21 Best Anti Inflammatory Foods For Weight Loss


Nagina Abdullah


July 20, 2018

foods that are anti-inflammatory

I used to think I was too busy to follow a healthy lifestyle and that I didn’t have time to think about food. So, I just ate what was there — chips from the vending machine, hot dogs from a street cart, whatever! But over time, neglecting my diet caught up with me. I was overweight, tired all the time, and my joints hurt. However, when I incorporated these 21 spices and anti inflammatory foods, the inflammation in my body calmed and 40 pounds FELL off of me.

In this post I’ll give you:
    • A brief summary of what inflammation is
    • How inflammation can affect you (symptoms today as well as diseases it can lead to tomorrow)
    • The 21 best anti-inflammatory foods
  • Which foods can  suppress anti inflammation and should be avoided

Inflammation is a physiological reaction to what’s happening in your body. In short, some foods calm inflammation while some trigger it. High, chronic inflammation in the body can cause extra weight, puffiness, tiredness, digestive, and skin problems and even anxiety and depression. However, following an anti inflammatory diet can alleviate many of these symptoms.

Inflammation over a long time can also lead to disease and chronic conditions. Some of the diseases connected to inflammation are heart problems, diabetes, digestive issues and cancer. (1

You don’t have to feel powerless! After I started to follow an anti-inflammatory diet I and lost 40 pounds! Before I lost the weight, I remember my back hurting so much that I didn’t even want to get off the couch.

Now I feel physically strong, mentally more alert and full of energy. I set a healthy example for my daughter and son, and I feel like the person I know I am inside.

My family and me enjoying pool time (and FINALLY I’m not self-conscious)

The aches and pains that kept me slumped into my couch on weekends went away. Now I spend my free time playing with my kids on the beach, hiking, and feeling alive and confident.

You can get there, too! I’ve put together a list of the 21 best anti inflammatory foods and their specific anti-inflammatory benefits. Let’s get you feeling and looking great again. Enjoy!

Best anti inflammatory foods

foods that are anti-inflammatory

1. Leafy Greens

Chard, kale, spinach and other leafy greens are high in antioxidants and Vitamins A, C, and K. (2) When consuming anti inflammatory vegetables such as these, the more the better. Here’s an easy vegetarian meal plan with lots of vegetarian meal prep ideas.

2. Bok Choy 

This is a mild-tasting Chinese cabbage. It has a refreshing watery texture like celery, but is less stringy. You can steam it, chop it up for stir-fries of or just eat it raw with some almond butter. It’s packed with antioxidants to destroy free radicals that age your skin and can cause cancer. (2)

3. Broccoli 

Here’s another veggie that’s high in antioxidants and vitamins, as well as important minerals for anti-inflammation, like magnesium and potassium. (2) It’s so easy to prepare. Just rinse, chop the crowns off and steam. It takes 15 minutes total!

4. Blueberries 

I love adding blueberries to smoothies and yogurt. These naturally sweet low-sugar fruits also contain quercetin, a flavonoid that offers anti-inflammatory benefits as well as combating cancer development. (2) Out of all the anti-inflammatory foods, this is one of my favorites!

5. Turmeric 

A recent study published in the medical journal Oncogene supported the fact that turmeric benefits weight loss. It found that curcumin (the main compound in turmeric) is a more powerful anti-inflammatory than aspirin and ibuprofen and (2) that it blocks and burns fats cells.

foods that are anti-inflammatory

It also has 24 other anti-inflammatory compounds, including 6 different inhibitors for inflammation and pain-causing enzymes that could also cause tumor cell growth. (3) Learn more about the amazing health benefits of turmeric and exactly how much you need for benefits here.

6. Ginger

Ginger is one of my absolute favorite spices. It helps reduce overactive immune responses in the body. (2) It contains a strong antioxidant called 6-gingerol, which blocks the production of specific free radicals, acting as an anti-inflammatory.  Ginger tea benefits the body through boosting digestion. (4) Did you know that even Confucius talked about the benefits of ginger? Learn how to use ginger here.

Get a cute, printable Top 10 Fat-Burning Foods Cheat Sheet with 10 easy, tasty (and surprising!) fat-zapping foods.

7. Cayenne

 Cayenne contains a range of antioxidants that scavenge for free radicals. This protects the body against cellular damage that can lead to inflammation and serious health problems. (5) Cayenne also torches fat cells and provides numerous anti-inflammatory benefits. Read more about the benefits of cayenne here: Cayenne pepper benefits: heart health, weight loss, pain relief, etc..

