Well Between Spring 2021
“Anti-inflammatory” is probably a buzz term you’ve been hearing more and more over the last few years. But what does it actually mean? What kind of foods are anti anti-inflammatory and how can we add more into our diet without having to try too hard? We’ve got all those answers and more!
First some good news! Inflammatory foods are probably ones you’ve already said goodbye to as part of your Body Well lifestyle. These include foods that are highly refined or processed and contain a high amount of saturated fats. Processed meats like hot dogs and lunch meats. Refined carbs and simple sugars like white bread, candy, pastries, soda, sugar, honey, and high fructose corn syrup cause blood sugar spikes that trigger inflammation. And yes, over consumption of alcohol is also known to cause inflammation.
So why should we care so much about inflammation? Inflammation in your body can cause you to just not feel well. Fatigue, stiffness, soreness and body pain can all be signs of inflammation. Inflammation can last for a few hours or a few days, but when it lingers longer than that it is referred to as chronic inflammation.
When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. All of these are linked to the development of several diseases, including: cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.*
But the foods we eat can make a difference! Adding anti inflammatory foods or sticking to an anti inflammatory diet can make you feel better in just a couple of weeks. While medication and other treatments might be important if you have an underlying condition that causes inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet could also lessen the number of flare-ups you have, or it might help take your pain down a few notches.** Regardless, anti-inflammatory foods are widely regarded as healthy. Even if they don’t help with your underlying condition, they most definitely will help lower your chances of having other problems. Sounds like a win to us!
Here are some of our favorite anti-inflammatory foods and how we add them to our diets.
Green Leafy Veggies:
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli and asparagus are filled with Vitamin E; an antioxidant which has been shown to reduce inflammation.
Places to add it to your diet: Salads aren’t the only way to get your leafy greens - although they are a great way! Try adding spinach or kale to your smoothie, roast broccoli, brussels sprouts or asparagus for a simple nutrient dense side, use collard greens as a wrap instead of a pita or tortilla or add any leafy green to your soups during the last couple minutes of cooking.
Berries are rich in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They also contain chemicals that help regulate your immune system, which can reduce chronic inflammation.
Places to add to your diet: Smoothies are our go to for adding berries in our daily life. You can also top your overnight oats, granola or yogurt with a handful or add to your salads for a colorful kick! Also, the perfect dessert for a hot summer night?: Frozen berries!
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Places to add to your diet: Try adding turmeric to soups, salad dressings, roasted veggies (have you tried our cauliflower popcorn on pg. 51 of the Repeater Recipes?) or make your own golden milk!
Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds that function in the same way as COX-2 inhibitors (drugs used to treat pain and inflammation). Because of this, ginger has become a popular alternative to pill for pain associated with arthritis.
Places to add to your diet: You can add a few tablespoons to your diet by grating ginger over a salad or into a stir fry. Or you could grate one to two teaspoons and simmer it in a pot with hot water for five minutes to make a soothing tea. Ready for something bold?: Make your own ginger shots at home with this easy recipe.
Omega-3s have been found to interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes known as cytokines, which are both key players in the body’s inflammatory response.
Places to add to your diet: Spring is the perfect time to add some extra seafood dishes to the mix. Dishes with salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give you the most Omega 3 bang for your buck. Have you tried the insanely delicious Avocado Topped Salmon from pg. 33 of the Repeater guide? Also try adding some extra nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts) to your smoothies for that omega-3 boost!
A diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats may help manage inflammation and help you to feel your best!
**If you have a chronic health condition that involves inflammation you should ask a healthcare professional about the best dietary options available.