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The 6 best anti-inflammatory foods a functional medicine doctor always keeps in his kitchen

Emily Laurence

Emily LaurenceApril 27, 2020

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Right now, everyone’s food shopping habits have been thrown for a loop. Spending Saturdays at the farmers’ market is definitely out of the question and it can be hard to find your tried-and-true favorite healthy foods at the grocery store. But as it turns out, there are some amazing healthy all-stars hiding in your pantry you may be overlooking.

Recently, functional medicine doctor and Food Fix author Mark Hyman, MD, shared on Instagram his picks for the best anti-inflammatory foods that he always has on-hand. Of the wide range of foods he’s been schooled on over the years, his favorite anti-inflammatory foods are all likely things you already own. Keep reading to find out what they are—and why they’re such inflammation-fighting superstars.

 

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The best anti-inflammatory foods, according to Dr. Hyman (and science):

1. turmeric

This one comes as no surprise; turmeric is essentially synonymous with fighting inflammation. “There’s a compound in turmeric called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD previously told Well+Good. Pro tip: Pair your turmeric with black pepper to help your body better absorb it.

Want to learn more deets about turmeric? Here’s what Beckerman has to say:

2. ginger

Next on Dr. Hyman’s top six anti-inflammatory foods list is ginger. “Studies have shown ginger to be effective in decreasing inflammation, swelling, and pain, thanks to a compound called gingerol,” Beckerman told Well+Good in a past episode of You Versus Food. “Gingerol is a bio-active compound in ginger which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant affects.” Besides working this spice into your cooking, you can also enjoy it in tea form. One study published in the journal Nutrition found that drinking ginger tea daily is linked with a reduced risk of hypertension and other chronic cardiovascular issues.

3. rosemary

Dr. Hyman has professed his love for rosemary to Well+Good before because of its myriad benefits, many of which are owed to its anti-inflammatory properties. A quick run-down: improving brain health (one study found it to have significant cognitive benefits for elderly test subjects), fighting off bacterial infections, warding off cancer, helping prevent diabetes, and  protecting the liver. While rosemary is often uses in meat dishes, Dr. Hyman also says cooking legumes with the spice is another way to consume more of of it.

4. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the active compound in chili peppers. It has antioxidant properties, making it a natural inflammation fighter; it’s also linked with improved metabolism and reduced pain levels. Yet more reason to spice up your next chili, soup, or curry with peppers.

5. green tea

Okay, so this one isn’t a *food* exactly, but the effects are powerful enough that it makes Dr. Hyman’s list. Like capsaicin, green tea is high in antioxidants, which combat the inflammatory effects of free radicals in the body. Consuming green tea regularly has also been linked to improving brain health and mood. The zen vibes tea drinkers emit are real!

6. bone broth

If inflammation is manifesting in the form of digestive problems, bone broth could play a part of your healing Rx. “Bone broth has a high concentration of the amino acid glutamine that improves the function of the intestinal barrier and the structure of intestinal cells,” registered dietitian Nour Zibdeh, RD previously told Well+Good. It’s also high in collagen, a protein also linked with improving gut health.

Besides making good, frequent use of these six anti-inflammatory foods, Dr. Hyman highlights some other important ways to ward off chronic inflammation. “Make sure you’re eating plenty of real, whole, hormone and pesticide-free foods, exercising, sleeping well, taking the right supplements, and connecting with your community,” he says. “It all starts with eliminating the bad stuff and adding in the good stuff.⁣”

Curious about other anti-inflammatory foods? These are the ones Beckerman recommends: 

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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