Everyone’s talking about inflammation these days. And for good reason! Sometimes, inflammation in your body has healthful benefits, as it is a natural response to an injury that promotes healing in your body! But what about when inflammation isn’t such a good thing? If you’re like us, I’m sure you’ve wondered whether incorporating anti-inflammatory recipes into your diet really works — and if it does, what should you eat?
We all know that inflammation can pop up in the body in less beneficial, or downright painful, ways. Whether it’s twisting your ankle on a run or slipping during a hike, accidents can happen (and inflammation is quick to follow). Especially when you’re adventuring! But sometimes, inflammation is related to a chronic illness, such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease or other medical conditions. Other times, your chronic inflammation has less to do with illness, and more to do with stress. In either case, your body isn’t meant to be inflamed. So, when it is, your health suffers. And it’s important for you to find ways to reduce inflammation.
Of course, many medications (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen) can reduce inflammation. But taking medication for an extended time period can cause other issues in your body. Instead, many of us prefer to look for anti-inflammatory recipes and diets that yield the same healthful benefits, without causing additional problems.
If you’re on the market for some delicious and (most importantly) nutritious recipes, you’ve come to the right place! Dig in with us as we look into the benefits of adding anti-inflammatory recipes into your cooking routine!
What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
First and foremost, an anti-inflammatory diet is healthy and balanced. That’s because one great way to reduce inflammation in your body is to lose weight—after all, obesity is also linked to chronic inflammation.
Now, within the world of healthy foods, some are better than others at fighting inflammation. So, you should choose more foods that fight inflammation, and reduce those that give it strength (we’ll cover specific food choices and anti-inflammatory recipes very soon.)
We can’t say that one specific diet is guaranteed to fight inflammation, but doctors agree that following a Mediterranean diet is optimal. What does that mean, exactly? Loading up on non-starchy fruits and veggies such as broccoli, mushrooms, melons, and berries. Other non-starch based vegetables include Radish, carrots, leafy veggies, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, spring onions, celery, asparagus, tomato, and pepper.
Optimal fruit choices include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and pears.
Of course, you can’t just live on fruits and veggies. Other foods to add to your anti-inflammatory diet include legumes such as beans and lentils. We also suggest eating nuts and seeds, fish, whole grains, and some yogurt and cheese. (Those last two should only be in moderation.) Additionally, you might be interested in these connections, sighted by Harvard Health, between CBD and reduced inflammation.)
Once you’ve added in the good stuff, what foods should you leave out of your meal plans? Well, the ones that create inflammation in your body! These include fatty animal proteins, fried foods, and processed or packaged foods.
How Does a Mediterranean Diet Fight Inflammation?
This is the story. You soak up plants’ healthful benefits when you eat their natural nutrients. Substances like polyphenols, carotenoids, and flavonoids, (all three are naturally occurring plant phytochemicals) prevent inflammation. Plus, fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, which keep your body running the way it should. This, in turn, helps protect you from inflammation in the body.
Then, we have to look at what you aren’t eating. If you limit refined carbohydrates and sugar, you avoid spikes in your blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia.) This is very important for reducing inflammation. Why? Well, when your blood sugar rises, your body releases cytokines—your body’s inflammatory molecules. And that obviously doesn’t help chronic inflammation. When you choose low glycemic foods, however, like fiber, fruits, and vegetables, your blood sugar levels stabilize. And your body’s inflammatory response isn’t triggered.
The same is true about the fats you include and avoid. When you eat animal fats, especially saturated and trans fats, you trigger your natural inflammatory response. But when you go for Mediterranean diet favorites like nuts, fish and olive oil, their monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats reduce inflammation in your body.
Finally, you should explore the health benefits of fermented foods, like yogurt and sauerkraut. These are packed with probiotics—those helpful bacteria we love to love. And probiotics have been linked to improved digestion, better mental health and even reduced inflammation within your body.
By now, you’ve got a good handle on the staples of an anti-inflammatory diet. And you know why these foods are so beneficial. Now, try this tasty, anti-inflammatory recipe.
Easy Anti-Inflammatory Dinner Recipe
Ready to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet? We’re here to help. Check out this simple, delicious Sheet Pan Salmon recipe, courtesy of The View from Great Island. Then head to our online CBD store and browse CBD oils, tinctures, and water-soluble drink concentrate to include in your anti-inflammatory diet! (Pro Tip: if you’re unsure where to begin, the Tanasi Rookie Pack is the perfect go-to for CBD beginners!)
- a large whole salmon filet mine
- 2 small lemons, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted assorted olives
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- a few marinated sweet or hot peppers
- 2 tsp capers
- 1/4 red onion, thinly-sliced, rings separated
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- fresh herbs to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place your fish on top of it. Tuck the thin tail end under to make a thicker layer so the fish will cook evenly.
- Arrange the lemon slices on and around the fish, along with the olives, tomatoes, peppers, capers, and onions. Drizzle olive oil over all, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with chunks of butter, if using.
- Cook for 20-30 minutes. Fish that easily flakes is done. The exact cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your fish, and if your fish is especially thick, or heavier, it will take longer.
- Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.
Happy cooking and good health to all of you! Don’t forget to tag us (@tanasi_botanicals) in all your anti-inflammatory recipe successes.