When it comes to what you should and shouldn't be eating, there's a lot of mixed information floating around the internet. With countless diets and fads popping up, authentic health-food ingredients can get lost in the mix. That being said, there's no argument that choosing a diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains over processed foods is excellent for you. Besides providing your body with an abundance of necessary nutrients, one of the primary benefits of these foods is that they can help reduce overall inflammation.
Inflammation is your body's way of protecting itself from outside irritants like bacteria, splinters, chemicals and even pollutants. When hurt, a small amount of inflammation can be beneficial, allowing your body to repair itself. However, what's concerning is when inflammation gets out of control. Chronic inflammation resulting from a poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and improper exercise habits may put you at risk for illness, injury and annoying digestive symptoms. Keeping this inflammation under control will keep your body running at top-notch, promote healing and may even help fight off disease.
Continue reading as we walk you through some of the best foods that fight inflammation and how you can alter your diet to include more digestion-friendly meals.
Foods That Fight Inflammation
Foods that fight inflammation are those which include a mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Each of these nutrients works alongside your body's digestive system to provide you with energy, promote healthy cell growth and absorb essential vitamins. Keep scrolling to discover ten recommendations for the best foods that fight inflammation.
Whole Grain Starches
At Bob's Red Mill, we love whole grains, and not just because they taste great but because of how great they are for you. Whole grains boast several health benefits. One of the most recognizable is that they're loaded with good-for-you fiber. Fiber plays an essential role in reducing the body's overall inflammation levels and keeping your digestive system working as it should. If you're a fan of whole grains and wonder which you should choose to include as a part of an anti-inflammatory diet, there's no wrong choice! Oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain wheat bread, barley, buckwheat, bulgur and millet are all exceptional options.
Recipe to Try: Breakfast Bulgur and Millet Grain Bowl
Skip the oats for breakfast and make this bowl of millet and bulgur instead. Paired with kale, mushroom, eggs and garlic, it's the ideal way to start your morning off on a savory note.
Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Want to decrease inflammation? Start by increasing the amount of whole colorful foods you put on the plate. Consuming a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will provide you with rich vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants—all of which help keep inflammation levels to a minimum. Upgrade your diet and include every color of the rainbow in your next dinner dish.
Recipe to Try: Roasted Rainbow Vegetable Buckwheat Grain Bowl
Indulge in this gorgeous multicolored grain bowl that features a bed of nutty buckwheat topped with Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, red onion, beets, rainbow chard and fresh avocado.
Fish is a quality source of protein abundant in additional nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, probiotics and unsaturated fat. Eating fish like salmon, mackerel, mahi-mahi and sardines deliver healthy omega-3 fatty acids to your digestive system, which may help prevent inflammation and help rid your body of harmful toxins.
Recipe to Try: Coconut Crusted Mahi-Mahi
Organic coconut flour, shredded coconut and garlic bring out your favorite southeastern Asian flavors in this light dinner recipe.
Nuts & Seeds
Not feeling fish? No problem, Eating a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, ground flaxseed, walnuts, almonds or pistachios is an excellent way to get plant-based omega-3 fats. Believed to neutralize inflammation, choose your favorite nut or seed (or mix them up) and add them to your favorite recipes.
Recipe to Try: Fruit and Nut Granola Bars
Made with gluten free oats, cereal, dried fruits, nuts and honey, these granola bars are a treat that both children and adults can enjoy.
Meet your weekly superfood requirement and begin adding more garlic to your recipes. Garlic is a quick and easy way to boost the flavor and nutrient content of any savory dish. High in the anti-inflammatory compound diallyl disulfide, garlic may limit the effects of pro-inflammatory antagonists. By doing so, it helps fight off chronic inflammation while easing current symptoms at the same time. When using garlic, remember a little goes a long way. Cooking with two to four cloves of garlic daily is enough to boost your recipes' health benefits while keeping the flavor consistent.
This recipe is ideal for mornings when you're craving something savory, healthy and filling at the same time.
Turmeric is a delicious spice often found in curry powder that is jam-packed with anti-inflammatory benefits. If you're seeking to fight inflammation, it's time to add turmeric to your spice rack. By trying recipes that use turmeric, you'll quickly learn how to use this super spice to flavor delicious dishes. Work turmeric into a savory dinner recipe, or add it to a smoothie for a mid-day boost.
Recipe to Try: Orange Pineapple Protein Smoothie with Tumeric Powder
Great for a quick breakfast, snack or post-workout treat, turmeric powder adds a unique and subtle that's loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Much like nuts, avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which play a crucial role in maintaining low inflammation levels. Avocados are also high in fiber, a nutrient known to aid in anti-inflammatory efforts while keeping your gut microbiome happy and healthy. All of this combined makes this fruit one of the best foods to include in your meals when focusing on anti-inflammatory eating. Add fresh avocado on top of your favorite salad recipes, turn it into a delicious plant-based chocolate mousse, or include it in your next whole-grain sandwich. The possibilities are endless!
Recipe to Try: Avocado Cashew Dip
The perfect avocado-based dip. Use it as a healthy substitute for traditional sauces, party dip, sandwich spread and cream.
When it comes to being rich in antioxidants, cherries take the prize. The notable amount of antioxidants found in cherries works to decrease oxidative stress and, as a result, lower inflammation levels. The best part is, you don't have to eat a ton of cherries every day to reap the benefits of this superfood. Effortlessly soak up cherries' immune system properties by incorporating a handful of them into your smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal. Additionally, cherries can be enjoyed on their own as a naturally sweet snack.
Recipe to Try: Cherry Date Nut Bars
Snack time just got easier! Make this healthy treat at the beginning of the week and pack it with you to go.
Much like cherries, beets contain a significant amount of antioxidants that help your body fight inflammation. Whether you choose to add raw beets to your juicer or cook them and use them in a weeknight meal, they'll surely provide you with an abundance of helpful nutrients. Having trouble getting the little ones to enjoy the taste of beets? Try working them into a sweet smoothie recipe. The fruit used in the recipe will cover up the flavor of beets, but the nutrients will remain the same.
Recipe to Try: Creamy Chilled Beet Smoothie
Retire the sweet smoothie for a day, and make this savory option featuring a combination of beets and avocado. It's a superfood dish you won't be able to get enough of!
Dark Leafy Greens
Up your nutrition game by adding more leafy greens to your diet. Greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are loaded with nutrients that soothe inflammation levels. Work a variety of greens into your daily meals to ensure that you get a serving of this superfood daily. Doing so will help add more diversity to your diet while offering a range of health benefits.
Recipe to Try: Colcannon
This Colcannon recipe features buttery mashed potatoes mixed with dark leafy greens, sauteed onions and garlic. It's an Irish comfort food classic!
If you're new to an anti-inflammatory diet, use this list as a guide when purchasing foods that fight inflammation. The next time you are at the grocery store, carefully consider the foods you choose to fuel your body with. A proper diet full of the 10 foods listed above will help keep inflammation under control so that you can feel your best every day. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, have a healthy day!
Know of an anti-inflammatory food that we didn't mention? We'd love to hear more about it. Let us know the foods you use to fight off inflammation in the comments below.