What are anti-inflammatory foods? They’re just ones that have been well-studied to reduce inflammation in the body. They are the items that nutritionists and doctors all agree that we need to get more of because not only do they reduce inflammation, but they have a whole heck of a lot of other health benefits as well.
In today’s article, I will share eight anti-inflammatory foods that I eat every week and give you a few different recipe that you can introduce into your menu program.
Berries: Whether they’re blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries all contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins and it’s the anthocyanins that give berries their vibrant, blue, purple, and redish color.
While all fruits are generally high in antioxidants, berries really are the super stars because they have so many different chemical compounds that are great at fighting inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Now here’s the cool part. Not only do berries reduce existing inflammation, but they help to train ourselves to respond better to episodes of future inflammation as well, and that’s why eating them regularly is always a smart idea.
A few of my favourite recipes with berries includes my blueberry smoothie, my berry spinach salad, my raspberry vinaigrette, my strawberry banana smoothie, and my acai bowl. I’m sure you know that leafy greens are good for you, but do you know why they’re good for you? Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and other greens are not only full of antioxidants, but their alkalizing to the body.
They’re packed with nutrients including foliate, fiber, vitamins, A, C, E, and K and a variety of minerals. While some jokingly refer to leafy greens as rabbit food, including my dad, there’s a reason why all animals in the animal kingdom prioritize leafy greens and that’s because they nourish our bodies on a cellular level.
Leafy greens prevent cognitive decline, they keep our microbiome in tip top shape, and they reduce overall body inflammation. Some of my favorite recipes with leafy greens include my wild rice and arugula salad, my shrimp, asparagus and avocado salad, my garlic sauteed Swiss chard, my post workout green smoothie and my kale chips.
Salmon and other fatty fish such as trout, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel are all high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, and these are essential because your body can’t make them. You have to get them from your diet.
If you have an autoimmune condition, omega-3s are even more important because studies have proven them very beneficial for a wide range of autoimmune conditions including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type one diabetes, psoriasis, all sorts of colitis, multiple sclerosis and so many others.
Omega-3s are also critical for brain health, and interestingly enough, those who consume fatty fish regularly are less likely to be depressed or anxious. In short, omega-3s are one of the most well studied nutrients and studies time and again show the massive anti-inflammatory effects that they have on the body.
Some of my favourite salmon recipes include my Dijon baked salmon, my orange glazed salmon, my salmon patties, my smoked salmon frittata, and my salmon avocado salad. When most think of avocados, they think of healthy fats and that’s good because avocados are full of monounsaturated fat which is the good fat that helps reduce cholesterol and it reduces inflammation of the joints.
Healthy fats like those from avocado are needed for energy, blood clotting, brain development, absorbing fat soluble vitamins, and limiting inflammation. The various nutrients in avocados have also proven beneficial in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and I’m always investigating Parkinson’s research because my dad has Parkinson’s.
A fun fact about avocados is that they actually have more potassium than bananas. For a three and a half ounce serving of bananas, you would get 10% of the recommended daily allowance of potassium and in the same serving size of an avocado, you would get 14%.
Some of my favourite avocado recipes include my tuna stuffed avocados, my avocado egg salad, my avocado dressing, my carrot and zucchini pasta with avocado cucumber sauce and my baked eggs in avocado. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber, but it’s the sulforaphane that makes broccoli extra special. Sulforaphane is one of the most studied compounds in broccoli and studies show that it has protective affects against cancer, and can detoxify harmful chemicals in the environment that would otherwise trigger inflammation in our body.
Some of my favourite broccoli and cruciferous veggie recipes include my broccoli salad, my steamed broccoli, my whole 30 chicken broccoli casserole, my garlic ginger bok choy, and my cauliflower rice tabbouleh.
Garlic has been used for centuries for it’s medicinal properties and numerous studies time and again show that it has both cancer preventive and immune boosting effects. Of course Garlic adds enormous to any recipe, but it’s, it’s wide-ranging health benefits where garlic truly shines.
Garlic contains anti-inflammatory chemicals such as quercetin, which naturally inhibits histamine, and sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease. If you have arthritis, garlic may be your best friend as well because garlic has proven to reduce the inflammation, pain, and cartilage damage associated with arthritis.
Now it’s hard to pick just a handful of garlic recipes because I use garlic in so many different recipes on my website, but I love my zucchini pasta with lemon garlic shrimp, my mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs, my garlic sauteed Swiss chard, my sweet potato fries with garlic aioli, and my poached chicken and winter vegetable soup.
So ginger, just like garlic, has been used for centuries around the world for it’s healing properties. It’s well known to help reduce motion sickness, reduce pain, and reduce nausea. Ginger contains substances known as gingerols that reduce inflammation and turn off the pain causing compounds in the body.
In terms of digestion, ginger supports digestion and helps with motility which just means that it moves things more quickly through our intestines, and in fact it’s been shown that ginger can move things through twice as fast which is key if you struggle with constipation.
Because of these digestive benefits, ginger has been proven to help reduce colorectal cancer and to boost the immune system. Now remember that about 75 to 80% of our immune system comes from our gut so anything that helps the gut like the ginger, obviously, is going to help our immune system as well.
Some of my favourited ginger recipes include my scallops with citrus ginger sauce, my carrot ginger soup, my golden milk, my cucumber melon gazpacho with ginger shrimp, and my asian cauliflower rice with ginger shrimp.
Alright, lastly we have chia seeds and while chia seeds are known as a super food today, in ancient times they were a dietary staple most known for providing energy, and in the ancient Mayan language the word chia actually translated to the word strength.
In addition to all of the vitamins and nutrients in chia seeds, they also pack a hefty dose of fiber. In fact, they’re one of the world’s best sources of fiber and all of that fiber is great for helping to balance blood sugar and, of course, good gut health.
Chia seeds along with flax seeds are loaded with antioxidants and omega-3s and the antioxidants fight free radicals and the omega-3s reduce inflammation just as I mentioned with the salmon. Some of my favorite chia seed recipes include my chia seed pudding, chia seed jam, my ultimate seed crackers, my peanut butter and jelly chia pudding, and my coconut chia mango popsicles.
Now there are many more anti-inflammatory foods than these eight I mentioned today. These just happen to be the ones that I eat most frequently and you probably noticed from all of the recipes that I just tend to mix and match all of these ingredients to create new meals, but the quirks of all of this information, and I think this article in general today is the question, can changing your eating habits change your overall health? The answer is of course yes..
It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and to improve your overall wellness. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s article and if you did, make sure you share it with your friends, family and associates.