4 Anti-inflammatory Foods Everyone Should Be Eating
by Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN
Last Updated: July 13, 2020
If you’re feeling a little stressed lately you aren’t alone. Inflammation in our bodies can occur for many reasons including stress, travel, medical conditions or illness. And while we may not be able to control external factors (like the global COVID-19 pandemic), we can make intentional food choices that will help our bodies combat inflammation. Here are our top 4 anti-inflammatory food choices below:
- Walnuts are the only nut that is high in Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), a type of Omega 3, making it a great choice for fighting inflammation. In addition, walnuts have also been studied for their beneficial impact on cognitive function, diabetes, heart health, cancer, weight, gut health and reproductive health. The standard serving size is 12-14 halves, 1/4 cup, or 1 ounce. Pro Tip: Store your walnuts in the fridge or freezer to preserve their nutrition profile preventing rancidity. Looking for creative ways to incorporate walnuts in your routine? Check out https://walnuts.org for unique ideas.
- Avocados have taken their role in America as an official superfood and for a good reason. You’ve likely heard that they are high in healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), but they also provide fiber and potassium! The best part (in our opinion) is that they are available year-round making them a convenient addition into any seasonal recipe. The standard serving size is 1oz or 1/3 medium avocado. Pro Tip: Peel, cut, cube, and store avocados in the freezer to toss into smoothies for a creamy, green addition. https://avocadosfrommexico.com.
- Blueberries are one of the few food options that are naturally blue in color and this characteristic is truly what makes them so special. The blue/purple color is provided by anthocyanins, which is a powerful phytonutrient responsible for much of the anti-inflammatory properties within this fruit. The standard serving size of blueberries is ¾ cup. They are also high in Vitamin C and manganese. Blueberries have been researched for many benefits including preventing aging, maintaining bone health, brain function, insulin resistance, eye health and managing obesity. Pro Tip: Blend blueberries with olive oil and vinegar for a refreshing homemade dressing. For more recipes with blueberries, check out https://www.blueberrycouncil.org.
- Tomatoes show up in many different recipes and for a good reason. Not only are they high in vitamins B and C, but they also contain the powerful antioxidant known as Lycopene. This is the phytonutrient responsible for the red color in this vegetable and its anti-inflammatory effects. The standard serving size of raw tomatoes is about 1 cup and tomato sauce is 1/2 cup. Tomatoes have been most often researched for working to prevent cancer. Pro Tip: Lycopene is more easily absorbed in canned tomatoes due to the heating process – so stock up on some no salt added tomatoes the next time you’re shopping. https://ctga.org.
Anti-inflammatory food choices are a great example of food functioning as medicine. The best tip to remember is to include a variety of colors into your diet every single day to achieve optimal health.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.