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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 25, 2012

My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

By Mark Sisson
259 Comments

Before I begin, let me preface this post with the identification of a simple confounder for everyone to consider as they read: context. Any discussion of a concept as nebulous, multifaceted, and confusing as inflammation must integrate the question of context. Inflammation itself is highly contextual – as I’ve discussed in previous installments, there are times when inflammation is a good thing and times when inflammation is a negative thing. There are also times when anti-inflammatory actions, drugs, or foods are negatives, even though “anti-inflammatory” has a positive connotation. If you blunt the post-exercise inflammatory response with an anti-inflammatory drug, for example, you also run the risk of blunting the positive effects of that workout.

We must also pay attention to acute and systemic inflammation when discussing the desirability of an “anti-inflammatory” food. Eating a big meal tends to raise inflammatory markers in the short term. If you’re overeating every single meal, this is problematic; the acute will become the norm – the chronic. If you’re eating big after a massive workout session, or because you’re celebrating at an amazing restaurant with your dearest friends, or because you’re coming off a twenty-four hour IF, it’s fine. Context.

Eating high glycemic foods, namely refined carbohydrates that digest quickly and represent a big, instantly-available caloric load, tends to raise inflammatory markers in the short term. Again, if you’re pounding bags of chips or white bread while sitting on the couch and the only walking you’ve done all day is to the pantry, those high glycemic foods will be inflammatory (to say nothing of the antinutrients in the bread or the rancid vegetable oil in the chips). And if you do the same thing on a regular basis, they will induce systemic inflammation – or at least continuous acute spikes that mimic systemic inflammation. If you’re eating a fast-digesting, high-glycemic white potato after your glycogen-depleting sprint workout, you will refill your insulin-sensitive muscles and the subsequent inflammatory spike will be either nonexistent or nothing to worry about. Competitive athletes probably thrive on high glycemic foods, couch potatoes develop metabolic syndrome eating the same things. Context.

Many people find dairy to be inflammatory. I’m (sort of) one of them. I’ll readily eat butter, put cream in coffee, slice quality cheeses, and have a cup of Greek yogurt, but a tall glass of store-bought milk doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t have to run to the toilet or anything; I just don’t feel as good as I did before the glass of milk. Is milk, then, “inflammatory”? It could be, for me (though perhaps a glass of raw A2 cow, goat or sheep milk would have a different effect). It may not be for you. Dairy certainly wasn’t inflammatory for this group of adult men with metabolic syndrome, nor for this group of pregnant women. For both groups, the inclusion of dairy had an anti-inflammatory effect. That doesn’t mean dairy is inherently anti-inflammatory; it might just mean that dairy was better than whatever it replaced. Context.

So when I begin to rattle off my list of anti-inflammatory foods, keep these confounders in mind. Realize that what’s good for the chronically-inflamed, vegetable oil-guzzling goose may not be as crucial for the sprightly, sardine-slurping gander. If you’ve got a casein allergy, even the Maasai-iest dairy will be inflammatory. But what follows is a list (plus scientific references where applicable) of foods I’ve personally found to be anti-inflammatory. Since I don’t carry around a CRP-ometer, I’ve tried to include references if available.

Wild Fish Fat

Whether you get it through molecularly-distilled oil, deep-red wild sockeye, raw oysters, or by exclusively eating pastured animal products, omega-3s are required for a healthy inflammatory response. I feel off when I haven’t eaten any fish for a week or so, but eating salmon more than three days in a row doesn’t really work, either, because too much omega-3 is similarly problematic (shoot for between a 3:1 and 1:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3). I can tell I’ve gone too long without fish fat when my arthritis starts to sneak up on me. The advice for reducing omega-6 across the board holds steady, of course, but everyone needs some form of fish fat. Another bonus is that it usually comes with healthy fish flesh, skin, bones, and sea minerals.

Omega-3 status is inversely associated with CRP in men. The higher the omega-3, the lower the systemic inflammation.

Daily fish oil for six months reduced inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome and especially those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Delivering a “fish-fat” emulsion intravenously to patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome had anti-inflammatory and liver-protective effects.

Pastured Animal Fat

I was going to list grass-fed dairy, grass-fed beef/lamb, and pastured egg yolks as separate categories, but reconsidered. As I mentioned in my post on human interference factor, the unperturbed animals raised in relative harmony with their ancestry make the best, healthiest, least inflammatory food, while stressed-out animals raised in evolutionarily-novel conditions and on evolutionarily-novel feed make unhealthier and more inflammatory food. The important factor is that your animal fat comes from pastured animals who ate grass, that the chickens who laid your eggs ate grass and bugs and grains/seeds lower in omega-6. Pastured ruminant and dairy fat contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (PDF), an anti-inflammatory trans fatty acid, and pastured eggs contain more micronutrients and more omega-3 fats.

In one study, people with the highest levels of dairy-derived CLA in their tissues had the fewest heart attacks.

