Here are 5 anti inflammatory foods to help you stay healthy this fall season.
The immune system’s response to injury and infection, inflammation is the redness, swelling, and pain that signals the production of healing hormones and nutrients, and then sends them through the blood to the affected area. When inflammation works right, it attacks the virus, harmful bacteria, or damaged cells.
When it works wrong, the body perceives an internal threat that is not there. White blood cells swarm, but have nowhere to go, and attack healthy cells and tissue. This can cause problems in almost every organ in the body, particularly the joints (arthritis), the skin (psoriasis), the stomach (irritable bowel syndrome), the lungs (asthma) the brain (anxiety & depression), the heart (heart disease) and the immune system itself (lupus, cancer).
Several inflammatory conditions are known to worsen in the winter. Cold, dry air causes airways to tighten, making breathing even more difficult for individuals who suffer from asthma. With storms, comes low barometric pressure, which causes tissues in the body to expand, putting more pressure on the nerves of individuals who suffer from arthritis. Less exposure to sunlight ultraviolet rays, which hinder rapid skin growth, causes flare ups in individuals who suffer from psoriasis. And the list goes on. Whether you experience acute or chronic inflammation or not, creating an environment free from the culprits of winter inflammation will serve your physical and mental health.
As a nutrition company, we spend a lot of time talking to people about their health, mostly about the challenges of trying to maintain a healthy diet. Many of the chronic inflammatory conditions originate from an unhealthy diet, and that’s where we can help, with plant-based solutions that naturally reduce inflammation and mobility limitations. And when we say diet, we don’t mean the latest fad, shake, or restrictive plan – we mean the food you consume on a daily basis. If eaten daily, anti-inflammatory foods will counter some of the symptoms of your inflammatory conditions, and contribute to your long-term health; through the power of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, and B, C, and D vitamins.
And when we say diet, we don’t mean the latest fad, shake, or restrictive plan – we mean the food you consume on a daily basis. If eaten daily, anti-inflammatory foods will counter some of the symptoms of your inflammatory conditions, and contribute to your long-term health; through the power of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, and B, C, and D vitamins.
In short, the anti-inflammatory diet includes nutrient-dense plant foods and avoids processed foods and meats. Ingredients to be wary of on nutrition facts labels include partially hydrogenated oils, palm oil, soybean oil, corn syrup, and “unbleached wheat flour.” You are likely already eating anti inflammatory foods, but to maximize their benefits, you will have to reduce your consumption of inflammatory foods. Below, we have highlighted some fall and winter foods that you can easily substitute into your favorite holiday recipes, without compromising taste and, perhaps, that will open up a whole new flavor palette for you.
Beets are one in a family of bright roots that share the mouthfeel of potatoes but are higher in vitamins and in natural sweetness, which makes them extremely helpful for diabetics and anyone striving to have more control around sugar. Try mixing them into a sweet potato mash, grating them onto your salad, or on their own, with mint and yogurt.
Don’t have the time to scrub, slice, and roast your beets? We understand. And it’s one of the reasons that we developed Beet Boost.
It has the same nutritional value of fresh-pressed juice, but can be prepared in seconds, dissolving cleanly and quickly into water, smoothies, and even pancake batter!
You’ve heard it once, and we’ll say it again — Eat. More. Kale. Dark greens earn their superhero status from their overabundant vitamin K content (Remember it by the mnemonic “K” for kale), which helps build and strengthen bones, combating the wear and tear on the joints found in individuals who suffer from arthritis. Since this is a fat soluble vitamin, pair kale with healthy fats, such as an avocado, olive, or coconut oil dressing; for full absorption. Another inflammatory condition that kale can help fight is anxiety and depression, which ramps up during the fall and winter due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Individuals who suffer from SAD have been found to have quite low folate levels. Kale contains 15% of the RDI for folate, which is a particularly difficult vitamin to find in large amounts. Other high folate foods that you might pair it with are legumes and citrus fruits.
If you are following both an anti-inflammatory and plant-based diet beans are essential. The primary concern that prevents people from choosing a plant-based diet is protein deficiency. On their own, beans do not constitute a “complete” protein, but do when paired with complex carbohydrates, which happen to be anti-inflammatory themselves. Continue reading for more information about complex carbohydrates in the next section.
Another reason beans and complex carbohydrate make a great team is that they are both fiber-full. Fiber feeds beneficial vs inflammatory gut bacteria; keeps you feeling fuller longer, so that you don’t turn to processed snack foods, which tend to contain unhealthy fats, added sugars, and simple sugars.
The most nutrient dense beans are fava beans, navy beans, and mung beans. Among those that are easy to find at most grocery stores, choose Great Northern beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
Like kale, farro has been trending in recent years. Because it contains more fiber (28% DV) than other popular grains like rice or even quinoa, farro might have even more positive benefits when it comes to digestion and cardiovascular health, in addition to the benefits of beans described above. The primary reason that complex carbs are part of the anti-inflammatory diet is to steer you away from refined carbohydrates (flour, sugar and white rice), which are devoid of fiber and very easy to over consume.
An ancient grain of Egypt, Americans are out of their depth when it comes to cooking farro. Like most grains the basic cooking instructions are to combine farro and water in a 1:2 ratio, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. The difference? To break down the bran, farro must first be soaked overnight. To make the transition from simple to complex carbs smoother, start by switching to whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and brown and wild rice.
It’s that time of year again — with the onset of winter, Koreans collectively roll up their sleeves to engage in a timeless ritual called gimjang, the practice of making large quantities of kimchi, their spicy, pickled national dish. The humble mayonnaises and vinaigrettes just can’t compete with this tangy, spicy condiment. Not to mention that it’s vegan and fat free.
Long before the invention of modern refrigeration, fresh produce was hard to come by in winter, so people developed methods of fermentation (pickling) that allowed fall crops, such as cabbages and carrots, to last until the following spring.
Fermented foods contain anti inflammatory probiotics, which help balance the friendly bacteria in the digestive system, help prevent diarrhea (IBS), improve some mental health conditions (depression and anxiety), and may reduce the severity of some skin conditions (psoriasis).
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