These anti-inflammatory recipes are incredibly delicious and will satisfy your senses, while nourishing your body and boosting your health. Learn more about anti-inflammatory foods, shopping and cooking tips.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the vital process through which the body respond's to illnesses, infections and injuries. The immune system is mobilized to protect the body from further illness or injury. So it is part of healing and is actually a good thing.
However, the problem is when the inflammation becomes chronic as is associated with certain diseases - heart disease, arthritis, asthma, stroke, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders such as - lupus, and possibly depression etc.
Anti-inflammatory Dietary Approach
One of the best and natural ways to prevent and reduce chronic inflammation is to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes anti-inflammatory recipes and foods. This dietary approach encourages eating certain foods and avoiding and/or limiting specific foods.
The recommended foods are similar to those found in a typical Mediterranean diet but also in certain other ethnic dietary patterns. Basically the emphasis is on eating more whole grains, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and moderation with red meats.
In addition to that is limiting or avoiding foods that promote inflammation. Such as processed foods and meat, trans fats, foods that cause allergies, refined foods, flours and sugar.
Eating for Your Health can be Tasty and Easy
It is actually not that complicated. Just stock up on the anti-inflammatory foods and get into the habit of cooking from scratch. Getting so busy in life only to feel sick all the time is not worthwhile.
Aim to eat healthy most of the time. Besides, the anti-inflammatory foods are not boring at all. They are actually among the tastiest foods on this planet. Hint - herbs and spices!
When you nourish your body with berries, greens, nuts, seeds, fish and such, it makes you robust enough to enjoy your occasional food indulgences. As opposed to a body that becomes sick being on a diet of processed and ready made foods and no nourishing foods.
Best Anti-inflammatory Recipes
If you look around the blog, you will find recipes that are so full of nourishing ingredients. These anti inflammatory recipes are so delicious but healthy too. Here I share with you some of my picks.
1. HUMMUS - Is loaded with plant protein, dietary fiber that helps with growth of healthy gut bacteria and production of short chain fatty acids, healthy fats and an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. It is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free, so is suitable for those with allergies and intolerances.
2. TABOULI - Is packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. It has the antioxidant and flavonoid rich parsley, the fiber in bulgur wheat, the polyphenols of olive oil, the lycopene in tomatoes and plenty of phytochemicals. All of these nutrients together can be cancer protective, immune boosting and promote good health.
3. BARLEY PORRIDGE WITH BLUEBERRIES - The antioxidant rich blueberries and walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants and known for anti-inflammatory potential.
4. CREAMY LEEK AVOCADO SOUP - Avocados contain the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health and they are a good source of omega-3 fats. Leeks are a good source of heart healthy flavonoids and antioxidant polyphenols.
5. DATE AVOCADO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES - Dates are a rich source of phytochemicals such as phenolics, carotenoids, flavonoids and procyanidins: compounds that are known for several health promoting benefits. Avocados are a delicious source of phytochemicals and other nutrients.
6. MANGO CHIA SMOOTHIE BOWL - Mangoes are rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin C. The beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A) is known to be protective against cancer. They are a good source of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant credited with lowering the risk of age related macular degeneration. Chia seeds are super nutritious and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
7. HOMEMADE TEA BLEND - The best thing is that you will not need to use added sugar, as the dried fruits will release their sweetness. White tea is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant properties. Perhaps more antioxidant potential than even green tea!
8. MULBERRY MARZIPAN CANDY - There is a version here that uses only dried fruit (dates, apricots), almonds, flavors and spices. A sweet treat with no refined sugar.
9. ADVIEH (SPICE MIX) - Apart from enhancing the taste of recipes, spices come with a lot of health benefits. They are often rich sources of antioxidants, polyphenols and other phytonutrients that have health promoting properties.
10. PAN SEARED FISH WITH TAMARIND SAUCE - Use cold water fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Sardines, Mackerel etc. that are great sources of long chain omega 3 fatty acids.
11. NOODLE SOUP WITH BEANS AND HERBS - The amazing nutrition potential of this soup lies in the variety of beans, herbs, spices and stock used to prepare it. And it is loaded with goodness from a variety of plant foods - anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants.
12. PERSIAN ZUCCHINI FRITTATA - Zucchini is low in calories and carbohydrates. And high in free radical fighting nutrients such as vitamin C and manganese. Then it is good for eye health as it is a good source of the carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin.
13. MEDITERRANEAN RED LENTIL SOUP - Studies have shown that red lentils have maximum concentration of phenolic compounds and with strongest antioxidant activity compared to other varieties of lentils. And quinoa is a good source of antioxidants.
14. SPICED LENTIL SALAD WITH AVOCADO - Lentils being a plant food, are a source of phytochemicals and considered to be beneficial in lowering the risk of obesity and heart disease.
15. SPICY CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH FARRO - Cauliflower is a pretty nutrient dense vegetable - low in calories and a good source of antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, folate and potassium. Farro is an excellent source of fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and iron.
Anti-inflammatory Food Shopping and Cooking Tips
Try to incorporate these tips into your shopping routine to cook your favorite anti inflammatory recipes.
Grains: Choose whole grain as much as possible. Buy fresh bakery bread without all those preservatives. If you do buy packaged grain products check the labels to make sure it has natural ingredients. And that it has a high amount of dietary fiber. For flour, I look for 3 to 4 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup.
Beans and Lentils: Stock up on dried beans and lentils. Limit canned products if possible, and buy low sodium. You can also freeze boiled beans to have them handy for later.
Ready Prepared and Packaged foods: Check the labels to make sure it includes only natural whole foods, and avoid products with artificial ingredients, sweeteners, preservatives etc.
Produce: Stock up on a variety of fresh vegetables, greens, herbs and fruits. Choose organic when possible. Stock up on frozen vegetable options. Fresh herbs prep in bulk for use later - clean, rinse, put through a salad spinner, chop and freeze in large quantities.
Dairy: Choose organic and grass fed when feasible. Products should include wholesome ingredients and not a bunch of additives.
Meat, Fish and Seafood: Choose grass fed and organic meats if possible and certainly limit red meat. Buy more wild caught fish, especially the omega-3 rich fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring and such).
Oils, Nuts and Seeds: Stock up on raw and dry roasted (less salt or none) nuts/seeds to snack and cook with. Buy high quality extra virgin, virgin, organic, cold pressed oils, using more olive oil.
Choose more of these foods: berries, cherries, avocados, olives, dark greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower etc), beans, lentils, white tea, green tea, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, herbs, spices, dark chocolate.
Avoid or limit these foods: refined sugar, sugar drinks, sodas, processed meats, refined flour products, foods with trans fats, processed foods and snacks.
GMO, Wheat, Allergies, Intolerances
I also avoid foods that are labeled GMO. There is a debate about it, but I personally avoid it. Although there are several foods that are generally considered anti-inflammatory, there are some gray areas.
Nuts are considered healthy, but then there are people who have nut allergies. Wheat is a highly debated topic, with so many people avoiding gluten, but then there are people who have no issues with it.
As you read in the blog post above, inflammation is the body's response to protect itself. So if someone is intolerant or allergic to a certain food, whether it is wheat, gluten, dairy, nightshade family vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and such), they should avoid or limit it as required. Always tailor diet to your own personal situation, consulting with a healthcare professional. And choose your best anti inflammatory recipes.
For more healthy eating tips check out this.
Some Recipe Picks from the Web
- Salmon and Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- White Bean and Chicken Chilli
- Baked Fish with Pecan Rosemary
- Kale Pineapple Smoothie
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