Eggs from chickens on a high-omega-6 diet were higher in omega-6, and they increased oxidized LDL in people who ate them.

Read this post to learn why getting CLA from dairy and animal fat is better than getting it from supplements.

Red Palm Oil

After treating red palm oil as more of an intellectual curiosity than a culinary tool for years, it has really grown on me. Lately, I’ve been tossing cubed, steamed butternut squash with red palm oil, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, and turmeric. It’s an interesting taste, but it definitely works (and it’s a good dish for vegetarians, too). Roasting veggies in it is good as well, as is a spoonful on top of those white Japanese sweet potatoes (the starchier, not-so-sweet ones). Enough about taste, though – red palm oil is incredibly dense with antioxidants. Full spectrum vitamin E, CoQ10, vitamin A, and vitamin K, all incredibly important in maintaining antioxidant status, all make appearances.

When compared to the treasured monounsaturated fat, palm oil (high in saturated fat) greatly reduced oxidized LDL in humans. And that was refined palm oil. I suspect unrefined red palm oil, with all nutrients intact, would perform even better.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Pretty much every list of “Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods” contains broccoli or cauliflower or kale or cabbage, but I thought I’d one-up those writers and include them all. I probably eat cruciferous vegetables five, sometimes seven times a week, mostly because they taste good but also because they contain helpful compounds like sulforaphane.

Broccoli lowered colonic inflammation in mice.

Red cabbage reduced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation.

Sulforaphane reduced inflammation in arteries.

Berries

Although blueberries top most anti-inflammatory food lists (I’ve even seen Kaiser Permanente ads on the sides of buses that feature massive photos of glistening blueberries), and for good reason, I think the other berries get left out. Let’s face it, though – there isn’t really a bad berry out there. I don’t put a lot of faith in the superfruit phenomenon (though I’m sure goji berries are perfectly healthy), but berries are just solid guys to have in your diet. They’re delicious. They’re low in sugar. They’re high in surface area, which means lots of skin and all the antioxidants and phenolics that come with it (but go organic for that same reason). They’re colorful, which means lots of bioactive pigments.

In men and women with metabolic syndrome, blueberries improved the related biomarkers, including markers of inflammation like oxidized LDL and serum malondialdehyde.

Preliminary evidence suggests that blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries can ameliorate metabolic syndrome through modulation of inflammation.

Turmeric

If you haven’t developed a taste for turmeric, I suggest you get on it. It is a potent anti-inflammatory spice, which protects against oxidation of dietary fats during cooking and against oxidative stress in the body after being eaten. You could go straight for the powerful stuff and simply take curcumin, the most active component of turmeric, but I’d suggest using the whole spice itself. That’s how it’s been used for thousands of years, and you’d miss out on the incredible flavor and color it provides otherwise. Somehow I doubt crumbling up curcumin pills would have the same culinary effect.

Turmeric beat both ginger and an anti-inflammatory drug for treating arthritis (I’ve had similar results).

Turmeric also upregulates LDL receptor activity. If you remember from past posts on inflammation, poor LDL receptor activity can leave LDL particles open and vulnerable to oxidation from inflammatory processes.

If you’re interested in reading more about the distinct health benefits of turmeric, check out my older post.

That’s what I’ve got. Dozens of other foods are perfectly healthy – staples, even – but the preceding foods are the ones that I find downright therapeutic. What about you? In the comment section, let me and everyone else hear about your favorite anti-inflammatory foods.

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259 Comments on "My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods"

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Michelle
4 years 7 months ago

Turmeric is one of my favorites as well. I like to make turmeric tea and sip on a little bit each day. I do believe it helps!

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, the Tumeric tea recipe that Mark posted a few weeks ago has quickly become a staple for me – not every day, but a few times a week.

Abel James
4 years 7 months ago

Such a strange color but turmeric is pretty cool stuff.

wally
wally
4 years 7 months ago

as far as color- no stranger than mustard color which is b/c of the turmeric in it.

i put it on everything, including scrambled eggs. it will stain your teeth just like mustard stains clothes. have to use baking soda toothpase.

Caitlin
Caitlin
4 years 7 months ago

Me too! I have a little before bed most nights, it helps me sleep.

Melissa
Melissa
4 years 7 months ago

Me too.
I sleep like a baby after a cup of turmeric tea.

Aloka
4 years 7 months ago

Turmeric has been a staple in Indian cooking for generations. No Indian kitchen will ever be complete without having the stuff. As kids growing up whenever we had colds or coughs or were generally under the weather turmeric was a cure for everything. For a sore through our mothers would give us hot water with turmeric to gargle with, or a spoonful honey, turmeric and ghee heated up to sooth the throat.
All home remedies included turmeric and most food too. I guess some old wives tales are true after all.

Levon
Levon
2 years 3 months ago

How do you make turmeric tea? Where would I find the recipe?

EZ
4 years 7 months ago

How do you make your turmeric tea? Just the powder in hot water or is there another form that is better?

