To understand why an anti-inflammatory diet is important, it’s first essential to understand what inflammation has to do with the function of our bodies. Inflammation has more recently emerged in the medical community as a key factor in serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, and a variety of infectious diseases. While it is always imperative that you consult your physician with any concerns about disease, having a fundamental understanding of how an anti-inflammatory diet contributes to your health can make a difference in choosing what you eat throughout the day.
Inflammation is the Body’s Natural Way of Defending Itself
When inflammation happens, chemicals from your body’s white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection. Sometimes these injuries are closer to the surface or even external, resulting in visible bruising and swelling. Other times a person might experience chronic inflammation and continues to send inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger. An example of this would be rheumatoid arthritis, where inflammatory cells and substances attack joint tissues. While your diet alone cannot or may not cure symptoms and/or diseases such as this, there are foods that will fight inflammation.
Most of us know what some of the most inflammatory foods are: foods such as refined carbohydrates, including white bread and pastries, fried foods, and soda. They’re generally the foods that most readily cause us to gain rather than maintain or lose weight. As mentioned above, inflammation and obesity go hand in hand. This doesn’t mean you need to be relegated to a tasteless or boring diet. However, having an expanded list of anti-inflammatory foods helps with taste and variety and will go a long way toward creating a sustainable nutrition program that will reduce inflammation and promote health.
Here are some delicious anti-inflammatory foods:
- Fatty fish
- Green tea
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- Dark chocolate and cocoa
Begin Your Day with an Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast
Start your day by fueling your body with foods that reduce inflammation rather than promote it. Rather than occasionally counteracting an inflammatory diet with anti-inflammatory foods, it’s more important to consider consistency. If you love sweets or fried foods, plan to enjoy them rarely while more often making choices that reduce inflammation.
1. High Protein Shake or Smoothie
Protein shakes or smoothies are great for on the go! Remember that many fruits are higher in sugar; even though they’re not refined sugars, there are still some optimal types of berries rather than fruits that you can add to make a low-carb, low-sugar shake or smoothie that is anti-inflammatory. For example:
- Combine a serving of high-quality, low or no-sugar protein powder into one cup of unsweetened almond milk
- For a variation of your protein shake, add anti-inflammatory berries like blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries.
Adding a low carbohydrate protein powder will help keep you full and satisfied for longer periods of time and help reduce cravings, which creates the benefit of helping you control your food choices.
2. Spinach and Egg Scramble
Eggs, especially egg whites, pack double the punch when it comes to nutritional positives. The protein in eggs is filling and helps keep you fuller for longer. A spinach and egg scramble can also include tomatoes and onions, along with other herbs and spices for a flavorful and filling anti-inflammatory breakfast.
3. Avocado Toast
Avocados contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that helps lower inflammation. Your choice of bread will be important because commercially-produced white bread is high on the Glycemic Index, meaning it IS an inflammatory food. However, wholemeal bread or bread made with stone ground flour are better choices. Sourdough wheat bread is an excellent option!
4. Oatmeal with Walnuts
While oatmeal is a higher carbohydrate food, oat and its compounds have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Because oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, your body will take longer to break it down, equating to longer-lasting energy, and feeling fuller for longer. Both things are important to an anti-inflammatory diet. Adding nuts is an excellent source of additional fiber, protein, and other vitamins. The following nuts also contain high amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and Omega-3 fats, which all have anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Meal Replacement Shake with Organic Superfoods
If you’re pressed for time or need the simplest way to create an anti-inflammatory breakfast routine, consider a meal replacement shake that includes a blend of other organic superfoods like Omega-3, prebiotics, probiotics, super greens, and other vitamins & minerals. This helps remove all the guesswork and eliminates the need for meal prep and cooking on those days you just don’t have time.
Top 3 Meal Replacement Shakes with Organic Superfoods: