Inflammation. The more we learn about it the more diseases it seems to be related too.
Scientists have found that this inflammation – especially when chronic has a major impact on our overall health. They have linked it to obesity, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, 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; I am sure you care more about what you can do about it. Well lucky you! There are tons of foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it.
Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:
ANIT-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #1
Berries, Grapes, and Cherries
Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favourite of yours.
Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Not 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.
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.
If you have trouble getting your littles to choke down steamed broccoli…. Well… that’s cause streamed broccoli sucks. Just kidding. If you like steamed broccoli – Go. To. Town. But I find roasting broccoli is a much tastier way of getting my little fam to get those greens.
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 colours. Peppers that are any other colour are not fully ripe and won't have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week's recipe (see below).
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.
Some of the new diet’s that focus on fat based calorie consumption can be incredibly helpful to the body or incredibily damaging and it all depends on what kinds of fats you focus on with these diets.
HOT TIP: eating bacon every day is NOT healthy no matter how you slice it.
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.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #4
This probably makes me the happiest out of anything on this list. Green tea is my version of relaxation in a cup. I could drink it “all day ery day”.
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. You can grab a killer matcha recipe right here.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #5
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. Try adding it to your next stir fry, curry, morning shake or check out this Golden Milk Recipe to sip it on a cozy evening at home.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #6
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."
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY QUINOA (WITH BROCCOLI, PEPPER AND TUMERIC)
¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 dash salt
½ tbsp turmeric
1 dash black pepper
2 cups broccoli, chopped
In a saucepan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).
Melt coconut oil in a skillet. Add diced onions, turmeric, pepper and salt, and lightly sauté for a few minutes.
Add broccoli and lightly sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it becomes softened.
Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.