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 7 months ago
Bruno
Bruno
4 years 7 months ago
Erok
Erok
4 years 7 months ago

My personal favorite recipe is to melt some clarified butter or coconut oil in a pan, add a good amount of tumeric, with pinches of ground clove, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, etc (cocoa powder is a good adjunct, too). When that’s all stirred up, add heavy cream and milk (or coconut milk), let it warm up, take it off heat, stir in some raw honey (or stevia) and enjoy. Just the thing for Wisconsin winters.

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 7 months ago

Oh, man that sounds good. This Flatlander is going to try that tonight.

firefly
firefly
4 years 7 months ago

Wicked! Have to try that one…

Lelani
Lelani
4 years 7 months ago

That sounds wonderful…. soothing and relaxing.

samui_sakana
4 years 7 months ago

Type in “turmeric tea” in the custom search engine at the top of the page. You will find a recipe there.

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

I’ll make it easy for ya… http://www.marksdailyapple.com/creamy-turmeric-tea/#axzz1kUZyNuy3

Mark’s recipe for Creamy Tuermeric Tea. It looks like one of the most popular recipes on this site based on the comments!

Chris
Chris
4 years 7 months ago

Our local store has been getting in Turmeric Root (from Hawaii) recently. It’s wonderful to cook with but I like to throw some into my smoothies (along with turmeric’s cousin ginger). Depending on the days other additions to the mix it can add an interesting color to glop. The taste is usually not strong enough to greatly alter the smoothie flavor, as the ginger may, and I appreciate the bit of texture it adds…there are other objects of texture, such as egg shells also. Go turmeric!

Sam Smyth
Sam Smyth
4 years 7 months ago

Ginger & Turmeric Tea. In the quest for the ultimate anti-inflammatory… is it too much to ask for both?

I have been drinking this for a couple of years now, its amazing. Just slice up and simmer fresh ginger root in water for 10-15, add a pinch of turmeric, and you have yourself the most beautiful and tasty of anti-inflammatory concoctions imaginable.

Jenn
4 years 7 months ago

Totally forgot about turmeric tea — I’m definitely going to have to make it! Perfect way to end a meal/day!!

Dani
4 years 7 months ago

Gonna have to get my hands on some red palm oil

samui_sakana
4 years 7 months ago

I bought some from Tropical Traditions over a year ago…. I haven’t opened it yet 🙁 Kind of intimidated. This post just pumped up my courage a bit.

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

You really bought palm oil over a year ago and haven’t touched it yet?

raydawg
raydawg
4 years 7 months ago

It’s not that strong, tastes a bit grassy. I’ve added a teaspoon to coffee, and it’s fine. Turmeric itself has a stronger flavor.

Sandra
Sandra
4 years 7 months ago

My first order of it from Tropical Traditions came this month so this was very timely!

Burn
4 years 7 months ago

Agreed!

peggy
peggy
4 years 7 months ago

be warned – cooking (sauteeing) with red palm oil will leave an orange film everywhere! Make sure your kitchen exhaust fan is on 🙂 It also has a different flavour. Other than that, it’s in my rotation of cooking oils

Luke M-Davies
4 years 7 months ago

Hehe – good point, it does stain and has a weird taste, I haven’t bought it for a while but this post may have done enough to respark my desire for palm oil!

Kerstin
Kerstin
4 years 7 months ago

Of late, I have enjoyed throwing veggies in a Dutch oven, and then adding broth before adding the meat on top. By using the Red Palm Oil, it adds additional good fat to the mix, but you don’t notice it because it dilutes with the broth/stock (homemade, of course…)

Hope someone finds that useful…I have determined it’s definitely better this way than with my eggs. 🙂

The Primalist
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve been meaning to try it for ages, will have to track some down..

Doug
Doug
4 years 7 months ago

I think this is Mark’s greatest post!

rob
rob
4 years 7 months ago

It is certainly in the top ten, maybe the top five, but whether it is his greatest we will only know through the hindsight of history.

Owen Biesel
Owen Biesel
4 years 7 months ago

This post contains a stunning amount of helpful information and links to more. Thank you so much, Mark!

Doug
Doug
4 years 7 months ago

Its basically a guide to healthy eating (and why its healthy) disguised as an easy to read top 6 list

Yocheved
4 years 7 months ago

This is exactly the list that I have been needing. Thanks so much! I love me some broccoli! 🙂

EZ
4 years 7 months ago

I have been really learning to love kale lately. I am surprised because I have never experienced eating kale, collard or chard at all until this diet. Before if I tried it I always found it awful tasting but now I have figured out how to cook it and have gone from tolerating it to LOVING it!

Ann Marie
4 years 7 months ago

Tuscan kale works well raw, too, marinaded in lemon, olive oil, spices.
I even add a leaf to my morning smoothie. Adds texture, with very little change in taste.

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago

Collards are great cooked with bacon or bacon fat (or a bit of salt pork), with a dash of cider vinegar, minced onion, (good) salt, and black pepper.

