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Foods that fight inflammation, from the July 2014 Harvard Women's Health Watch

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 this issue of the Harvard Women's Health Watch

  • Foods that fight inflammation
  • Ask the doctor: How can I prevent leg cramps at night?
  • Ask the doctor: What can you do if you constantly feel cold?
  • Breast cancer screening: Options beyond the mammogram
  • Osteoporosis drugs: Which one is right for you?
  • Simple exercises to prevent falls
  • Caring for the grandkids could improve your brainpower
  • Pain relievers linked to risk for irregular heart rhythm
  • Incontinence could increase odds of depression in women

More Harvard Health News »


About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.