Okay anti-inflammatory foods are like totally in right now and while yes it is super trendy to be drinking turmeric lattes it's actually also super beneficial to your health. It is becoming increasingly more and more clear that the main cause of so many of the most common diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) is inflammation so it only makes sense that fighting inflammation through nutrition is becoming more and more common.
I for one am all for this trend, power to all of you turmeric latte drinking people!
SO WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
To get all technical, inflammation by definition is "a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection". Basically it is the body’s healing response, when we experience injury or infection the body acts by bringing more nourishment and more immune activity to the area by sending an increase in blood flow and white blood cells.
Inflammation is a completely healthy response to promote healing in a healthy body, it's in an unhealthy or damaged body that inflammation can become a serious problem. When the immune system overreacts to perceived threats it starts to attack the healthy body tissues (inflammation) which can lead to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders like Lupus, Leaky Gut, Celiac and Arthritis. Lot's of different factors such as; stress, lack of exercise, genes, exposure to toxins (secondhand smoke, chemical fumes, additives in food, etc.) and diet all contribute to chronic inflammation.
FIGHTING INFLAMMATION WITH NUTRITION
The first step in fighting inflammation is removing all of the inflammatory foods from your diet, that means saying goodbye to processed foods, fast foods, processed sugar, salt, inflammatory fats such as canola oil, peanut oil, all processed trans fats and red meat for the most part as well. So go throw your lays potato chips in the garbage and ditch your weekly (nightly??) burger runs (I know it's hard but you'll get through it) and let's get to calming your body the hell down..
The next step is to start eating food that is as close to it's natural state as possible - this means fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh wild fish, pasture raised poultry and eggs and lots of nuts, seeds and legumes.
Including foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids is going to be your next plan of action, this means fatty old water fish like salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, flax oil, cod liver oil, etc. The Omega 3 fatty acids, more specially EPA and DHA are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, they have been used (and have been successful) in treating patients with arthritis, crohns disease, colitis, diabetes and even cancer. So up your healthy fat intake now and thank me in 30 years when you still look and feel like you're in your 20-30's!
Next you want to step your antioxidant game up, antioxidants protect your cells from the effects of free radicals and can help reduce inflammation in the body. When you're trying to figure out exactly how to include as many antioxidant rich foods as possible just think plants and colour - the more colour that you include on your plate at one time as well as in your diet in the form of whole plant foods is the best way to ensure that you're getting a full spectrum of antioxidants!
TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
- LEAFY GREENS - rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
- BEETS - contain the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature color and is anti-inflammatory, beets help by repairing cells and have high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
- PINEAPPLE - contains the enzyme bromelain which is powerful anti inflammatory and has shown reduction is heart attack and stroke risk.
- BOK CHOY - contains over 70 different antioxidant substances.
- CELERY - has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as prevent heart disease.
- BROCCOLI - is high in flavonoids and carotenoids and is high in potassium and magnesium, both of which fight inflammation.
- BLUEBERRIES - contain quercetin which is one of the most powerful antioxidants, it fights inflammation and cancer.
- SALMON - good source of Omega 3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties and lower the risk of chronic disease.
- COCONUT OIL - contain high levels of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce inflammation, specifically in arthritis.
- WALNUTS - protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- CHIA SEEDS - contain high levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which should be consumed in balance to reduce inflammation. They also regulate cholesterol, lower blood pressure and prevent against cardiovascular disease.
- FLAX SEEDS - good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, phytonutrients and lignin's which help fight aging, hormonal imbalances and cardiovascular disease.
- TURMERIC - contains curcumin which is an active anti-inflammatory property that is more powerful than over the counter medication, it has been used for centuries and was used traditionally in Ayurveda
- GINGER - ginger has the ability to break down toxins in the organs and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it was also used traditionally in Ayurveda.
MY FAVOURITE ANTI-INFLAMATORY RECIPE
Okay all jokes aside the whole turmeric latte craze is actually a really good one because it makes anti inflammatory foods accessible to tons of people and its actually very easy to make and super tasty. It reduces inflammation, is good for your skin, protects against Alzheimers disease, reduces muscle soreness, it's anti-bacterial and anti-fugal so it fights infection, helps to manage depression, reduces cholesterol and balances blood sugar. Plus it's super calming if you sip on one before bed - do I need to go on?
MY GO TO TURMERIC LATTE
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk - any plant based milk will work
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tsp fresh turmeric root - can sub 1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fresh ginger root - can sub 0.5 tsp ground ginger
pinch of black pepper - believe me when I say a pinch, a little goes a long way but this is 100% NECESSARY when consuming turmeric as it activates the anti-inflammatory properties!!
0.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp raw honey
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut butter
1. Bring water, nut milk and all spices to a simmer in a small sauce pan - do not boil!
2. Simmer on low for 2-4 minutes, then transfer to a blender and add all remaining ingredients.
3. Blend on high for 60 seconds, pour into a mug and get your anti-inflamm on.
With all of the processed foods, chemical exposure, alcohol consumption and stresses in today's society is causing lot of us to suffer from chronic inflammation without even knowing it. Making small changes to your diet is one of the biggest things that you can do to help yourself and your body feel better and function properly.
Food is fuel my loves.. acknowledge that, recpet that and honour that, always!
xo - LU