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Start Your Day With These 14 Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

by Jennifer Sweenie
Last Updated: September 5, 2023

If you’re looking to fight inflammation with food, packing some anti-inflammatory breakfast foods into your morning meal is an easy—and delicious—way to combat chronic pain and any other symptoms you may be dealing with. 

Inflammation is usually synonymous with something negative that we want to avoid, but it is our body’s natural defense response and fundamental to our overall health—without it, we wouldn’t last very long! Inflammation only becomes an issue when our body uses it incorrectly.

The best way to find out the root cause of any unhealthy inflammation is to visit your healthcare professional. But did you know, that what you eat, can have a major impact on the inflammatory levels in your body? A simple way you can lower inflammation in your body is to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.  

Before we dive into our top 14 anti-inflammatory breakfast foods, let’s first explore what inflammation is and how your food choices for the first meal of the day can set you off on the right inflammation-fighting foot

Anti inflammatory breakfast foods have the power boost your immune system.
Anti inflammatory breakfast foods have the power boost your immune system.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s immune response to an injury or unwanted foreign invader. It often gets a bad rap, but acute inflammation is an important and much needed healing response from your body. The redness and swelling you experience when you have a hangnail, the sore throat that accompanies a virus, or a bout of poison ivy is just your body sending out your immune cell soldiers to get to battle and fight off infection. Once they’ve done their job and you’re healed, your body sends the soldiers back to base camp to await their next duel. 

Inflammation can become an issue when your soldiers go to battle without an adversary, so to speak. This can lead to prolonged inflammation in your body and is known as chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can last for many years and can lead to complications, undesirable symptoms, and can negatively affect your overall health.

When your body goes to war on a perfectly healthy battlefield with no opponents, you may experience:

  • Joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
  • Gum disease
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Asthma 

You may also experience less visible and nebulous symptoms such as fatigue, mood disorders, or weight loss or gain when your body is constantly fighting. 

Common Causes of Inflammation

There are external and lifestyle factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation. These include:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Environmental toxins
  • Untreated infections or injuries
  • Chronic stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High body mass index
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Inflammatory foods in the diet

Foods That Cause Inflammation

  • Refined sugar
  • Candy
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • All-purpose flour and white bread
  • Fried foods
  • Fast food
  • Ultra-processed foods
  • Soda and sugary beverages
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Processed meats
  • Trans fats

Foods that are pro-inflammatory may also wreak havoc on your gut health. An imbalance in the gut microbiome is a key component in low-grade inflammation. In addition to incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your breakfast and beyond, it is also prudent to avoid foods that are pro-inflammatory

14 Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

The good news is that there is a plethora of healthy foods that will make for a nourishing breakfast. Whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, there are easy ways to get at least one inflammation-fighting food on your plate in the morning. 

Foods That Are Anti-Inflammatory

  1. Nuts 

    Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, and the milks and butters made from them, are all rich sources of antioxidants and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

  2. Berries

    Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain antioxidants known as polyphenols that mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress.

  3. Avocado

    Compounds in avocado have been linked to providing anti-inflammatory properties.

  4. Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, a phenolic compound, that has been shown to have similar effects as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen when ingested in the same amounts.

  5. Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation.

  6. Bell and Chili Peppers

    Peppers contain vitamin C and an antioxidant called quercetin. Both have been shown to lower inflammation.

  7. Fatty Fish

    Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring contain fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory in nature.

  8. Green Tea and Matcha

    Green tea powder contains a bioactive component, EGCG, known to regulate inflammation.

  9. Turmeric

    Turmeric is packed with a compound called curcumin, which has been proven to provide significant anti-inflammatory properties.

  10. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms, such as shiitake and portobello, are rich in antioxidants that may help fight inflammation.

  11. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes and tomato-based products are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant known for its potent anti-inflammatory effects. Lycopene is also found in some fruits including watermelon, pink grapefruit, and papaya.

  12. Cruciferous Vegetables

    Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant known as sulforaphane that has been shown to prevent inflammation.

  13. Grapes

    Grapes contain an antioxidant known as resveratrol that has been linked to a reduction in inflammatory markers.

  14. Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

    Cocoa beans are one of the best sources of flavonoids, which are inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Dark chocolate and cocoa contain the highest content of these anti-inflammatory polyphenols as they have not been processed to remove the bitterness, which lowers the concentration.

Meal Ideas for Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

Having a list of anti-inflammatory foods is one thing, but understanding how to incorporate them into your nutrition plan is even better. Here’s a few anti-inflammatory breakfast meal ideas you can try:

  • Smoothie bowl that includes frozen anti-inflammatory berries, unsweetened almond milk, matcha green tea powder, whipped in a food processor and topped with cacao nibs.
  • Inflammation-fighting turmeric in a turmeric smoothie with almond butter, cocoa powder, and frozen chunks of watermelon or papaya as a sweetener.
  • Eggs scrambled in extra virgin olive oil with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
  • Frittata with broccoli, red bell pepper, and onions. 
  • Smoked salmon and avocado omelette rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avocado toast made with almond flour bread and topped with cilantro.
  • Unsweetened coconut, almond or other non dairy yogurt topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Breakfast bars made with assorted chopped raw nuts, honey, dark chocolate chunks, and almond butter and nut flour.
  • Fisherman’s breakfast: a baked egg dish made with extra virgin olive oil-packed sardines, tomato, hot sauce, and mushrooms.


If you’re struggling with symptoms from chronic inflammation, looking toward food is an important part of the equation to help deal with it. Mitigating your intake of pro-inflammatory food as well as upping your intake of anti-inflammatory foods with a whole foods diet can decrease unwanted inflammation in the body. A myPrimalCoach can help you by offering more real food breakfast ideas as well as other anti-inflammatory recipes to include throughout the day. A coach can also help with lifestyle and behavior changes that may be contributing to your inflammation.

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