If you regularly experience joint pain, digestive issues, breakouts, or even headaches, inflammation caused by your diet may be to blame. Inflammation is a health problem that is often misunderstood. Your body uses inflammation to aid in the healing process after an injury, an infection, stress or due to the presence of toxic chemicals. It helps your body heal by activating proteins that protect your cells and tissues and increasing bloodflow to the affected area.
When inflammation becomes chronic, however, it is no longer a benefit. Chronic inflammation may be the root cause the symptoms you are feeling and can often be managed simply by adjusting what you eat. Without treatment, this chronic inflammation can evolve from discomfort into serious health conditions like depression, heart disease, arthritis, COPD or even cancer. Here are some changes you can make to your diet to identify your food intolerances and solve the gut issues that are making you feel bad.
Certain foods are known to cause inflammation and they should be balanced with anti-inflammatory foods or removed entirely. Gluten, trans fats, MSG and sugar are often the cause of inflammation. Fortunately, there are tons of anti-inflammatory foods that taste great and will help you start feeling better. Here are some of our favorites ways to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet.
- Smoothies are an easy way to integrate fruits and veggies that fight inflammation -- and they taste great! Look for recipes that include kale, blueberries or strawberries. We have several different smoothie kits on our menu, and if you are looking to combat inflammation, we recommend trying our Caribbean Kale Smoothie that combines superfoods kale and blueberries.
- Nuts are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. We suggest eating almonds or walnuts as a snack or adding them to any meal for some crunch. For example, we added walnuts to our Butternut Squash Pasta. When you are shopping for nuts, always look for unsalted to keep your daily recommended sodium intake in check.
- Fatty fish like salmon or cod are staple proteins in this diet. They are rich with omega-3 fats, which are very effective at fighting inflammation and contribute to heart health.
- Oils with healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil should be used in cooking for their omega-3 fats. You can also choose to use expeller-pressed canola oil if you need an oil with a higher smoke point.
- Avocados are one of our favorite superfoods, so it comes as no surprise that they are on this list for their high content of healthy fat. Avocado toast makes a delicious snack or breakfast, or consider trying one of our meals with avocado like our Vegetable Tamale Stack.
- Fruits & vegetables across the color spectrum aid in reducing inflammation. Everything from leafy greens to broccoli to berries are good additions to your diet.
- Herbs & spices can be used without limitation in an anti-inflammatory diet. Look for ways to use spices like curry, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon because they are natural anti-inflammatory agents. We look to these spices in our recipes for flavor like our Curry Vegetable Soup and our Charred Broccoli Salad.
- Dark Chocolate is listed last because you should only eat is sparingly, but it can help with inflammation in moderation. Think about putting some in your snack mix or eating a square as dessert. Choose a bar with at least 70% pure cocoa like this Classic Dark Chocolate Bar from Videri to get the full benefits of polyphenols and antioxidants.
Switching to an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Our menu is full of prepared meal kits made with anti-inflammatory ingredients as well as recipes that are gluten-free and low sugar. Learn more about how meal delivery with Terra’s Kitchen can help you eat healthier and feel better.
Topics: The Food Dr.