We have put together a list of foods that will provide anti-inflammatory benefits during the festive season.
What more can we say about broccoli? It’s awesome! One of the top Superfoods around there’s really nothing this vegetable can’t do. It has great amounts of fiber in it, a respectable amount of protein, and is a Vitamin C powerhouse. It’s easy to prepare, can be bought fresh or frozen, and is used in plenty of recipes both as a side dish and incorporated into the main dish. Buy organic whenever possible.
Brussels sprouts might have been that veggie left on your plate when you were a kid, but now it’s finally time to eat them. They’re not only anti-inflammatory but they help to keep your digestive system moving with a healthy amount of fiber, as well as a good amount of plant-based protein. If you’re stuck on how to make Brussels sprouts more palatable, there are hundreds of tasty recipes available, just Google it. The important thing is to eat them with other foods found on our list for the best anti-inflammatory meal possible.
Opt for red cabbage when you can so that you can benefit from the anthocyanins it contains. These have been shown to provide a substantial anti-inflammatory benefit, but you shouldn’t overlook other types of cabbage, as they are all cruciferous and will all give an anti-inflammatory boost to any meal. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to prepare cabbage is in soup form. This is because it helps to soften it up and makes it easy to chew and digest. It would be very easy to make an anti-inflammatory soup that you could make in bulk and then have for lunch each day, using as many vegetables and whole grains on this page as possible.
Carrots get a lot of respect from health food circles, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The beta carotene levels are impressive, and it also ranks highly in Vitamin A. One of the most popular ways to get more carrots is by drinking carrot juice. This is because it can be rather monotonous to chew up a carrot, and it’s hard to chew it up enough to release all of the nutrients. By blending it up and drinking the juice you’re unlocking all of that goodness. Add a carrot to your next smoothie for an anti-inflammatory upgrade.
Cauliflower often gets paired with broccoli, both on the plate and during nutritional comparisons. They’re both cruciferous vegetables and their nutritional profile is quite similar. But the taste and texture is much different if you stop and appreciate each for what it is. Cauliflower contains the elusive Vitamin K, and a heaping dose of Vitamin C, powerful antioxidants that alone make it worth eating. But it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of cauliflower that are perhaps just as impressive, so it deserves a spot on your regular menu.
Chicken (and other white meats)
Chicken is not the most anti-inflammatory food you can eat, but it’s added here because many will not be able to cut meat out of their diet entirely, so this is a good compromise over eating red meat and other inflammatory meats. You’ll want to choose chicken that contains the least amount of antibiotics and other additives, so choose organic chicken whenever possible. This means that the chickens were fed with organic feed and there were no added chemicals. Opt for lean cuts like chicken breast, and limit this as much as you can.
While you’ll want to go easy on it, you are still able to have dark chocolate as a sweet treat that is also somewhat anti-inflammatory. You’ll want to avoid its milk chocolate cousin, as this actually falls on the inflammatory side of the equation. Milk chocolate is generally mixed with hefty amounts of processed sugar and doesn’t contain the same antioxidants and other properties that make dark chocolate OK. Again, you’ll want to keep portion sizes in check, and only use this as a way to satisfy your cravings.
Salmon (and other fish)
Salmon is one of the best types of fish to eat if you are trying to help with an inflammatory disease or condition. That’s because it has copious amounts of omega-3s in it, and these have been verified over and over again as having a strong anti-inflammatory effect. The consumption of salmon and other fish that are high in omega-3s like anchovies and sardines can help combat the over-consumption of foods with omega-6 in them. An improper balance of omega-6s to omega-3s can actually lead to inflammation and is what is helped by eating more omega-3 foods.
Shrimp (and other shellfish)
You can enjoy shrimp and oysters as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, as long as you don’t have an allergy of course. Shrimp themselves are rich in astaxanthin, which is what is responsible for their anti-inflammatory properties. Additional shellfish choices include oysters and scallops which have been said to be slightly anti-inflammatory. Just be sure to keep your portion of these meats to a minimum and focus more on filling your plate with vegetables found on this page, as these types of shellfish are known to be high in cholesterol, so get just enough to help meet your protein needs.
White potatoes don’t make our list of anti-inflammatory foods, instead you’ll want to opt for sweet potatoes instead. You’ll also want to avoid sweet potato fries because the act of deep frying them in oil negates their anti-inflammatory nature. Stick to baked or boiled sweet potatoes. You can sometimes find a baked sweet potato out to eat at restaurants that offer them as an alternative to a baked potato. Making mashed sweet potatoes instead of ordinary mashed potatoes is easy enough.
While not as anti-inflammatory as some of the other foods listed here, turkey serves as a suitable substitute for red meat and other high-fat proteins. Stick with lean cuts like turkey breast, and opt for organic varieties whenever you can. Many of the cold cuts you’ll find in the deli department are not organic, and are filled with additives, nitrates, and extra sodium. If you can find organic roasted turkey breast that would be best, but again, it’s going to be a better alternative than eating beef in terms of anti-inflammatory effect.