(Editor’s Note: Mandy Faulkner is a registered holistic nutritionist who graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. In this column, Mandy shares her advice inflammation and the nutritious food that is filled with anti-inflammatory antioxidants. She shares a quick and easy recipe for quinoa. When Mandy is not busy with her career as a nutritionist, she and her husband own and manage Daniel Stittsville’s Market on the Barn.)
Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines.
It’s a fact.
Scientists measure the level of inflammation in our bodies and find that it can be quite damaging to our health. This is especially true if it is chronic (i.e. lasts a long time).
Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, to name a few.
But instead of writing everything about what it is, how it is measured and where it comes from; Why not focus on some foods with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce them?
Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:
Anti-inflammatory food # 1: berries, grapes, and cherries
Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favorite of yours?
Berries, grapes and cherries are full of fiber and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention your phytochemicals (phyto = plant)? Yes, these small and tasty fruits contain many antioxidants such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol”.
In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries can be the best food sources for these amazingly healthy compounds.
Anti-inflammatory food # 2: broccoli and peppers
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane”. This anti-inflammatory compound has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Paprika, on the other hand, is one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.
Just make sure that you prefer red peppers over the other colors. Bell peppers of a different color are not fully ripe and do not have the same anti-inflammatory effects.
I put these two super healthy vegetables together in this week’s recipe (see below).
Anti-Inflammatory Food # 3: Healthy Fats (Avocado, Olive Oil, Oily Fish)
Fat can be terribly flammable (hello: “trans” fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats) or anti-inflammatory (hello: “omega-3 fatty acids”), which is why choosing the right fats is so important to your health.
The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3 fatty acids. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel) and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.
Anti-inflammatory food # 4: green tea
Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound “epigallocatechin-3-gallate,” also known as EGCG.
EGCG has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Drinking green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It is believed to contain even more antioxidants than regular green tea.
Anti-Inflammatory Food # 5 – Turmeric
Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?
Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.
This compound has been shown to relieve the pain of arthritis and to have cancer and diabetic properties.
I added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch to help fight this inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Food # 6: Dark Chocolate
Ok ok This * can * be a little more decadent than my number 1 on berries, grapes, and cherries.
Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavanols”). These reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They have even been shown to prevent “neuro-inflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuroinflammation can help with long-term memory and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars”. You already know these won’t be anti-inflammatory!
There are so many incredibly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods that you can choose from. They range from colorful berries, vegetables and spices to healthy fats and cocoa.
You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet in order to get your daily dose of “anti-inflammatory”.
Anti-inflammatory quinoa – (serves 2)
¾ cup of dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper, chopped
1 splash of salt
½ tbsp turmeric
1 dash of black pepper
2 cups broccoli, chopped
- Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (approx. 10-15 minutes).
- Melt coconut oil in a pan. Add onion cubes, turmeric, pepper and salt and fry lightly for a few minutes.
- Add broccoli and sauté gently for 5-6 minutes until soft.
- Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.
- Serve & enjoy!
- Tip: add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.
SUPPORT LOCAL STITTSVILLE