The Top Natural Anti-Inflammatory Herbs, Spices & Foods

Author: ANCP   Date Posted:1 May 2016 

In this article we’ll look at dietary approaches to help you manage inflammation and outline some natural medicines with anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is one of the body’s natural responses to injury, irritation or infection and can affect any organ, tissue or body system. It is associated with pain, swelling, redness, heat and sometimes restricted movement of the affected area.


Avoid foods that promote inflammation

Your body makes its own inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds and to a certain extent the rate at which each are produced is affected by the foods you eat. To help minimise inflammation, reduce or avoid the following foods:

  1. Sources of unhealthy fat, such as: Red meat, especially processed meats such as bacon, deli meats, sausages and burger patties, all sources of processed oils, including vegetable oil, margarine and vegetable shortening Junk food, take-away foods and fried food.
  2. Foods made with refined flour and/or sugar, including biscuits, cake, chocolate, lollies, pies, white bread.
  3. Pre-packaged meals and foods (including canned foods, ready-made meals and ‘Just add water’ instant meals).
  4. The nightshade family of vegetables, which includes eggplant, potato, capsicum, tomatoes, chilli and paprika.
  5. Citrus fruit.
  6. Dairy products.
  7. Artificial sweeteners, colourings, preservatives and additives.
  8. Soft drinks, alcohol and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate).


Also be aware that food allergies and intolerances may trigger or aggravate pain and inflammation. Talk to your healthcare professional to about whether allergy testing or an elimination diet might be beneficial for you.



Eat more anti-inflammatory foods

Include plenty of the following foods in your diet in order to take advantage of their natural anti-inflammatory properties: Healthy sources of fat, such as:

  • Deep sea oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, which are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • Nuts and seeds for their anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid content; especially good choices include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, macadamias and almonds – however peanuts are best avoided.
  • Extra virgin olive oil and other cold-pressed oils.


Other Fruits & Vegetables:

  • Berries which are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds such as blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, stawberries and acai berries.
  • Fresh (not canned) pineapple and papaya, which contain enzymes called bromelain and papain that may help reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Apples, red grapes, red onion, garlic and broccoli - these foods contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fresh herbs and spices, especially ginger, turmeric and garlic, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties.


Anti-inflammatory nutrients and herbs

A number of natural medicines may support your body’s own anti-inflammatory responses:

  • Omega-3 fats - good fats from fish oil and krill oil have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Boswellia - Traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory in Ayurvedic medicine can help to improve the pain, swelling and mobility problems associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Devil’s Claw - Has been documented to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and may help to relieve back and arthritis pain.
  • Rosehip - Has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory studies. Rose Hip has also been clinically shown to reduce pain and improve joint function in osteoarthritis.
  • Curcumin - A compound found in the spice turmeric that has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin has benefits for arthritis, heart and digestive health.
  • White Willow - This is the herb from which aspirin was originally derived. It has pain-relieving properties and may aid the management of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain.
  • Glucosamine - Glucosamine, a glucosamine & chondroitin combination and MSM can provide nutritional support for arthritis.