8. Cinnamon 

Cinnamaldehyde inhibits proteins that trigger pro-inflammatory genes, targets belly fat and improves insulin sensitivity (and the benefits of honey and cinnamon together are even better). It also prevents blood platelets from clumping and protects against heart disease, cancer, and other inflammation-related diseases. (6)

9. Cloves 

This strong-tasting spice only requires a pinch for flavor and powerful antioxidants.  It contains eugenol, which is a compound similar to cinnamaldehyde. It works partly by blocking the same enzyme that NSAIDS target to boost anti inflammation. (7)

10. Sage 

The same molecules that give sage its savory flavor and smell also give it anti-inflammatory and health benefits. Sage is being researched for its ability to protect against inflammation-based neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. It even seems to improve memory and concentration and alleviate anxiety. (8)

11. Rosemary 

Increases the activity of an enzyme that removes a free radical that’s specifically tied to chronic inflammation. You get the most of this anti-inflammatory enzyme when it’s cooked. (9)

12. Salmon

This health food favorite is high in Omega 3 fats, which are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances for the human body. Adding more Omega 3s to your diet with salmon will noticeably relieve inflammation and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication. (2)

foods that are anti-inflammatory

Other highly anti-inflammatory fish are mackerel, sardines, sole, and trout. Though the last two aren’t as high in Omega 3s, they’re still an easily digested lean protein that induces anti-inflammatory responses. (10)

13. Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds 

Another excellent source of Omega-3s, chia seeds are a tiny antioxidant that is pretty high on the anti-inflammatory food list. They contain alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and also minerals such as iron, niacin, and thiamine and fiber (
(these nutrients also burn belly fat fast!)
. Flax seeds also have Omega 3s, as well as phytonutrients and lignans. All of which have antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance, and cellular health. (2)

foods that are anti-inflammatory
Chia and flax are also some of the most important foods for a flat belly.
14. Bone Broth

Bone broth is a powerful healer which is consumed to heal leaky gut, and contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and others in an easily absorbable form. It even has chondroitin and glucosamine, which are normally sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. (2)

15. Coconut Oil 

Herbs and spices combined with healthy oils work together to form strong anti-inflammatory supplements. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils available, and it’s particularly powerful when combined with turmeric. (2) Add this to your foods that are anti-inflammatory, for an extra boost in the right direction.

16. Walnuts

These nuts are another great source of Omega-3s! Walnuts also contain phytonutrients to help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods also they’re especially good for vegetarians and vegans to make sure they’re getting enough protein and Omega-3s. (2)

The snacks on this Top 10 Surprising Fat-Burning Foods cheat sheet will make you find someone to high-five

17. Pineapple 

Bromelain is a main compound found in pineapple. It helps regulate the immune response that often creates unwanted and unnecessary inflammation. Pineapple is also high in vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese. It also has special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Bromelain is also a natural digestive enzyme that is used in digestive supplements. (2)

18. Alliums (Garlic, Onions, Scallions, Leeks) 

Because of their potent antioxidant properties, consuming a weekly average of four servings of a combination of these anti-inflammatory foods can help lower your risk of cancer. (10)

Learn more about the benefits of garlic in this post.

19. Navy and Kidney Beans and other Legumes 

Wonderfully rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and slow-burning carbs, beans and legumes promote anti inflammation, a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and also arthritis (10) Try this garbanzo bean recipe (it helped me lose my first 10 pounds!)

20. Fermented Foods 

To have a balanced body, it’s incredibly important to have a balanced gut, and a balanced gut, which usually includes belly fat burning food. Fermented foods like miso, yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented veggies replenish your healthy bacteria and fight inflammation. (11)

21. Coffee, Green tea, Black tea 

A study by Stanford University found that caffeine has anti-inflammatory effects. (11) Harvard Health notes that coffee is high in polyphenols and antioxidants. (12) And, of course, green tea is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. (13)

foods that are anti-inflammatory
Get a list of some of the best caffeinated and non-caffeinated teas for weight-loss here.

These are the top anti-inflammatory foods and spices to help you heal, slim down, and furthermore, feel spectacular! Now for the foods you’ll want to avoid…

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid 

Foods that trigger inflammation are:

  • Refined sugar (including sugary drinks such as soda and alcohol)
  • Refined grains (more detail on this later)
  • Partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats

Refined sugar, refined grains, (2) and artificial sweeteners (10) are highly inflammatory. Refined sugar can be easy to spot in soda pop, alcohol, and ice cream, but it can also sneak into your diet as refined grains like in pastries, crackers, and bread.

It’s important to note that not all carbs are bad. Truly whole grains, beans, and legumes are very nutritious and anti-inflammatory. (2) Refined grains would be things such as commercial bread, crackers, chips, and bakery items.

Partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. Both are in a lot of packaged foods, bakery items, and fried foods. They are high inflammation triggers. (15)

Omega-6 fats aren’t all bad, but we tend to eat too many of them because they need to be balanced with Omega-3s. (2,10)

You don’t have to guess which foods and spices actively help you lose weight. Get my free Top 10 Surprising Fat-Burning Foods Cheat Sheet here! (ps. It includes lots of foods that are anti-inflammatory!)

Which of these anti-inflammatory foods do you already love? Which ones do you want to learn more about, and ways to add them to your diet? Let me know in the comments!

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Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Reader Interactions


  1. El says

    This is an incredible resource. Thank you for sharing such clarity.

  2. Sandra Noble says

    pleased to see that I already eat most of the anti-inflammatory foode/1

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