Foods that Fight Inflammation, from the July 2014 Harvard Women's Health Watch

Share Article

Pro-inflammatory foods include fried foods, sodas, refined carbohydrates, and red meat. Green vegetables, berries, whole grains, and fatty fish are thought to combat the inflammatory process.

News Image

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes from the grocery store, not from the pharmacy, according to the July 2014 Harvard Women's Health Watch.

"Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects," says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Good choices include fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants. Studies have also linked eating nuts with less inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may also protect against inflammation.

Not surprisingly, foods that boost inflammation are generally considered bad for health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.

"Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation," Dr. Hu says. "It's not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases."

Read the full-length article: "Foods that fight inflammation"

Also in the July, 2014 issue of the Harvard Women's Health Watch:

  •     Breast cancer screening options beyond the mammogram
  •     Which osteoporosis drug is right for you?
  •     Simple exercises to prevent falls

Harvard Women's Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).


Media: Contact Kristen Rapoza at hhpmedi(at)hms(dot)harvard(dot)edu for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.

Share article on socal media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kristen Rapoza
Harvard Health Publications
+1 (617) 432-4716
Email >
Follow >
Visit website