Your Guide to a Day of Anti Inflammatory Eating
Bottom line: if you’re eating foods from the Earth and not from a package, you’re on the right track.
Much research has been documenting the benefits of anti-inflammatory diets. Those turmeric lattes are trending on your Instagram feed for good reason. Not only are anti-inflammatory diets linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but they can also help to decrease period pain. These simple, nourishing recipes will leave your taste buds signing and hormones humming.
Breakfast: Blend up some berries
Berries are an antioxidant powerhouse. One study found that individuals who ate berries every day had lower levels of heart disease, a common marker of inflammation in the body. Adding spinach is a great way to sneak in nutritious greens in a way that you can’t taste. By swapping dairy’s milk for almond milk and using almond butter and flax seeds, this smoothie offers a dose of healthy fats to keep you feeling satiated until lunch.
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries
- 1 handful of fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter (look for unsweetened varieties)
- 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
- 1 cup of almond milk
- Anti-inflammatory booster: add fresh turmeric or ginger root for some spice!
Directions: Blend all and enjoy.
Lunch: Macrobiotic Power
The macrobiotic diet is rooted in the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A macrobiotic bowl is constructed with a combination of whole grains, vegetables, beans or fish, and fermented foods. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut contain probiotics which help rebalance the gut flora. Optimal levels of good bacteria in the microbiome appear to reduce symptoms of inflammatory Arthritis. Macrobiotic bowls can be thrown together with whatever variety of ingredients you have on hand, so customize the following template to your liking.
The Macrobiotic Bowl Formula:
- Fill half of your plate with vegetables. Try combining a leafy greens like arugula or kale with cooked vegetables of your choice, such as squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, or mushrooms.
- Fill one quarter of your plate with either beans or fish. Tofu or tempeh can also be used for vegetarians. However, if you choose to use soy products, it is important that they are organic, as soybeans are one of the highest GMO crops in the US.
- Fill one quarter of your plate with whole grains. Great options include brown rice, quinoa, faro, millet, and amaranth.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of fermented foods
- Add a drizzle of healthy fats, like olive oil or a side of avocado
Dinner: Turmeric Salmon with Sweet Potato Mash
Salmon is a well-known anti-inflammatory food, rich in omega 3 fatty acids that protect the heart, brain, and joints. We’ve paired it with a side of sweet potato, a rich source of complex carbohydrates, beta craton, and vitamin A, all drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a staple in diets in the Mediterranean countries, where people have the lowest levels of inflammatory diseases like heart disease. Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant. When paired with black pepper, these benefits become more bioavailable in the body.
- 1 salmon fillet
- 1 chopped sweet potato
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
- To prepare the salmon, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle the salmon with 1 tsp of olive oil, sprinkle with turmeric, black pepper, and sea salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until cooked in the center.
- For the sweet potato mash, skin and chop the sweet potato. Add to a boiling water until the sweet potato can be pierced with a fork. Drain the water, mash the sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, finish the dish with fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of the remaining olive oil.
Don’t Forget Dessert: Dark Chocolate
If you need a reason to indulge in some dark chocolate, there’s science to back up your not-so-guilty pleasure. The cacao in dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, which exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities,” and “modulate intestinal microbiota, thus leading to the growth of bacteria that trigger a tolerogenic anti-inflammatory pathway in the host.” Just be sure to look for a variety that is preferably made with organic ingredients and natural sweeteners. Here is a list of some top-notch brands.
We hope that these recipes inspire you to include anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. When in doubt, opt to include a variety of plant based foods and quality sources of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Bottom line: if you’re eating foods from the Earth and not from a package, you’re on the right track.