Redness, swelling, heat, pain…they may not be fun but they are vital reactions to a healthy inflammatory response.
Ongoing stress, fatigue, pain, suffering and disease on the other hand, are not healthy. They signify chronic inflammation and symptoms of a distressed system.
Unfortunately, they seem to be prominent components of the average American lifestyle…I know, I was once struggling with all of those debilitating issues.
As a Fitness and Nutrition Therapist I knew that I had powerful tools to fight chronic inflammation. I began to explore the healing power of food, which led to the development of my creative and delicious anti-inflammatory recipes! I have a great one for you below. But first…
Here are 5 of the Best Foods to Fight Inflammation:
Cherries: (Along with any other red, purple or blue fruit) The presence of phytonutrients called anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, can help relieve pain by neutralizing free radicals that contribute to inflammation and also by blocking the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation. Cherries are great for aiding recovery from oxidative stress associated with exercise.
Spices/Herbs: Adding fresh or dried herbs and spices to meals is a delicious and nutrient dense way to boost flavor without adding any calories. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins the powerhouse spices and herbs that fight inflammation include Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme. Studies show that even at normal doses the positive effects of herbs and spices can be seen in quieting the inflammatory response.
Kale: (Along with other dark leafy greens) Contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and Vitamin C—all of which protect against cellular damage. These nutrient dense plants should be a staple in every diet. They are versatile, nutrient dense, hydrating, and low in calories—it’s a win-win for fighting inflammation and staying lean.
Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms, in particular, are among the best sources for immune support, cardiovascular health, and fighting chronic inflammation. Shiitake mushrooms have an adaptogenic effect on the body—meaning they increase or decrease a system’s function to achieve homeostasis (balance). For example, shiitake mushrooms will calm an overactive immune response or conversely, will boost an immune response if it is dampened. Polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms have a wide array of immune-related effects, including aiding recovery from exercise stress, reducing exposure to inflammation-producing toxins, and can help lower total cholesterol levels.
Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon: Animal-based omega-3 fatty acids—found in wild Alaskan salmon, trout, and sardines—are more efficiently absorbed and utilized since they do not have to be converted into a usable form like plant based fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduce inflammation and oxidative stress by suppressing the enzymes that cause inflammation.
Try adding in more anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet. Here’s one of my favorite recipes to help you get started:
Anti-Inflammatory Power Salad makes: 1 serving
- 1-2 cups Kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced (option to sauté with 1 tsp. coconut oil)
- ½ cup Red Cherries, pitted and halved (or other dark berry)
- 1-2 T. Ginger Thyme Vinaigrette (dress to taste)
- 4-6 oz. Wild Alaskan Salmon, season with sea salt, black pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400° for 10-20 minutes depending on size and thickness of filet.
Assemble first 4 ingredients allowing kale, mushrooms, and cherries to “marinate” in dressing for 10-20 minutes. Top salad with Roasted Salmon.
Ginger Thyme Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
Place dressing ingredients in blender and purée for 1 minute.
Healing starts on the inside. Begin today to fuel your body with foods that promote healing, energy, and vitality! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or difficult.
It just needs to be a simple commitment you make every day to take care of your body and mind. Develop the habit, something you can’t imagine not doing, of eating foods that support your health and happiness.