“Anti-inflammatory” is a term that you’ve probably heard floating around in the world of nutrition and healthy living. But what is it really all about and why do we need it?
First, what is inflammation? It’s something that results when we’re injured, yes. But the swelling of a sprained ankle, for example, is only one manifestation. Inflammation is also systemic, which means your organs and internal functions are impacted. The food you eat can actually increase or decrease the inflammatory response – and research shows it impacts your likelihood to develop heart disease, obesity, dementia, chronic pain and autoimmune diseases.
Needless to say, the goal is to reduce inflammation as much as possible! The good news is that it’s easy to do it by adding key foods to your diet – and reducing the toxic load from processed, sugary foods. These are the top 5 anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating now:
Turmeric. Easily one of my favourite spices, turmeric is also one of the top anti-inflammatory herbs. With its bright orange colour, it adds vibrancy and a really unique, smoky flavour to any dish: I love it in my Cinnamon and Almond Carrots with Turmeric Tahini Dressing.
Greens. Is there anything greens can’t do? Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and silver beet are packed with antioxidants, which help reduce toxic load and protect us from cellular damage and an inflammatory response. Enjoy them raw when you can (think fresh salads, smoothies and juices) but they’re great when sautéed in coconut oil, too.
Ginger. Crush inflammation with this spicy root – it’s great to add to a post-workout smoothie. It reduces nausea, too, and is amazing as an herbal tea. I love adding ginger to savoury dishes, too! It gives delicous flavour to my Japanese-inspired Salmon.
Fish Oil. Another extremely effective weapon against inflammation, fish oil is high in omega-3s. In large enough amounts, research shows that it reduces the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic illnesses like asthma, depression, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. Be sure you’re getting oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, in your diet.
Garlic. This plant superstar has been revered for its medicinal properties for hundreds of years. It’s thought to benefit over 150 different conditions and has benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory to anti-viral to antioxidant. Chop it up and add it to just about any savoury dish for a boost of flavour and superfood power. My Crispy Herb and Garlic Halloumi on Asparagus and Hummus makes an incredible lunch!