Inflammation is now widely accepted in both natural medicine and scientific circles as the root cause of all kinds of diseases, from various cancers to auto-immune diseases, to what you're concerned with right now: premature aging and saggy skin. So, if we can eat foods that help fight inflammation, we totally should. Here are foods that have been scientifically proven to do just that, and how I eat work them into my week.
I choose organic, frozen blueberries (because traditional berries have high amounts of pesticides) and throw them in my afternoon green smoothie for sweetness. They’ve got super high levels of antioxidants and are potent inflammation fighters and they also work well in pancakes and cake mixes. Raspberries are also great.
Continually cited by doctors as a top inflammation fighter, bone broth should be a staple, especially in winter. Full disclosure: it’s not often that I’ll make it myself, I’ll usually buy it and use it as a base for soup.
This from Mind Body Green: When you're craving something sweet post-dinner, cut an apple into cubes and saute it a skillet with some ghee, cardamom, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla extract until the apples soften and begin to brown. It's like apple pie filling, but it's ready in seconds and is packed with inflammation-fighting ingredients.
Rocket leaves are great to add to salads, or my favourite way to eat them is in a creamy mushroom pasta. The bitterness balances out the rich cream. I do zucchini noodles for extra veg and then the whole dish is healthy besides the cream that you don’t even feel the slightest bit guilty, just full on a super satisfying, comfort food dish.
Perfect as a snack, make sure yours are not roasted or salted. Roasted basically means cooked in vegetable oil which is really bad for you. Buy raw pistachios and snack whenever you want something crunchy. They’re also good to add to salads, and vegie bowls if you toast them first. Just throw in a pan and watch very closely until they start to go golden, then remove immediately.
Baby spinach leaves are great to add to salads, and I love adding them to leftovers the next day to perk up a meal for lunch. So whatever you have for lunch (a curry, a roast, a sandwich, a salad, a soup, a risotto, dahl, basically anything) add fresh baby spinach to it and you’ll get freshness and an excellent dose of goodness. I also use it as a base for veggie bowls and then they also go into my green smoothie. I’m big on spinach.
This is no secret, garlic is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and should be added generously to any meal you can think of. Pasta, soup, stir-fries, whatever you’re making.
Sure, you can go a turmeric latte, but it’s also good to add to roast veggies or a curry or a soup.
Always remember to consume it with black pepper and fat for maximum bioavailability. It is THE anti-inflammatory spice.
Lycopene, the anti-inflammatory compound in tomatoes, actually increases when the fruit is cooked, so pasta with a tomato-based sauce is great, or tomato-based soups, but then I’m also big on using them raw in any salad I make.
This is what they mean when they say chocolate is good for you. They’re not talking about store-bought milk chocolate, but rather cacao, in its purest form. Make bliss balls, brownies and use dates for sweetness to get your hit.
Fresh ginger is perfect in any Asian inspired dish and especially in curries, or steam fish with a little ginger, garlic and lemon and you’ll get three anti-inflammatory fixes in the one meal.
It’s the best way to consume meat and research has shown that grass fed meat has superior antioxidant qualities over grain fed, so when you do eat it make sure it’s grass fed.
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Contrary to popular belief in the wellness world, you can actually cook with high-quality olive oil, and it has some of the best anti-inflammatory properties of any cooking oils. It does have a less neutral flavor than avocado oil (another go-to), but it’s great in pretty much any dish (salads, Italian dishes, dipping sourdough bread in it). Don’t be afraid of it.
Eggs are one of the healthiest foods around—if you choose pastured eggs. and I eat two eggs every morning fried in extra virgin olive oil
I’ll be honest, it’s not one of my favourite foods, but I’ll try and chia to some things to get the benefits from it. I prefer it as chia pudding than in smoothies because it makes a smoothie too thick for me (you might love it!) and it’s also good to add to a banana bread recipe.
Cauliflower though, I am obsessed with. I roast it often with EVOO, salt and pepper and eat it with fish, or I’ll rubs some spices through it - cumin, turmeric, cinnamon - and roast it, then put it in a salad with chopped celery, toasted nuts, lemon and EVOO, salt and pepper as a great main or a side.
I still have not mastered the lemon-in-warm-water of a morning, but lemon is my go-to on steamed vegetables, any fish, and my tried-tested-and-delicious salad dressing is lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper. It works on warm veggies or cold and I add lemon juice to most dishes because I like things zesty. No wonder one of my favourite natural perfumes is SUN-KISSED, with notes of lemon in there!
Pic: @alphafoodie Instagram