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A Fresh Approach to Eating

Anti Inflammatory Foods

The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer, so it’s time to try 10 anti-inflammatory recipes for spring! Many of us are familiar with the foods that can increase inflammation in the body. These include sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans and saturated fats. In addition, many plant foods and healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation.

Health Conditions Related to Inflammation

Not all inflammation that happens in the body is a bad thing. For example, short-term, acute inflammation occurs in the body when you accidentally stub your toe and begin swelling. That is part of the healing process. However, chronic, long-term inflammation in the body provides wear and tear.

Wear and tear are undesirable and can cause changes in the body. Some of the health conditions that have been linked to chronic inflammation include diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions like GI issues, dementia/Alzheimer’s, and even obesity.

There has been some research, anti infammatory recipes for weight loss in some people have some health benefits since inflammation may be a driver for this chronic disease.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes eating foods that fight inflammation is a healthy start to reducing chronic inflammation in the body. One of the things that you can do is minimize the amount of processed foods in your diet.

How Foods Help Reduce Inflammation

Plant-based foods can help reduce inflammation because they contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that help prevent and fight it, including antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. The more vibrant the colors of fruits and vegetables, the better, and including as many colors as possible is essential also.

Healthy plant chemicals like antioxidants help reduce the effects of oxidation that occur in the body during normal metabolism. In this process, waste products called free radicals can harm our bodies over time. Antioxidants help reduce their harmful effects. Plant-based foods have a lot of these antioxidants.

Omega-3 fats found in trout and salmon are also essential. Plant-based omega-3 fats like flax and walnuts may not be enough, so taking an algae supplement in addition is good.

Another example of a super plant chemical in our diet is polyphenol. Polyphenols include resveratrol, ellagic acid, and flavonoids. These are often found in purple foods, but there are others. All with a load of healing properties. You can find out more about the types of polyphenols here:

Beta carotene and allium are two other phytochemicals rich in antioxidants. Beta carotene is found in dark orange and green leafy fruits and vegetables. They help keep the immune system healthy. Examples include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, and arugula.

Allium-rich foods include white foods, onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions. The sulfur compounds in these foods have many preventive qualities, including reducing inflammation and being antioxidants.

Indole glucosinolates are another powerful anti-inflammatory phytochemical that also helps prevent cancer. These powerful plant chemicals are found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Ellagic acid is a phytochemical in purple/red fruits like berries, grapes, pomegranates, and nuts.

Why is getting a wide variety of colors in fruits and vegetables essential?

The more colors of fruits and vegetables are included in our diet, the more beneficial phytochemicals we include. In addition, going beyond our usual choices and trying new and diverse produce options adds even additional nutrition!

Anti Inflammatory Foods to Eat

Here are some plant foods that help fight inflammation:

  • healthy fats like olive oil, nuts like almonds and walnuts, seeds like flax and hemp, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • green leafy vegetables like kale, collards and spinach
  • fruits such as berries, cherries, and citrus
  • Whole grain foods in their natural state include brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

There are several anti-inflammatory meal plans, but the Mediterranean eating style has existed since ancient times and includes a variety of food groups. It is mainly plant-based, focusing on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olives, and fatty fish, but it can also include some animal products. It can be vegetarian or even modified to be vegan.

Years of research have also shown that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for reducing chronic disease. I love Oldways Cultural Food Traditions “Your Guide to the Mediterranean Diet. Make Each Day Mediterranean“.

I envisioned taking concepts of the Mediterranean diet and making it more regional. That is why I created the Appalachian Pyramid and devised ways to localize it. I call this way of eating the Mediterranean Diet Appalachian Style.

You can learn more about the Mediterranean Diet Appalachian Style in the blog post below.

All meal plans to reduce inflammation focus on eating various fruits and vegetables. Let’s discuss some of the produce available in the spring.

Here are some of the fruits and vegetables available in the spring that offer a variety of phytochemicals:

  • Strawberries
  • Asparagus
  • Greens
  • Green Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb

Because we have discussed how fruits and vegetables help reduce inflammation, I’m sharing some delicious anti-inflammatory recipe ideas!

Anti-inflammatory Spring Recipes for Dinner

These anti inflammatory recipes for dinner taste delicious and provide many health benefits! Do a little meal prep ahead to save you time in the kitchen.

  • Black-eyed Pea Bowls’
  • Spring Strawberry Asparagus Salad
  • Pecan Encrusted Trout over Greens
  • Raspberry Habanero Hempeh Tacos
  • Orange Radish and Spinach Salad
  • Purple Cabbage Behl
  • Low Fodmap Vegetable Curry Soup
  • Super Hero Chili
  • Apple Blueberry Tofu Salad
  • Spring Strawberry Asparagus with Trout

My first three recipes, Black-eyed Pea Bowls, Spring Strawberry Asparagus Salad, and Pecan-Encrusted Trout over Greens, can be found on my blog, Mediterranean Appalachian Style.

