A number of foods have been found to benefit the immune system in a range of ways. One group of foods is thought to reduce inflammation in the body, leading to less wear and tear on all your bodily systems, including your immune system. Adding anti-inflammatory foods is thought to prevent disease, or reduce the more severe symptoms in those who are suffering from certain health issues, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Another group of foods has been found to trigger inflammation, so avoiding these foods can also provide relief from a range of troublesome symptoms, such as eczema, asthma and other autoimmune conditions. These conditions are examples of how inflammation can affect anyone’s health. Avoiding inflammatory foods has shown clear benefits in relation to most forms of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Eating more anti-inflammatory foods while cutting back on inflammatory ones, and adding delicious antioxidants to your diet, is the best way to boost your immune system, reduce the effects of aging, and prevent disease. So, which are the best foods to eat, which are the best to avoid? We will list the top 10 for each category below.

Top 10 Foods to Eat, to Reduce Inflammation

1. Wild salmon and other wild, preferably small fatty fish with Omega-3s
2. Probiotics, found in cultured foods like coconut kefir
3. Olive Oil
4. Sour Cherries
5. Walnuts and other tree nuts
6. Peppers
7. Ginger
8. Turmeric
9. Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous (pronounced CREW-sif-er-us) vegetables like broccoli and bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
10. Berries such as blueberries

Top 10 Foods to Avoid If You Wish to Reduce Inflammation

1. Processed sugar
2. Standard iodized salt
3. Standard processed cooking oils
4. Trans fats
5. Conventionally raised meat and poultry
6. Processed meats/cold cuts
7. Most grains
8. Artificial sweeteners and flavorings, such as aspartame and saccharin; monosodium glutamate (MSG)
9. Alcohol
10. Dairy products

It may seem overwhelming at first to make changes to your diet, especially if many of your favorites are on the foods to avoid list. Fortunately, a little effort can go a long way towards improving your immune system if you make healthy substitutions.

For example, if you love sweet, sugary foods, you may want to experiment with using some of the sweeter dried fruits, such as dates or figs as desserts or a “pick-me-up”. You may enjoy adding frozen blueberries, raspberries and other frozen fruits to your breakfast menu.  Stay tuned for future articles on this topic.

Have fun looking up new recipes and exploring cuisines from around the world.  Many of the foods and spices on the anti-inflammatory list are ideal for Chinese or Indian recipes.

Use these lists to boost your immune system, and see how you can eat better and feel better.