That’s a basic Deep South style of cooking collards and just a few tweaks – like using healthy pork sources – makes it primal friendly.

Ande
Ande
4 years 7 months ago

I love that the first 3 all focus on FAT.

Becca
4 years 7 months ago

ME TOO. I <3 FAT. 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago
I’m going to order some red palm oil from Tropical Traditions. I almost did last week but was discouraged by some of the reviews alluding to a strong taste. Now that I know I know about the anti-inflammatory benefits, I’m going to use it therapeutically. Mark, in my experience, bone broth has some of the most potent anti-inflammatory properties. I’m sure you didn’t include it because it’s not a single ingredient food. Turmeric is amazing stuff! I put it into capsules and give it to my chronic cardio addicted husband when he complains of inflamed joints. Just make sure you… Read more »
Valerie H
Valerie H
4 years 7 months ago
I read a blog comments post that someone tried taking a few tablespoons of red palm oil every day to help prevent sunburn. I tried to find other examples on the web but it was just one comment. Did you ever read something that just resonated within you? There was nothing to prove it would work. I bought some (from Wilderness Family Naturals) anyway and tried it. I didn’t mind the flavor of the oil straight. I was expecting it to taste nasty. In the beginning of summer I took at least 1 T straight every day. Later I slacked… Read more »
sean
sean
4 years 7 months ago

Red Palm oil straight is hard core! I was on a high fat diet last year and guzzled all kinds of oil and butter. Red Palm oil was the hardest to get down – at least for me…but I did not try cooking with it – Yowza – think I’ll skip that and stick with olive and coconut.

Linda in TX
Linda in TX
4 years 7 months ago

Valerie!
Astaxanthin is a great sunblock/anti inflammatory….here’s a good link
http://www.naturalnews.com/033203_astaxanthin_sunburn.html

Milemom
Milemom
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve started adding a half teaspoon of turmeric to my smoothies…not even noticeable amongst the berries and kale.

Michael
Michael
4 years 7 months ago

I love hiding little extra bits of healthy spices and oils in things like smoothies, where you’d otherwise not taste them! 😀

spayne
4 years 7 months ago

Anyone have a good link for Paleo smoothie recipes? I always used to make them with greek yogurt but I have cut all dairy out. I am sure I could come up with some on my own but I was hoping to hear what other people enjoy.
Thanks.

Primal Texas
4 years 7 months ago

Primal Toad might be able to help you there…

http://www.primaltoad.com/smoothies/

Penn
Penn
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t do dairy either. Here’s my latest smoothie recipe: 1 c. organic blueberries (that I have stored frozen), 1 c. organic raspberries) also frozen, 4 T organic hemp seed, 2 T. unsweetened coconut, 2 organic medjool dates, a couple of handfuls of organic kale (also frozen after I buy it and rinse and spin it dry). A cup or so of unfiltered water- it gets up to the 2 and a half cup mark in the Vita-mix when I pour it over all the other stuff. Blend and drink. Delicious and nutritious.

suz
suz
4 years 7 months ago

Great list of food for inflammation. Try adding Resveratrol as well. Wonderful for heart diseases, cancers, inflammation. http://www.shop.com/Isotonix+reg+Resveratrol-561800350-p+.xhtml

Angeleen
4 years 7 months ago

I also eat cruciferous veggies every day. Especially broccoli and cabbage. Berries are my other mainstay. I don’t eat much fish, which I probably should, but I live in Colorado. Fish just isn’t that great here. What we do have is lots of grass-finished beef, so I enjoy that often.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 7 months ago

I LOVE cruciferous vegetables, but I’ve recently stopped eating them because they make me incredibly gassy… it’s so not OK. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to minimize that effect?

suz
suz
4 years 7 months ago

you should get use to them over time. you could try digestive enzymes http://www.shop.com/Isotonix+reg+Digestive+Enzymes+with+Probiotics-561800354-p+.xhtml
You could also try steaming them, just a little. that way your system doesnt have to do ALL the work.

Erik
Erik
4 years 7 months ago
These vegtables are high in fiber as well which is a great thing. However if your bowel movements arent 2-3 times per day everyday then you may have an abundance of stool in the colon. With that being said, stool is the source of the vast majority of gas produced (~90%). Therefore when you eat high fiber foods or take a fiber supplement your retained stool gets extra hydrated and bulkier. When stool is hydrated and bulkier, like it should be, it will create gas. Therefore, as i tell my patients everyday, more is the answer instead of less. If… Read more »
Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Are you saying that I should be pooping 2-3 times per day? I most definitely don’t do this. I poop every morning. Once in a great while I won’t go at all or will go twice a day.

Once is the norm. Why are you saying I should go 2-3 times per day?

I rarely have gas unless I eat crap.

