Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods
Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines. It’s a fact. Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it’s chronic (i.e. lasts a long time). Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, just to name a few.
But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it’s measured, and where it comes from; why don’t I focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it? Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:
Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, and Cherries
Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favorite of yours? Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol” are found in these small and delicious fruits. In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds. I keep Costco bags of frozen berries on hand. They’re nice to blend in a smoothie but eating them frozen for a sweet treat is also pretty awesome. If you want to make sure you always have organic berries on hand for a delicious beverage, you can also try Bio Fruit (use code: CoachMarisol for your discount) for when you don’t have the fresh guys around!
Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane.” This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. I pack this super-healthy vegetable together with sources of Omega 3s in this week’s recipe (see below).
Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin. Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colors. Peppers that are any other color are not fully ripe and won’t have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)
Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: “trans” fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: “omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health. The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax. Looking for a delicious chocolatey way to get your fats? Try this! (use code Coach Marisol for your discount) It is nutrient dense, packed with protein and loaded with marine omega fatty acids. Sooo good.
Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea
Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG. EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea. Matcha is a powder. You can make it hot or cold. It’s pretty yummy blended with some almond milk and half of a frozen banana.
Anti-inflammatory Food #5 – Turmeric
Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric? Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin. This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties. I’ve added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate
Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries. Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavonols”). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They’ve even been shown to prevent “neuro-inflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
***Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!
There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colourful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa. You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of “anti-inflammation.”
Recipe (Broccoli, Coconut Milk, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory Detox Soup
- I head of broccoli or one bag of broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp oil (coconut, olive, sesame or avocado)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- Lots of garlic – minced (I probably use half a head…)
- 1 -2 Carrots, chopped
- 2-3 Ribs Celery, chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- dash black pepper
- Dried or fresh herbs of your choice (optional)
- Any other veggies hanging out in the fridge that need to be used asap
- 1 can coconut milk (organic, full fat)
- 1 liter stock or bone broth (your choice)
In a stock pot, sautee all veggies, garlic & onion with oil , spices and herbs if using. After a few minutes, add your stock and simmer until veggies are tender. Should take 5-10 minutes. Once they are tender, turn off the stove and add can of coconut milk. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.
Serve & enjoy! Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or chilies for an extra spicy kick.