“Inflammation” is the new buzzword, and for an important reason – it’s often a good indicator to us that something is going on we need to attend to. For example, inflammation can happen as a result of injury.
Additionally, if it’s happening on the inside of our bodies, it may feel like bloating – and it can cause heart disease, diabetes and other issues. So how can we prevent or reverse this inflammation? Food is our best bet.
As people who are trying to be healthy, we need to stop thinking of food as the enemy. Food can be our best friend if we choose the right kinds, the right amounts and use it in a way that is nice to our bodies. Here are 3 tips to reduce inflammation in your diet and the diseases it may cause!
- Eat a diet chock full of fruits and vegetables.
Aim to fill half your plate at each meal with these nutrient-dense items, about 5-7 servings per day. One serving is 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked. As I tell my clients, non-starchy vegetables are “free” – eat as many as you’d like! These are great for snacking or for the stress-relieving crunch we all desire. Make sure you eat the rainbow, meaning you chose many different colors each day. The different colors of produce give them different nutrients and antioxidant properties. Also, a variety of foods in our diet can improve the health of our gut, leading to great health overall.
How-To: I turn vegetables into comfort food by spiralizing them into noodles, blending them into smoothies or pancakes, dipping them in a homemade yogurt dip, or making fried rice with cauliflower “rice”. I also enjoy fruit as a dessert by sprinkling cinnamon on it and baking it.
- Season your food with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices!
Flavor is key to keeping healthy eating interesting, so why not flavor your foods AND add healthy properties? Use the following herbs and spices to get the best anti-inflammatory benefits: ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. You can also practice mindful eating by focusing on the different flavors while you eat!
How-To: I love to add rosemary and thyme to chicken breasts, ginger to my morning tea, and cinnamon to just about everything!
- Drink water, lots of it.
Water helps flush out your system throughout the day, it helps you stay full, and it has zero calories! Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces (i.e. 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces water). For more tips on how to stay hydrated, check out this post!
How-To: I like to add lemon to my water, but you can also choose lime, cucumbers, mint, or even ice. Please don’t add sweeteners – natural or artificial – as these will cause you to crave more sweets later.
Which of these tips have you tried?! Which are your favorite? Let us know in the comments or share on social using the tag #trainingforlife!
Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.