A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating berries daily could significantly reduce inflammation. And another study in the same journal found that fruit-based drinks could neutralize the inflammatory effects of high-fat, high-carb meals. Why is this exactly? Well berries contain a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, but it’s the anthocyanins, specifically, that contribute their anti-inflammatory effects by effectively turning off inflammatory and immune genes. And when it comes to anthocyanins, blueberries are king. On top of that, blueberries are rich in vitamin C and another polyphenol, resveratrol, which have both been found to promote anti-inflammatory responses through decreasing inflammatory free radicals.
Throw together a jar of overnight oats packed with dark chocolate, berries, nuts, and a dash of cinnamon, and you’ll be fighting inflammation and drastically reducing belly fat. The raw oats are a resistant starch, a type of carb that passes through your gut undigested. Instead of feeding you, it feeds your healthy gut bacteria, which in turn produce a fatty acid that encourages more efficient fat oxidation known as butyrate. Higher levels of butyrate reduce inflammation in your body and help reduce insulin resistance as well. Less inflammation means less bloating and a slimmer you.
Researchers attribute ginger’s health benefits to gingerols, compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-disease. According to numerous studies, these compounds block several genes and enzymes in the body that promote inflammation. When University of Arizona researchers gave rats with experimental rheumatoid arthritis a crude ginger extract, which included the essential oils and other compounds found only in the root itself, it was able to inhibit joint swelling and inflammation. Fresh ginger is richest in gingerol, so grate up the root, throw it in a mesh bag, steep, and sip on ginger tea.
Say hello to your secret weight-loss tool. Green tea—a humble drink that’s been cherished as a health miracle for centuries and is even the cornerstone of the bestselling The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. These benefits stem from catechins, the group of antioxidants concentrated in the leaves of tea plants. And the most powerful of all catechins, a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is found almost exclusively in green tea. Scientific studies, like one in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, suggest that the high EGCG and polyphenol content in green tea make it a stronger anti-inflammatory elixir than other teas like black tea. These anti-inflammatory properties have also been implicated in preventing the development and growth of skin tumors.
When it comes to fats, there’s one variety you definitely don’t want eat less of: omega-3s! These healthy fats are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties. And fatty fish are one of the best sources of this class of polyunsaturated fats. Wild salmon provides you with both EPA and DHA. And unlike plant omega-3s, these two fatty acids are already in an active form, meaning they’ll more efficiently attack excess inflammation through the increase in adiponectin—a hormone that enhances your muscles’ ability to use carbs for energy, boosts metabolism, and burns fat—which ultimately decrease inflammation markers.