Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Fight Inflammation With Food

Stephanie Mobley, MS, RD, LD

Are you tired of joint pain, arthritis or any other aches caused by inflammation? Fight back inflammation with food! Yes, certain foods provide various nutrients or antioxidants that aid our bodies in fighting inflammation; on the flip side, some foods may actually aggravate inflammation.

So, let me just say that not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is actually how we recover from injuries. Inflammation is also how our muscles grow from exercise. But too much inflammation from diseases, like obesity, can actually lead to more serious health problems. And cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer's—have been linked to chronic inflammation.

So, if you’re ready to fight inflammation, here are some foods that can help!

Foods to Fight Inflammation

  • Turmeric – Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice that is typically found in curries and mustards. Turmeric contains curcumin which has been shown to reduce inflammation. Try adding this spice to your stir-fry or to your homemade salad dressing.
  • Ginger –Most commonly used to aid gastrointestinal distress, ginger has also been shown to help reduce inflammation due to its gingerols content. When choosing ginger, aim for the fresh versus dried as it contains more of the anti-inflammatory benefits. Peel back the outer skin of the ginger root, then grate or mince ginger. Try adding fresh ginger to teas, stir-fry, smoothies or soups.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables contain naturally-occurring antioxidants which support the immune system. Look for fruits and vegetables richest in color – berries, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach. Those richest in color will have more nutrients and antioxidants. Also, aim for consuming fruits and vegetables of all colors to ensure a variety of antioxidants.
  • Fiber – Fiber-rich foods can reduce inflammation while also promoting healthy gut bacteria and satiety-both of which can indirectly reduce inflammation. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains such as breads, oats, cereals and pastas. Start your morning off with a fiber-rich breakfast of whole grain oats with berries or a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter and a banana.

Foods to Avoid

When fighting inflammation, there are some foods you want to avoid. Foods high in sugar such as pastries, cookies and other desserts as well as foods high in saturated fat such as butter, beef and fried foods can aggravate inflammation. Also, aim for avoiding processed foods including processed deli meats and processed snacks.

  • Cakes, cookies, pastries, snack cakes
  • Fried foods, chips, processed snacks
  • Sugary cereals, sugary beverages

Try it yourself! These healthy recipes can help you fight back inflammation!

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice


1 bag frozen cauliflower rice
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh turmeric, minced or grated
1 tsp salt

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add cauliflower rice and seasonings to saucepan. Stir to combine everything well. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until cauliflower rice is heated through.

Berry Good Overnight Oats


½ cup oats
½ cup low-fat yogurt
½ cup fat-free milk
¾ cup mixed berries
1 Tbsp. honey, optional

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a container. Keep in refrigerator overnight for flavors to mix. Enjoy the next morning!
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