You recommend psyllium based fiber supplement? I thought this was not the greatest thing in the world…

Lauren
4 years 7 months ago

Todd, I’m with you: I cite Fibre Menace’s thorough smackdown of the need-fibre-to-poop line. If that were true, how do breast-fed babies poop? And lord knows, they can POOP!
Apparently Ayurveda insists that we should poop after every meal.

Mark Sisson
4 years 7 months ago

@Toad, you are correct. Psyllium generally does more harm than good. I would stay away from any supplemental fiber. What you get from food is plenty. And it’s not accurate that you should “go” 2-3 times a day. Depends on a lot of different variables.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 7 months ago

I average around 2 movements a day, so I’m not sure that’s the problem… and I generally eat a lot of vegetables throughout the day, so I really shouldn’t be low on fiber…. but I’m down to give it a try. Thanks for the input!

firefly
firefly
4 years 7 months ago

Psyllium Husk can be quite abrasive over time…add probiotics at night…slow introduction….for being regular, normal high fat diet, veggies, FAT (esp. coconut oil) is a better choice than harsh Psyllium in any form.

Also, try de-stressing, lower abdominal massages ..up on right , down on left…exercise…and drink more fluids…:)

Erok
Erok
4 years 7 months ago

You might try fermenting them. I find it really helps. Have you ever made sauerkraut? Very easy, and once you try it, you’ll be hooked. It’s a simple matter to move on to ferment other things. I’ve developed a ‘Kim Chi’ recipe which has grown into a laundry list of vegetables, broccoli included.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I’ve been thinking that fermenting might hold a solution for me.. thanks!

Deanna
Deanna
4 years 7 months ago
If I feel like I have to work on a good poop, I’ll eat some of my homemade sauerkraut (got the recipe here, too!) That will make me go the next morning! Also, drinking enough water helps me, too. I had a hard time drinking the regular 8 cups a day, but then I read that bodybuilders try to drink a gallon a day. I tried it out of curiosity, thinking it would be overkill, but it turns out it worked wonders for making me more regular. I’ll have to search on this site and see if there are any… Read more »
martha
martha
4 years 7 months ago

My mother always boiled cabbage with a little bit of milk in the water to avoid the gas-y properties of cabbage. Seemed to work, but I do not know why.

nicola
nicola
4 years 2 days ago

hi try eating a quarter of an apple < preferably Galla (a red greenmix) after EVERY mealto minimise your gassy ness. in two weeks you should se a huge difference. stick with it. it works.

Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 7 months ago

I love to use grated raw turmeric when I’m making various kinds of sauerkraut. The fermentation process modulates the flavor (which I like, though many people do not,) and taking a bite or two of this sauerkraut every day
is an easy and appetizing way to get a dose of this incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory food in my diet. Plus, the turmeric gives the sauerkraut a gorgeous, deep golden color.

samui_sakana
4 years 7 months ago

I haven been wanting to make sauerkraut for a while. I already make kim-chi and kombucha, but haven’t tried sauerkraut. Do you use a crock?

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve been wanting to make homemade sauerkraut for a while. I may have to add turmeric to it when I get around to it… thanks for the idea!

samui_sakana
4 years 7 months ago

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pickled-Cauliflower

Just thought I’d put this recipe out there. It calls for turmeric. I didn’t add any sugar to mine and it was awesome.

Alexa
Alexa
4 years 7 months ago

Turmeric gives my sister heartburn. Anyone else have that problem?

Gustaf Segerström
4 years 7 months ago

Drop almost all the carbs you eat and your heartburn will dissapear.

DH
DH
4 years 7 months ago

Going very low carb does not always work for heartburn. Sometimes heartburn will increase due to LC. There are many causes of heartburn, unfortuately.

Max Gustaf Segerström
4 years 7 months ago

No, ofcourse not always, but in general, getting rid of carbs while eating more natural fat, usually helps. In Sweden tens of thousands of people have been helped with many things, from heart burn to diabetes, psoriasis, depressions and a long long list by eating fat instead of carbs.

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago

Its a bit rough on my stomach. Seems to depend on what form its in and what its combined with. I’m also hoping that as more time goes by eating the Primal diet that my stomach will be less sensitive. Seems to be heading that way. Plan to try that delicious sounding Turmeric Tea soon.

April
April
4 years 7 months ago

I’m definitely making some Curry Broccoli Soup now!! Mmmm…. it’s so nice when your food tastes good and it’s so good for you!

Penny
Penny
4 years 7 months ago
Great post Mark…the most sacred food that I feed my body is Green Pasture’s Blue Ice High Vitamin Butter Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Dr. Weston A Price did lots of research on this. His website has numerous articles that will help to teach about these amazing foods. Best anti-inflammatory hands down in my book. I get the cinnamon tingle. Now don’t scrunch your nose up…if my husband can take this…ANYONE can. Let’s see…my other favories are coconut oil,lots of homemade raw grass fed butter and kefir, sardines and using grass fed marrow bones to make broth. IMO…You want to build… Read more »
Milla
4 years 7 months ago

I LOVE Blue Ice fermented CLO! Best fish oil supplement, seriously worth the steep-ish price in my opinion! When I started taking it, my skin, sleep, stress, all improved, while I had seen no sizeable effects with other fish oils.

