Since I’ve been fighting a virus, my thoughts turned to foods that can worsen or help illnesses lately. Last week I talked about foods that tend to cause inflammation in the body (read about it here) and why you might want to avoid them when you’re under the weather.
This week I want to talk about the foods that actually help fight inflammation and can really help support you when you’re sick. This isn’t at all a definitive list — it is the Friday, 5, after all!
I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share the foods I consider to be healing foods — and if you have whatever’s been going around, you might want to be including them in your diet, too.
Berries are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, and potassium. They can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. And yes, they can help fight inflammation in your body.
Frozen are just as good as fresh, which is good, because I’ve been trying to eat a little more seasonally this year (although I still eat bananas and apples year round — I just love them, so sue me!).
Top your yogurt, your oatmeal, or just eat them with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Throw them in your smoothies. Dip them in some chocolate.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are high in vitamin e and antioxidants. They’re also a source of calcium (good for the vegheads!), and vitamins a and c.
A few to consider adding to your diet:
- Swiss Chard
- Brussel Sprouts
Chia seeds are a complete plant protein (again, great for vegetarians and vegans). They actually have more omega 3s, by weight, than salmon. They’re full of fiber. They help keep blood sugar levels, well, level. They contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight inflammation.
One of the ways I get chia into my diet is to throw them into smoothies and overnight oats. Oh, and did I mention that they help keep you full? But be careful not to consume them unless they’ve been soaked and allowed to gel (see this post here and here). Although I have baked them without soaking them and for me, it’s been fine.
Now interestingly, doing some research for this post, there seems to be a lot of disagreement of whether or not anything other than red meat can be a complete protein. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find that post again, but basically it seemed to say chia is not chock full of omega 3s and not a complete protein — not being a nutritionist, I can’t really tell you which is the reality. I haven’t found chia to be a problem for me, but in general, I like everything in moderation and variety.
Don’t like salmon? Other fatty fish, like sardines, tuna, herring, mackerel, and trout are also good sources for Omega 3s (I prefer wild caught to farmed).
Flaxseed and walnuts as well as those green leafy veggies are also good sources, although it’s far easier for your body to utilize the Omega 3s from fish.
Garlic has so many benefits. Did you know the ancient Greeks fed it their Olympic athletes? The things you can learn online! The British used it in WWI to prevent sepsis of wounds. It can help reduce joint swelling and inflammation.
I personally happen to love garlic. When a recipe calls for it, I will often double the amount. Chopping it and letting it sit about 10 minutes will also make its health benefits stronger.
Obviously, this is a very short list of anti inflammatory foods. Just google it and you’ll find tons more. As active people we tend to build up some inflammation in our bodies, so knowing which foods to incorporate into our diets to fight it is a good thing. Luckily, many of them are pretty yummy, too!
Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:
Do you ever even think about inflammation?
What are your favorite anit inflammatory foods?
Chia seeds — love em or leave em?