Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injuries, infections, and illnesses. It occurs when the immune system of the body transports an increased amount of white blood cells to the area fighting off the injury or infection. In other words, inflammation is just your body’s way of trying to prevent any further illness or injury by strengthening the response.
Essentially, the immune system increases blood circulation to the injured area, instigates infection-fighting heat, and sends white blood cells and other chemicals to ward off bacteria and mend damaged cells. When it’s doing that job, inflammation can be a good thing. But long-term harm happens when the body continuously produces low-grade inflammation. Several chronic inflammatory conditions or diseases, such as psoriasis, arthritis, and asthma can overdrive the immune system and attack healthy tissues.
The anti-inflammatory diet isn’t one specific diet. It’s really a scientifically based way of eating that optimizes your health by bringing more nourishment to the body. The basic premise behind the anti-inflammatory style of eating is simple: When you add nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients (plant-based compounds) to your meals, you decrease inflammation.
Breakfast: Gingerbread oatmeal
This oatmeal tastes great and gets you half your daily requirements of omega-3s — and no, we didn’t add any salmon to it.
Lunch: Kale Caesar salad with grilled chicken wrap
Whole roasted chicken, often found in the neighborhood supermarket, is a great time saver for quick meals. Pick up two — one for dinner that evening and another for these tasty lunch wraps. They’re perfect to toss into your lunch bag. If avoiding gluten, choose a gluten-free wrap.
Dinner: Indian Beef and Potato Stew
This stew contains rich turmeric and tomato bone broth, which is high in anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. Cilantro is also an anti-inflammatory powerhouse and has impressive gut-health benefits, as well.
Lunch: Mediterranean tuna salad
Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Serve it on top of mixed greens or spread onto whole grain bread. This recipe is high in sodium, so you can scale it back by choosing low-sodium canned tuna, and by reducing the amount of capers and olives.
Dinner: Slow cooker turkey chili
On a cold winter evening, nothing warms you up like a big bowl of chili. Remember that foods high in salt may aggravate your symptoms by promoting fluid retention. In this recipe, you can reduce the sodium content by using fresh jalapenos and choosing low-sodium canned beans or using beans cooked from dry. Although delicious by itself, you can top it with a little organic nonfat Greek yogurt or some fresh avocado.