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

How funny you mention this food… I just finished listening to the Balanced Bites Paleo 101 podcast where Liz mentions this product. I have heard about it before and wish to try it out. When I have some extra cash I’ll for sure give it a swirl.

Do you take it out of the jar or do you take the tablets?

Penny
Penny
4 years 7 months ago

Out of the jar…it’s a thick gel. It won’t come off the spoon if you turn it over. Put it on the back of my tongue and take a swig of my raw milk kefir or smoothie. You will love it. I have some clients who actually put it on toast. Oh…any my dog loves it too…he is palio BTW.

Valerie H
Valerie H
4 years 7 months ago

I buy this too. I really wonder whether Dr. Price used fermented cod liver oil. His book only says cod liver oil. How do we know what was standard cod liver oil then? Was it fermented? I think back in Scandinavia it was fermented by default. It became a medicinal item in England in the 19th century.

Milla
4 years 7 months ago

Amazing post, love it, and I love all the foods on there!

But one thing I was rather bothered about was the big meals thing. I usually have a big-ish breakfast (I don’t eat past satiety, but it’s relatively big), and then dont get hungry till dinner. Again, I don’t really overeat, but its still 2 big meals rather than 3 or 4 smaller ones people usually eat. Is this a problem?

sean
sean
4 years 7 months ago

Isn’t part of the Grok ethic: do what feels good to you … as in “Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you feel full?” No worries, be happies.

Mary
Mary
4 years 7 months ago

Must… try… turmeric…

Paul Alexander
4 years 7 months ago

And BUTTER! Yum Yum, butter is awesome!

Mike
Mike
4 years 7 months ago

Mark may have cited this before, but here is a cool article about the probiotic effects of fermented veggies (sauerkraut = cabbage + probiotics!), and an interesting mention that they think this kind of veggie fermentation was around before homo sapiens!!

http://www.ajcn.org/content/73/2/380S.full.pdf+html

Barb
4 years 7 months ago

How about the goiterogenic properties of cruciferous veggies? A lot of the population (myself included) suffer from compromised thyroid/adrenal function.
How to get around this issue?

Primal Texas
4 years 7 months ago

Cook them! It will significantly reduce the amount of nitriles and goitrogens.

[And you don’t have to steam or boil the hell out of them either… Roasting works well for a lot of cruciferous vegetable.]

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you. All I have ever heard is “cooked properly” but no one ever seems to say what “properly” is. I like broccoli very lightly steamed – just till the color starts to change – so I was hoping that was enough. Others I don’t mind cooking longer but not to mush!

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you for bringing this subject up. I was planning to myself if no one else did. I was soooo disappointed when I learned about this property – I love this type of vegetable and I have thyroid disorder.

Brenda
Brenda
4 years 7 months ago

I find turmeric tea a bit rich for every day, so I just mix 1/2 teaspoon of the spice in a shotglass with water, and chug it. It doesn’t taste the best but it’s doable, and I’ve found it’s great at preventing and treating my arthritis pain. I also make east Indian pickles with cauliflower and turmeric, and eat a bit each day with lunch.

AnnieC
AnnieC
4 years 7 months ago

Great post. The only dairy I eat is raw, unpasturized, non-homongenized goats’ or cows milk, which I then ferment. So, a daily milk kefir smoothie with blueberries, a raw pastured egg, coconut oil and whatever else I feel like tossing in does the job for me.

It’s my theory that if people would eat more raw, fermented dairy and stay away from the garbage in the grocery store, their bodies would be a lot healthier and they would experience less GI distress. Plus, raw cheese tastes wonderful!!

Well, I’m off to make some kimchi!

Dean McGaveston
Dean McGaveston
3 years 10 months ago

Fermented cow’s milk – isn’t that yoghurt?
Some people who cannot digest raw cow’s milk can in fact consume yoghurt!
Fermented usually refers to cultured dairy products.

John
4 years 7 months ago

Hey Mark,
Great article as usual, but I am concerned about environmental impacts of food production, as I know you are as well.
Palm oil is one of the bad guys that we should be aware of and I would like to hear your thoughts.
I spend the extra money to have responsibly raised meat, dairy, and eggs, and also try to avoid palm oil (not easy). Even though palm oil is good for us, don’t you feel odd putting it in your top 6 anti-inflammatory foods because it is so environmentally unfriendly?
Thanks

dave
dave
4 years 7 months ago

That’s used for bio fuel not for food.Palm oil has been used for millenia as a food in Africa.

jules
jules
4 years 7 months ago

Fabulous start to the grocery list! Btw- Apples, take a second to vote for our favorite pow-wow (MDA!)on Healthline’s Best Health Blog of 2011 Contest at http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest. I just nominated us so… (say it with me)… Grok On!

