What Is The Anti-inflammatory Diet?
The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan rich in foods that reduce inflammation, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, as well as healthy fats like olive oil. A balanced anti-inflammatory meal should also include plenty of fresh herbs and spices, which are known for their anti-inflammatory compounds.
Let's start with proteins. Salmon is a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Other oily fish such as mackerel and sardines are also wonderfully healthy for similar reasons. Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts are loaded with health-giving compounds, including magnesium, beta-carotene and omega-3. Quality red meat in moderate amounts is also fine on an anti-inflammatory diet, provided it’s grass-fed and organic.
Vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are all packed with anti-inflammatory properties. These dark leafy greens are especially high in natural plant polyphenols, which can directly influence the gut microbiome and immune system to modulate inflammation in the body. In fact, any brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, raspberries, grapes, papaya, apples, carrots, capsicum and beetroot all have potent polyphenol compounds such as anthocyanins, resveratrol, catechins and flavonoids. All of these plant compounds have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, skin-protecting and anti-inflammatory effects on human health.
Let's not forget about spices. Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. This yellow spice has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Ginger is another anti-inflammatory spice that can help reduce pain and nausea and boost immunity. Cinnamon is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, supporting insulin sensitivity and helping digestive function. Other healthy, anti-inflammatory herbs and spices include thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, clove, fennel seeds and galangal.
Healthy, natural fats
Healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that have been shown to reduce inflammation. MUFAs help the body produce anti-inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins, which can help reduce swelling and pain associated with chronic conditions like arthritis. Avocados contain inflammation-fighting fatty acids as well and are rich in vitamins and minerals that can promote good health overall. Finally, natural animal fats are also very good for you as well. Lard, tallow, butter and ghee have protective saturated fats and can help enhance brain health and nerve function.
What are the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet?
Much like a clean-eating diet, an anti-inflammatory diet is believed to help reduce inflammation in the body, which may relieve symptoms of some chronic conditions. Inflammatory issues like digestive problems, chronic pain, arthritis, autoimmunity, asthma and allergies can all be ameliorated by including more anti-inflammatory foods in the diet. As a result, many people report improved digestion, better sleep, clearer thinking and more energy.
Many foods contain compounds that fight inflammation and promote overall health. Here's a list of some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:
- Olive Oil
Eating a balanced diet rich in these healing foods can have powerful effects on your overall health and well-being. So if you want to reduce inflammation and enjoy tasty, nourishing meals, try incorporating some of these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet today.
Anti-inflammatory Diet Recipes
There is a lot of overlap between an anti-inflammatory diet and the Mediterranean diet or traditional diets from Asia and India. Using fresh, local produce, meat and seafood, nuts, seeds, olive oil, ghee and spices are the foundations for any healthy diet with anti-inflammatory properties.
Let's take a look at some breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, as well as a delicious anti-inflammatory dessert recipe that hits the spot and is good for you as well.
Buckwheat Crepes with Toasted Coconut, Coconut Yogurt and Fresh Strawberries
- 1 cup of buckwheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 and 1/4 cups of milk
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter, plus more for cooking
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes or toasted coconut
- 1 cup of coconut yoghurt
- 2 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, eggs, milk, and melted butter, until the batter is smooth. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat a non-stick crepe pan or large frypan over medium heat. Brush the pan with melted butter.
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the centre of the pan or skillet and quickly swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Cook the crepe for about 2-3 minutes or until the top surface is dry and the edges start to curl. Flip the crepe with a spatula and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the crepe is lightly browned.
- Repeat the process until the batter is finished, brushing the pan with butter between each crepe.
- While the crepes are cooking, toast the coconut flakes in a dry pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To assemble the crepes, fold each crepe into quarters and add a dollop of coconut yoghurt, a few slices of strawberries, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes on top.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.
Chickpea and Coconut Cauliflower Curry with Ginger & Turmeric
- 1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets
- 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
- Cooked rice or naan bread
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
- Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and coriander spices to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 5-7 minutes or until slightly softened.
- Add the chickpeas and coconut milk to the pan, stirring well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat to low and letting it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in the chopped coriander and serve with cooked jasmine rice or garlic naan bread.
Classic Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing
- 1 head of lettuce, chopped
- 1 large cucumber, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, sliced cucumber, chopped tomatoes, and sliced onion.
- Add the crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives, and mix well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve your delicious Greek salad chilled and enjoy.
Coconut Panna Cotta with Toasted Macadamias and Blackberry Compote
For the panna cotta:
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 packet of plain gelatin powder
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup of macadamias, toasted and chopped
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 2 tablespoons of white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
For the panna cotta:
- Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, and sprinkle the gelatin powder on top. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add the sugar and heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a light simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins or glasses and let it cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator.
- Chill the panna cotta in the refrigerator for 4 hours, or until set.
For the topping:
- In a small saucepan, combine the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the blackberries have broken down and the mixture has thickened.
- Remove from the heat and let the compote cool to room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator. Chill until ready to use.
Serving the dish:
- To serve, remove the panna cotta from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
- Spoon some of the blackberry compote on top of the panna cotta.
- Sprinkle some of the toasted and chopped macadamias on top of the compote.
- Serve and enjoy.
Ginger and Miso Salmon with Wild Rice
- 4 salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons of white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons of raw honey
- 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 lime
- 2 cups of wild rice
- 4 cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 190°C.
- Rinse the wild rice until the water runs clear and transfer the rice and water into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low, and let it simmer for 35-45 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and tender.
- Once the wild rice is done, remove it from the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes before fluffing it with a fork. Squeeze the juice from one lime on top of the rice and mix it well.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together the miso paste, honey, grated ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce over low heat, until the miso paste has fully dissolved into the sauce.
- Place the salmon fillets on a baking tray lined with baking paper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the miso ginger sauce over the salmon, making sure that it is fully coated.
- Bake the salmon fillets for 12-15 minutes or until cooked.
- Divide the wild rice onto four plates and place a salmon fillet on top of each bed of rice.
- Garnish with lime wedges and serve hot.