Anyone who has suffered, or who is suffering with painful joints, will no doubt have been told that inflammation is one of the key causes of pain. The food you eat can be a huge contributing factor to inflammation in the body. Its’ time to avoid all types of fast food, foods high in sugar, high-fat meats, saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and nitrates as they all contribute to inflammation in your body.

Eating whole foods is paramount to reducing inflammation so here is a quick reference to foods that are high in antioxidants and that combat inflammation.

1. Good oils

If you haven’t started cooking with olive oil yet, get to the supermarket and buy some extra virgin olive oil NOW! It is a rich source of oleic acid which is an omega-9 fatty acid that helps to minimize inflammation. Cooking with vegetable oil is something you should definitely stop doing and make the change to healthier options like olive, grapeseed, and avocado oils.

2. Fish

We all know that eating red meat regularly is bad for our heart health, however, another reason to give it up is that it is higher in cholesterol and salt, which can trigger inflammation. Make the switch to fish to meet your protein requirements. Salmon, snapper, tuna, cod, halibut, and bass are all great choices as, for inflammation purposes, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids that also help to reduce inflammation.

3. Nuts

Looking for a healthy snack that are also high in omega-3 fatty acids? Try eating a small handful of nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

4. Fruits

Another way to reduce inflammation is eating plenty of fruit such as apples, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, raspberries and strawberries. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the antioxidants in fresh fruits and veggies help your body fight off free radicals that can cause cellular damage.

5. Garlic

Cooking with garlic just makes everything taste better so add it liberally as it also packs a wallop in the healthy-foods department and works great for swollen joints.

6. Herbs

Along with garlic, adding fresh herbs to food improves the flavor significantly and generally takes away the need for over seasoning. Herbs have been used for centuries to promote health and healing. Seek out basil, thyme, and oregano as they improve the taste of any recipe and are a great source of antioxidants. Curcumin and chili pepper have compounds that can fight inflammation and may reduce pain.

7. Chocolate

Yes, I did say chocolate! Dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent pure cocoa is a great addition to help control inflammation.

8. Beans

Also a great source of protein, beans are also packed with fiber and phytonutrients, which help decrease inflammation.

9. High fiber foods

Fiber is known to lower C-reative protein (CRP), a substance found in our blood that suggests the presence of inflammation.  Include whole grain breads, brown rice and pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, beans, vegetable and fruits to your diet.

10. Avocado

Avocado is super rich in monounsaturated fat and extremely high in vitamin E which are two anti-inflammatory properties that are linked to a reduced risk of joint damage seen in early osteoarthritis.

We all should eat healthy, but when our food can help treat swelling and inflammation, it makes even more sense to eat a healthy balanced diet. Coupled with other treatments and therapies, a diet rich in foods with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, could keep inflammation down so you can start living pain-free.