Inflammation is the natural reaction your  body has to irritation, injury or injection – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less painful to deal with. Often, anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms. You can also help your body along by being adopting a healthy diet.

Yes, you read that right: there are natural, non-medical ways to help your body avoid an inflammation response.

Keep an eye on your diet, as some foods can be especially irritating:

  • Junk foods, white flours, high-fat meats, sugar and processed foods. This includes high-fat processed meats like bacon and sausage. 

Loading up on junk foods, high-fat meats, sugar and processed foods may increate the potential for inflammation in your body. Cut back on white flours in bread and pasta by looking for 100% whole-grain instead. Eliminate added sugars by decreasing your consumption of sugary sodas, pastries, candies, desserts and pre-sweetened cereals.

  • Potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants can also trigger pain in some people as these vegetables contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine. While no formal research back the claim about this, some people believe that avoiding them have helped.

So what foods are considered natural anti-inflammatories?

Fruits and Vegetables. Whole fruits, berries and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytohemicals. Choose green and brightly colored vegetables, and whole fruits.

Protein Sources. Possible anti-inflammatory protein sources include lean poultry, fish and seafood. Soy and soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, along with other legumes, can be used as plant-based protein sources.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Maintaining a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (naturally available in foods like fish oil and flaxseed oil) and low in omega-6 fatty acids (found in foods like red meat and dairy products) may help lower inflammation

Beverages. Your body needs water. Drink water, 100% fruit juice, herbal tea, low-sodium vegetable juice

Anti-inflammatory diet tips:

When you are choosing anti-inflammatory foods, choose fresh foods instead of heavily processed foods. Here are some tips:

  • For breakfast, try oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts
  • Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables instead of cookies and candy
  • Eat more fish and less fatty red meat
  • Cook with olive oil and canola oil
  • Have a salad with lots of fresh vegetables as your meal
  • Stay away from deep-fried foods; bake, broil, poach or stir-fry instead
  • Choose dark green or brightly colored vegetables as side dishes — they should fill half your dinner plate
  • Drink water, non-fat milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal and green tea instead of sugary sodas and soft drinks
  • Preliminary research suggests that some herbs may help reduce inflammation. Tumeric and ginger have been found to help reduce inflammation