Here are the top anti-inflammatory vegetables worth adding to your diet to reduce inflammation. These vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that specifically target and reduce inflammation in your joints muscles, and body.
Note: If you suffer from chronic inflammation it’s best to see a doctor who will run the appropriate tests to determine the cause. Remember, information found online should not be used as medical advice.
What Is Inflammation
In short, inflammation is when the body responds to injury, infection, irritants, or toxins. There are two main types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is usually short-term and goes away once an injury is healed.
Chronic inflammation on the other hand occurs when your body has to fight inflammation long-term due to other underlying health conditions.
Symptoms Of Inflammation
The symptoms of inflammation may vary depending on the cause, severity, and location of the inflammation. That said, the most common signs are swelling, redness, heat, pain, loss of function, stiffness, and fatigue. However, try not to self-diagnose because these symptoms can also be caused by other illnesses as well.
So before we get started with the list of anti-inflammatory vegetables, please understand that to reduce inflammation successfully, you will need to change your diet and lifestyle. Start by drinking enough water daily, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
16 Anti-Inflammatory Vegetables Worth Eating!
When choosing anti-inflammatory vegetables, look for vegetables that contain a lot of vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, fiber, lycopene, quercetin, omega-3 fatty acids, sulfur, and phytonutrients. These are all antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that fight inflammation. Here’s how each work:
- Vitamin C – reduces free radicals that cause oxidative stress, cell damage, and inflammation. [source]
- Vitamin E – stops the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes and when combined with vitamin C, it protects the body against inflammation. [source]
- Beta-Carotene – is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, regulates the immune response, and inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [source]
- Dietary Fiber – supports digestive health and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria which strengthens the immune system and reduce systemic inflammation. [source]
- Lycopene – is an antioxidant that prevents the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body. [source]
- Quercetin – indirectly prevents inflammation by blocking certain inflammatory genes. [source]
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – have anti-inflammatory properties and manage inflammatory diseases. [source]
- Sulfur – strengthens the immune system, and reduces oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines. [source]
Note: Some of the vegetables below are on the list of vegetables that cause inflammation because they are found in certain food groups.
Although they contain antioxidants that help with inflammation, some people with IBS may experience the opposite reaction. These veggies are cauliflower, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic.
Kale is a low-calorie, high-antioxidant leafy green vegetable that is rich in vitamins C, E & beta-carotene. This leafy green also contains a good amount of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids which makes it one of the best vegetables for inflammation.
Similar to kale, spinach is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. It also contains an active antioxidant called lutein which is effective in reducing inflammation. Research shows that drinking spinach smoothies is actually better than eating it cooked.
3. Collard Greens
Collard greens have a ton of vitamin C which helps reduce free radicals that cause inflammation. It also provides you with a healthy dose of vitamin K which reduces inflammation and protects your cells, veins, and arteries.
Make sure not to consume a lot of collard greens if you’re on blood clotting medications.
4. Swiss Chard
Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A by the body and as I mentioned above, it works by neutralizing free radicals and reducing the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Just 1 cup of Swiss chard contains 100% of your daily recommended intake amount of vitamin A.
This leafy green also has high amounts of vitamin K so be mindful, plus high levels of vitamin A can be toxic. It’s usually okay to consume a cup of Swiss chard but not more.
No one likes broccoli, but it’s become a trend in almost every recipe you find on TikTok, and for a good reason too! You see, broccoli is at the top of the list when talking superfoods because it has a ton of health benefits including reducing inflammation.
Broccoli is rich in an antioxidant called sulforaphane which reduces inflammatory molecules known as cytokines and a nuclear factor called kappa B. Try this broccoli soup for inflammation that actually tastes good!
Similar to broccoli, cauliflower contains sulforaphane plus vitamin K and a good amount of vitamin C. So even though broccoli takes the trophy when it comes to vitamins and minerals, cauliflower helps with inflammation by reducing oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation because our cells produce free radicals when fighting outside invaders.
When that happens, these free radicals often damage other healthy cells leading to inflammation. Try this cauliflower soup for inflammation.
7. Brussels Sprouts
I never liked Brussels sprouts, they are just too bitter for my taste but just 100 grams of these little guys contain over 140% of vitamin C and a good amount of dietary fiber.
You already know that vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radicals and damage.
Adding Brussels sprouts to your diet at least 4 times per week can help reduce inflammation and other dangerous health conditions so try getting used to the taste!
This vegetable is actually my personal favorite! I don’t care how you make it, I love it. Like all the other cruciferous veggies above cabbage contain vitamin C, fiber, sulforaphane, and vitamin K.
According to this study, eating raw cabbage is beneficial to those with arthritis and rheumatism.
Try this very delicious cabbage soup for inflammation that I use to help reduce my symptoms quickly. I know it sounds like I’m overselling it but I just love this vegetable!
9. Bok Choy
Bok choy also contains a good amount of sulforaphane and helps the liver to get rid of free radicals faster thanks to a special kind of antioxidant called indole-3-carbinole.
Adding some bok choy to a bowl of raw vegetable salad is a great way to get all of its benefits and reduce inflammation.
Not only are tomatoes refreshing, but they are also an excellent source of lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation.
Cooking your tomatoes makes them even stronger and is better absorbed by the body. Don’t be afraid to be generous with tomatoes in your recipes.
11. Bell Peppers
Above I mentioned that vitamin C can do wonders when it comes to getting rid of inflammation, and free radicals and preventing cell damage right? Well, just 1 large bell pepper has 219% of your daily recommended intake amount!
Bell peppers also contain quercetin which blocks certain inflammatory genes. To get the most benefits, go for red, yellow, or orange bell peppers because they contain the most vitamin C.
12. Garlic & Onions
Eating raw garlic and onions daily is a great way to get enough sulfur into your diet naturally. Sulfur is very effective in strengthening the immune cells and reducing inflammatory cytokines. Definitely start adding some garlic and onions to your recipes and salads!
13. Sweet Potatoes
If you want a vegetable that not only reduces inflammation but joint pain as well, you must try some sweet potatoes! That’s because they are packed with antioxidants and fiber, and beta-carotene. Choose sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes regularly to get all its amazing benefits.
Beets are rich in betalains, which are pigments with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also contain a good amount of folate, potassium, and vitamins C & A, all of which help reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
You can eat them roasted, juiced, or added to smoothies and salads.
Carrots are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene along with other antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Cooking your carrots actually increases its benefits so go ahead and try this carrot soup for inflammation and let me know what you think.
You see, ginger reduces kappa-B and inflammatory cytokines plus acts as a natural blood thinner. Ginger also increases serotonin and dopamine levels which reduces stress (a major inflammatory factor).
In summary, the best anti-inflammatory vegetables are leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.
Other vegetables for inflammation include tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and ginger.