Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s immune response. Once your immune system notices that something’s off, it triggers inflammation and directs it at an invading germ, chemical, or allergen to protect your health.
But inflammation can become a problem when your immune system stays revved up, even though it isn’t battling a foreign invader. This is called chronic inflammation, and there are plenty of reasons why this happens—infections that won’t go away, stress, certain medications, and a diet high in refined carbs and sugar, to name just a few. Chronic inflammation can damage many areas of your body, including your heart, joints, and brain. This damage raises your risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
The good news? Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your daily diet can help—and it’s pretty easy to do! Here, two top registered dieticians give us a rundown of their go-to plant-based inflammation-fighters and how to best enjoy them.
These little fruits pack a serious anti-inflammatory punch. Sweet cherries, like Bing, Lapin, and Sweetheart, have high levels of anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress in your body, says Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., author of The Little Book of Game-Changers.