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 7 months ago

I love turmeric and have added it to almost everything I eat for years. My 11-year-old son now enjoys turmeric (and a bunch of other spices) sprinked on top of his salmon (1/3 kids almost primal is better than 0!). However, now I find out the turmeric imported into Canada is irradiated. I’m wondering how this – I’m sure it must – changes it’s health-improving properties.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

Penzeys has great non-irradiated turmeric. It’s very strong though, so they recommend using less than the recommended amount in recipes.

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 7 months ago

Thanks, Sabrina.

Monika
4 years 7 months ago

Montmorency – or sour cherries – have one the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. The pressed juice is a super elixir (always calmed my muscle pains when I was competing as a professional athlete is swimming and triathlons. The anti-inflammatory substance found in the peel of the fruit contains the same enzyme as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. The sugar content is naturally high, but this might be one exceptionally healthy indulgence for primal peeps! 🙂

Katherine
Katherine
4 years 7 months ago

If you have red palm oil, make ndole. Delicious. If you can’t get bitter greens, kale and spinach works well 🙂

peggy
peggy
4 years 7 months ago

I just looked up a few versions of recipes for ndole. YUM!!! I am going to try this out – thanks for the idea. Just will sub almond butter for the peanuts 🙂

Ed Dudley
4 years 7 months ago

Red Palm oil is associated with deforestation. Farmers typically clear rain forests at an alarming rate to plant their Palm crops.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

I think it depends on where it is sourced. I believe the African kind is sustainable whereas the Asian kind (broadly speaking) is not.

Luke M-Davies
4 years 7 months ago

Shocked to see that Turmeric outdid Ginger in the anti-inflammatory ranks…I’m guessing Garlic sits just below these guys as it didn’t make Marks top 6 list…

Glad I did give Turmeric its own spotlight on my site as it deserves it!
http://www.lmdfitness.com/nutrition/terrific-turmeric/

Digger
4 years 7 months ago

So I just checked my Brunswick Sardines.A good, fatty fish.16g protein,9g fat, 0g of carbs. So far so good. But 2g omega 6, 1g omega 3, 4g monounsaturated fat. Why? Because it’s packed in Soya (Canola?) oil.
DOH.

Arty
Arty
4 years 7 months ago

LOL !

I really should eat more sardines…

Geoff
Geoff
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, it is very annoying how many sardines you find on store shelves are packed in soybean oil. You have to read the labels.

James
James
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you Mark. Great post. I’m putting red palm oil in my rotation.

Jennifer Minar-Jaynes
4 years 7 months ago

Love your posts, Mark! Going to try the tea this week. =)

trackback

[…] My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods […]

Justin blizzywtf
Justin blizzywtf
4 years 7 months ago

I’m curious how cinnamon stacks up against turmeric as an anti-inflammitory?

Tom
Tom
4 years 7 months ago
Justin blizzywtf
Justin blizzywtf
4 years 7 months ago

Oh, thanks! Those are great resources!

Arty
Arty
4 years 7 months ago

So my guess is Tropical Traditions will now be out of stock on red palm oil…everybodys running over there to get some…gah.

Kim C.
4 years 7 months ago

Baked Kale Chips using Red Palm Oil are may all time favorite snack, and now I know them to be anti-inflammatory. Oh, happy day!

Steve
Steve
4 years 7 months ago

Has anyone tried the anatabloc supplement?

The minimum order is $100 for 200 pills and I’m reluctant to try it without a favorable, unbiased opinion.

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 7 months ago

I use antabloc and it think works. I am trying to get my father to use it daily as he does not eat/live paleo and suffers from chronic inflammation. The irony is he will take prescription pills but not a nutraceutical, even if it is free! (I’d provide them for him).

I own no stock in Star Scientific.

PaleorumbaBob
PaleorumbaBob
4 years 7 months ago

Some websites claim Turmeric/Curcumin absorption is enhanced when combined with Black Pepper (active ingredient is Pipperine).

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, supposedly turmeric should be used along with black pepper to enhance its anti-inflammatory effects. My source for this is the book “Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life” by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.

loligoss
loligoss
4 years 7 months ago

About the veg…they only give gas if they aren’t organic. Don’t go by the label go buy if they give you gas or not.

I love turmeric with my cabbage and other veg. It goes really well with chicken too. We put chicken in a pot with carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, turmeric, pepper and maybe some other spice. Yummy meal in a pot.

HillsideGina
HillsideGina
4 years 7 months ago

That’s incorrect. Organic or not has no effect on whether you get gas from cruciferous vegs or any vegs. If you are prone to gas from a fruit or veg, eat small amounts until you become unaffected, and watch your total fiber intake.

loligoss
loligoss
4 years 7 months ago

I wouldn’t say it’s incorrect. I know how it affects me. I know I can’t digest the cruciferous vegs without gassing and bloating but I can when it comes from my CSA box.

