The Best Foods to Fight Inflammation

Written by: Tara Kulikov, Exercise Physiologist, Sports Nutritionist, Coach

Fruits & Vegetables are yummy! After a hard workout or competition, or after an accumulation of many workouts, inflammation can settle into the muscle tissue leaving the body with the following signs and symptoms; Pain, soreness, swelling and tenderness of ligaments and tendons, muscle fatigue, lack of energy, and weakness.

What you eat can greatly affect how your body responds to inflammation. The following is a list of basic foods that are thought to help fight inflammation in your body so you can continue to train and compete in a stronger state! Many of these foods can easily be added to a post-workout recovery shake (within 30 min. post workout) or eaten with a recovery meal a few hours after a workout.

Food GroupFoodBenefits
FruitsPineapple, berries, melons, apples, bananas, kiwi, cherries, mango and any other fruit except citrusContain fiber (helps improve digestive tract and eliminate toxins that can contribute to inflammation, and help to absorb and utilize beneficial nutrients), phytochemicals, and antioxidants, and some contain bromelain which is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
VegetablesSpinach, asparagus, cauliflower, pumpkin, lettuce greens, Brussel sprouts, and any other vegetables except nightshade vegetables and cornSimilar to fruit, vegetables contain a high amount of fiber and many phytochemicals and antioxidants shown to be beneficial to the body. The cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower contain powerful plant compounds such as sulforaphane which has anti-inflammatory actions in the body.
Sea Vegetables: Nori, Kombu, Kelp, Wakame, Arame, DulseSea vegetables contain fucoidans (starch-like (polysaccharide) molecules), which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
GrainsBuckwheat, rice, millet, quinoa, teff, gluten-free oats, whole spelt, amaranthDigestion of a whole grain creates a harmonious, steady, balanced metabolism, providing a complete complement of necessary nutrients. Contain a high amount of fiber.
LegumesGarbanzo beans, pinto beans, split peas, black beans, lentils, and other beansCan be utilized in the body as a carbohydrate or as a protein (when properly combined) and help with recovery and muscle tissue repair. Contain a high amount of fiber.

– Tara Kulikov (Exercise Physiologist, Sports Nutritionist, Coach)

About The Author: Tara has a MA in Kinesiology: Exercise Science, and MS in Traditional Oriental Medicine. She has over ten years experience in the health and fitness industry, being a national and state board certified Acupuncturist and Traditional oriental medicinal Practitioner with an emphasis in sport enhancement and injury prevention. She is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor including Pilates, Tai Chi, and Qigong. She comes to SLO with experience in coaching runners, swimmers, and triathletes. Learn more about Tara and Pinnacle Training Systems here.

Originally posted to the Fluid Blog August 14th, 2012.