Ten Natural Ways to Defeat Inflammation

by | Last updated Jan 11, 2024 | Blood Vessels & Heart Health

If you have a chronic disease–arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, cancer, obesity–these science-validated suggestions will help you because inflammation fuels most chronic diseases. Here are ten natural ways to defeat it.

1. Adopt a Well-Balanced Plant Based Diet

The typical Western diet (characterized by higher intakes of red and processed meats, sweets, desserts, French fries, and refined grains) increases inflammatory markers in the blood. In contrast, the regular consumption of a prudent diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and monounsaturated fats reduces inflammation. Diet greatly affects gut bacteria that can increase inflammation or decrease it.

2. Skip Sweetened Drinks

The average American drinks 216 liters of soft drinks annually. Low to moderate consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increased bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, blood glucose levels, and an inflammatory marker (hsCRP) in healthy young men in just three weeks.

3. Enjoy Colorful Fruits!

Eat red grapes, berries, and cherries. These fruits are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Flavonoids found in blueberries and cranberries protect our small blood vessels from inflammatory assaults. Flavonoids also improve mental performance by increasing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity within the brain. Strawberries significantly reduce the natural rise of inflammation that occurs after a high fat meal and improves the body’s ability to respond to insulin.

4. Eat Celery or a Green Vegetable Daily

Chlorophyll and magnesium in these foods combat inflammation. Want a great anti-inflammatory vegetable with pain-reducing properties? Eat celery. Medical botanist James Duke points out that celery contains two dozen analgesic compounds and more than two dozen anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Don’t like raw celery? Use it liberally in soups, legume dishes, and entrées. A veggie cocktail of half carrot juice and half celery is excellent.

5. Lose Weight if Obese

Low-muscle mass combined with high body fat triggers inflammatory problems. Fat cells are actually endocrine cells that make an arsenal of chemicals many of which, if produced in excess, promote inflammation. The good news is that steady, gradual weight loss helps to reduce inflammation even before ideal weight is achieved.

6. Be Sure your Vitamin D Level is Normal

As many as 50% of North Americans and Western Europeans are either deficient or have insufficient levels of the vitamin D hormone, calcitriol. This is dangerous because this hormone combats inflammation and free radical damage. It also fights cancer. Sunscreen blocks vitamin D production in the skin when it is exposed to the sunlight.

7. Get Adequate, Good Quality Sleep

Even reducing a normal sleep time of eight hours by 25% encourages inflammation. Deficient sleep increases inflammation. Losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger one of the major cellular pathways that produces tissue-damaging inflammation which could contribute to an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing at least three inflammatory markers involved in atherosclerosis.

8. Engage in Daily Moderate Exercise

Moderate exercise thickens the adrenal gland cortices that produce the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. This valuable hormone tightens up the cell membranes making them more resistant to inflammatory compounds. Resistant training reduces inflammation in obese, post menopausal women. Regular, moderate exercise also increases anti-inflammatory compounds in the elderly.

9. Develop Sound Mental Health

Depression and chronic anxiety promote inflammation. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, replacing distorted thought patterns with healthy thoughts, and by accepting our limitations that we cannot change, we reduce our stress.

10. Control for Chronic Disease

Keep blood sugar and blood pressure within normal ranges. Uncontrolled chronic disease generates more free radical damage and inflammation. Work with your doctor to reduce this damage.


Aeberli I, Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption impairs glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes inflammation in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):479-85.

Duke, James, The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, Rodale Books, 1008, p. 88-89.

Galland L, Diet and inflammation. Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):634-40.

Phillips MD, et al., Resistance training reduces subclinical inflammation in obese, postmenopausal women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Nov;44(11):2099-110.

Mullington JM, Sleep loss and inflammation. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct;24(5):775-84. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3548567/

Loss Of Sleep, Even For A Single Night, Increases Inflammation In The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 16, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/09/080902075211.htmAcute sleep deprivation increases inflammation: Research www.news-medical.net/…/Acute-sleep-deprivation-increases-inflammation…

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