I discovered the same works for organic milk as opposed to regular. I switched to lactose free only to discover it wasn’t the lactose that was the problem. Now I have 3% organic milk and my tummy is much better for it.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

I agree. I don’t believe that organic vs. non has anything to do with gas production. However, cooking these vegatables well does help to reduce gas.

richard
richard
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve developed a taste to Tumeric all over my omelette made of pastured eggs.

Rachel Ernst
4 years 7 months ago

Penzey’s has a Bicentennial Rub that is fabulous on poultry and contains tumeric. This might work great for beginners on tumeric! I think it is the black pepper that really combines well.

Lippy
Lippy
4 years 7 months ago

Dear Mark,
What no Robbie Burns day article?! No Primal Haggis recipe? No recap on single malt whiskey? I was certain I would see this as the post today, well maybe next year! Well, regardless, Slainte!

Mark Sisson
4 years 7 months ago

@Lippy, do dheagh shlàinte. I had haggis in BC, Canada a few years ago. Have to say, it wasn’t bad. Might make for an interesting post one day. OTOH, the malt whiskey is out of my wheelhouse.

Justin
Justin
4 years 7 months ago

Anyone have any tips for getting turmeric out of fabric? I was driving the other day and spilled some curry on my favorite shirt and soap+water isn’t cutting it.

Hatsunohana
Hatsunohana
4 years 7 months ago

I love palm oil. Are there any brands you would recommend which are environmentally safe. I have read that rain forest is being cut for palm plantations and the concerns me.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

Tropical Traditions. They have information on the website about their palm oil being sustainable.

Hatsunohana
Hatsunohana
4 years 7 months ago

Sabrina,

Thanks very much! I love palm oil and will look at Tropical Traditions website.

Lynn

Daniel
Daniel
4 years 7 months ago

Hey Mark (and Grokkers),

Can you tell me why having Salmon every day is a bad thing? I buy Trader Joe’s BPA-free canned salmon and have it in a nice big salad for lunch most days per week. Please let me know when you can; I want to make sure to fix something if I’m hurting myself!

Thanks,
Daniel

Mark Sisson
4 years 7 months ago

@Daniel, probably not a “bad” thing, but why not branch out a bit?

Daniel
Daniel
4 years 7 months ago

Thanks Mark! I just find it so good. I try to mix it up with sardines or, less frequently, tuna. I keep the real meats for dinner time when I get home from the office. And I tend to snack on eggs and chicken/turkey. So fish is what I’m left with for lunchtime.

Jen
Jen
4 years 7 months ago

My mother ate canned salmon every day for a year or so and ending up developing an intolerance to it–she couldn’t eat it at all for more than a year after, without feeling quite sick. Now she can manage it say once a month.

I guess the fact that we evolved with food that varied throughout the year is something to consider.

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago
Makes a difference what the source of the salmon is – farmed or wild caught. I don’t know which Trader Joe’s canned salmon is. Reason is – mercury and other contaminants. Sardines are usually relatively free of contaminants because they are low on the food chain. The higher you go on the food chain, the more concentrated the contaminants become. Likewise, the fattier the fish the more the potential contaminants. Some form of tuna are better than others in this regard. Albacore is not as good as light tuna. If you eat enough mercury contaminated fish on a regular basis… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you for this incredibly informative post.

Trader Joe’s canned salmon (at least the kind I buy) is wild caught; and the cans are BPA free. I’m going to do my best to limit my intake to 3 or less times per week, regardless.

Thanks for the help.

rrustad
rrustad
4 years 7 months ago

You’re welcome, Daniel. Three servings of (safe) salmon a week is great. Two is minimal if its your only fish intake. Less than two is OK if you’re also eating other sources of seafood.

Salmon oil is a great way to boost Omega 3 and can be used daily if its a certified safe source.

I also agree with Mark about diversity in our food sources – for several reasons. Its good to get an assortment of food sources for a wider range of proteins and micronutrients, for one.

cintronbrandon
4 years 7 months ago

My friend told me ever since his mom used turmeric, her pains went away.

Roseann Pairo
Roseann Pairo
4 years 7 months ago

I had a co-worker from India who swore by a concoction of raw tumeric(tough to find. I only found whole dried tumeric in an Indian grocery store)lemon juice and grated ginger. He said he has a “shot” of it every morning as soon as he wakes up. He swears it will help cure almost anything. I just started it. We’ll see.
by the way, in the tumeric tea, try grating the ginger. It works really well.

Sarah
4 years 7 months ago

I love fatty fish and berries!!!! not together, but they are both so yummy. recently made up a asian inspired sardine recipe with broccoli. so good and easy to make!

Max Gustaf Segerström
4 years 7 months ago

I really love you webpage Mark. I have a similar page in Swedish, but more focused on recipes and as well about natural food and natural exercise and am about to start another one in English. Hopefully I will be able to launch it before the end of February.

Will be happy to receive your feedback if you have time as you are a big source of inspiration and knowledge.

Best Regards
Max

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