Making Anti-Inflammatory Food Choices
Part of the Anti-Inflammation Diet For Dummies Cheat Sheet
After you discover the link between inflammation and chronic illness — and the important role food has in fighting them both — you need an idea of what foods will help you treat and even prevent inflammation. Here are some ideas to guide your food choices for different meals:
Breakfasts: Turn to natural ingredients in homemade smoothies, such as berries, honey, and Greek or non-dairy yogurt. Some egg dishes, particularly those made with organic eggs, can help lower inflammation as well. Want toast? Try something gluten- and wheat-free, like rice breads.
Snacks and appetizers: The easiest natural snack is a handful of fruit or fresh veggies. Grab a good crispy apple or a handful of snow peas and you've done your body proud. Want to make it a little snappier? Throw together an avocado dip, stuff an oversized portobello mushroom with kale and other heart-healthy ingredients, or grab a handful of dates. Fruits and nuts are great on-the-go snacks and are filled with vitamins and nutrients, as well as the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in most nuts.
Soups and salads: Sometimes there's nothing better than a good cup of soup or a nice salad, but it's easy to get fooled by those that may not be as healthy as they appear. Good soups for fighting inflammation include vegetable soup with a butternut squash base or miso soup with gluten-free noodles. Many people have inflammatory reactions to tomatoes and other nightshade fruits and vegetables, so it's a good idea to stay away from tomato-based soups with potatoes and bell peppers. For salads, steer toward the darker greens and fresh organic toppers, dressed with just a sprinkling of vinegar or olive oil.
Main dishes: Some good anti-inflammatory options for main dishes include most kinds of fish, which is full of omega-3 fatty acids. If you're looking for a bit of protein in your main dish, turn to chicken or even tofu. Try to avoid red meat if possible, but use grass-fed meat if you must go that route.
Desserts: Think "desserts" and the word "sweet" is likely the first to pop into mind — and just because you're trying to fight inflammation doesn't mean you have to fight your sweet tooth, too. Try some chopped fruit and melted dark chocolate to get the vitamins in the fruit and the rich antioxidants in dark chocolate. Need something creamy? Try adding some vanilla extract or honey to a Greek or non-dairy yogurt or, if dairy isn't a problem for you, add it to a little bit of light ricotta cheese.