Easy (and cheap) Foods that Reduce Inflammation

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis

Anti-inflammatory is a bit of a buzz word that we hear about all the time but what does it mean and why does it matter?

Inflammation is what we see and feel when we slam a hammer into our thumb or wrench a barefoot toe into a barstool leg. The injury gets red, hot and often swollen. All signs that indicate increased blood flow to your injury as your body begins to heal itself.

Inflammation happens for lots of reasons. Some of the biggest sources of inflammation come from eating heavily processed foods, things that come in crinkly wrappers made with ingredients we can’t spell or pronounce and especially when we eat things that are handed to us from a window.

Of course, we all are looking for ways to stop or slow the damage that leads to the disease process (think heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and ageing). Anti-inflammatory foods are ideal as they give the body the nutrients it needs to operate it’s best.

 Here are 3 examples of easy to purchase and eat anti-inflammatory foods:

#1 Cinnamon – yes, this Thanksgiving favorite is excellent all year long at fighting inflammation. The compounds responsible for that mouthwatering smell and flavor are also responsible for it’s ability to fight inflammation and lower your risk of disease. Cinnamon may increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar too.

REAL LIFE = add it to coffee (it makes coffee taste sweeter without adding sugar), overnight oats or regular oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, pumpkin muffins or sprinkled on top of baked sweet potatoes or other squash.  Love it all year round and its power will be gladly utilized by your body!

#2 Spinach – greens, greens, greens – this green superfood is a superfood for so many reasons. It’s mild tasting so it’s easy to add to a lot of things and not notice, all supermarkets carry it and its power is real fresh or frozen. Spinach is packed with folate, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and fiber and it only adds 7 calories per cup.

REAL LIFE = make it the base of your smoothies each morning.  Having a sandwich or a wrap? Use spinach as your lettuce. Every lunch or dinner start with a handful of spinach on your plate then add whatever else you are enjoying. That handful we just talked about can also go into a sauté pan of scrambled eggs or be the base to your bowl of soup before you ladle it in. It’s an effortless way to boost this superfoods presence in you daily meals. 

#3 Green Tea – did you know that after water, tea is the world’s most commonly consumed beverage? The compounds in green tea are rich in polyphenols; natural antioxidants that prevent cellular damage. Green tea may even help with weight loss. The caffeine plus the catechins (antioxidants) may help boost the body’s metabolism. It is also a natural diuretic so if you have trouble retaining water, it may help.

REAL LIFE = use green tea in place of sugar sweetened beverages, it will make a measurable impact with its powerful nutrients in your body, not to mention offset a ton of calories and add a boost of natural caffeine. Add lemon and fresh ginger to your tea as it steeps for more flavor and even more anti-inflammatory compounds.

Cinnamon, spinach and green tea. Easy to find, delicious to enjoy and pack a huge punch as you improve your wellness!