), 568-575. DOI: 10.1007/s10753-010-9264-6
13. Li, Z., Wong, A., Henning, S. M., Zhang, Y., Jones, A., Zerlin, A., Thames, G., Bowerman, S., Tseng, C-H., & Heber, D. (2013). Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers. Food Funct, 4(3), 384-391. DOI: 10.1039/c2fo30226h
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