One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from diseases and premature aging is in the kitchen. Stocking your pantry and fridge with anti-inflammatory foods, will help you create delicious meals and snacks daily that you know are helping protect your body from the damages of inflammation. Here are a few of our favourite inflammation-fighting foods to make sure you always have on hand:
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
A drizzle of EVOO makes everything better. It’s a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, phytosterols and vitamins that help protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Drizzle it on avocado toast, make your salad dressings with it and definitely use it to make extra creamy hummus.
We LOVE leafy greens. They’re seriously one of the most nourishing nutrient -dense foods out there. In terms of anti-inflammatory properties, leafy greens are full of folate, phytochemical and antioxidants that have very strong anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Reach for whatever’s in season or available to you, whether that be spinach, arugula, romaine, red leaf, green leaf, radicchio, kale, swiss chard, watercress or dandelion greens. Try using them in a salads and nourish bowls, wilt them in a pasta dish or add them to smoothies and dips.
TURMERIC & GINGER
Two of our favourite spices, that also happen to be absolute powerhouses when it comes to fighting inflammation. They’re both super potent anti-inflammatories as well as antioxidants, anti-virals, anti-bacterials and anti-fungals. They’re immune boosting antioxidants that are amazing for soothing digestion and also work very well at reducing inflammation in our bodies. Sip them in a tea or smoothie, use them to make curries, and definitely try adding them to your baking recipes!
Is there anything better than fresh berries in the summer? Didn’t think so. And as if you needed another reason to eat them, berries are loaded with antioxidants and anthocyanins to help your body fight off inflammation caused by free radical damage. This makes them incredibly good for your heart, brain, digestion, and for fighting cancer. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries…they’ll all do the trick. Snacking on them fresh is the best, but you can also add them to smoothie, oatmeal, pancakes, pies or crumbles!
NUTS & SEEDS
Think Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and proteins to give you slow-burning fuel and help keep blood sugar balanced. As far as anti-inflammatory properties go, walnuts are definitely our go-to because there’s research to back that they can be used to fight inflammation. Sprinkle them on everything…seriously.
The gut is essentially connected to everything, including disease prevention…which means that supporting our guts will help our bodies fight inflammation that could lead to long-term diseases. Rich in probiotics that nourish our microbiomes, foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, kombucha and sourdough will give your gut a dose of the good bacteria it needs.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.
photo by @unknown