Black Eyed Pea Grit Bowl Recipe for one of the best anti-inflammatory diets

Change the anti-inflammatory foods to these black-eyed pea bowls using seasonal ingredients. The leafy greens provide lots of beneficial plant chemicals. You can substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato.

Black Eyed Pea Bowls

Spring Strawberry Asparagus Salad Recipe in one of the best anti-inflammatory diets

This strawberry and asparagus salad inspired my latest creation towards the end of the post.

Spring Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Pecan Encrusted Trout Recipe for one of the best anti-inflammatory diets

Trout, along with salmon, provides healthy omega-3 fats that help cool down the inflammation in our body.

Pecan Encrusted Trout

Tacos made with Hempeh topped with cilantro and tomato

I love this local hempeh made by Smiling Hara. Plant-based proteins are often a great anti-inflammatory food.

Raspberry Habanero Tempeh Tacos

If hempeh isn’t available where you live, you can substitute tempeh or order it on the Smiling Hara website.

Salad using greens, oranges and radishes

It doesn’t get any more spring than fresh radishes and greens from the garden or tailgate market. These vibrant colors are full of antioxidant foods.

Orange Radish and Spinach Salad

This salad with radishes, citrus, cabbage, and greens screams spring. “Hello, spring!”

Plant based foods help reduce inflammation

Plant-Based Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

This week, we will continue our Meatless May journey by discussing some of the anti inflammatory benefits of a plant-based diet! I also want to share 7 plant-based recipes that can help reduce the body’s inflammation. Let’s first talk about how plant-based foods help reduce inflammation in our body, Check out this article on Plant-based Anti-inflammatory Benefits


Indian Street Food Behl Salad

This Purple Cabbage Behl is full of colorful anti inflammatory ingredients which feature foods rich in polyphenols.

Purple Cabbage Behl

Feel free to switch up the ingredients to this salad based on what is in season.

Digestive Wellness Curry Soup

This soup contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that are good for the immune system. Butternut squash provides anti-inflammatory benefits. If you have IBS symptoms, learning about the low fodmap diet may help reduce inflammation if you have food sensitivities. Contact me for more info.

Low Fodmap Vegetarian Curry

This soup recipe is pure comfort along with some healing ingredients!

Pantry Staple Chili

I named this vegetarian recipe after the creator, my husband, who is my superhero. Use your chili powder blend and other seasonings if you don’t want to make the chili pulp.

Super Hero Chili

Switching up your vegetables can give this super chili a life of its own, and you can even experiment with dried fruit!

Red Blue and Green Salad

For women’s health, this salad contains healthy nutrients and anti inflammatory fruits and vegetables.

Apple Blueberry Tofu and Kale Salad

In addition to this kale salad recipe, you will find many great tips to keep women healthy!

Salad with Spinach, Trout, Asparagus and Strawberries

After talking with Gina Smith at Edible Asheville Magazine, I was inspired. Her story on healthy fats highlights many in this recipe, like Sunburst Trout, pecans, and local hickory nut oil mixed with olive oil. The recipe also features a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables!

Spring Spinach, Asparagus, Strawberry Salad with Trout

This colorful, seasonal salad is a new spin on a classic. Smoked trout adds protein and healthy fat, making it a complete meal. You can add a little purple with a few rings of red onion. You can mix and match greens depending on what is in the garden and local farmer’s markets. This salad would be delicious with grated local hard cheese or crumbled blue or goat cheese.

Makes four servings.

4 cups of baby spinach or other greens, washed well

Two peeled and chunked sweet potatoes

1/2 large bunch asparagus (cut off the woody end and then cut asparagus spear in half

1 cup stemmed and sliced strawberries

5 ounces Hot Smoked Sunburst Trout, flaked in large chunks

1/4 lightly toasted pecans

Olive oil for roasting

Balsamic Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil (you can also substitute a little Hickory Nut Oil from Acorntopia for the olive oil to give the dressing a smoked flavor)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (try a local one like Highland Gourmet)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, add sweet potatoes and asparagus spears. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. When the oven is at temperature, add the vegetables and roast for about 15 minutes until they get soft and brown.

While the vegetables are roasting, add washed and dried greens to a medium-sized serving bowl and the strawberry slices. While the vegetables are cooling, make the balsamic dressing by adding oil in a cruet, salt, pepper, and balsamic dressing. Please give it a good shake before pouring it over the finished salad.

After removing the roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus and cooling to low heat in the oven, add nuts to a small roasting pan and lightly toast them. After the vegetables have cooled to room temperature, add them to the salad and large flakes of smoked trout. Pour a moderate amount of dressing over the salad and top with pecans. Add grated cheese if desired.

This is an excellent recipe for changing fruits and vegetables based on the seasons. Try cabbage, blueberries, and green beans with the trout in the summer. You could also try peaches and tomatoes. In the fall, try apples and winter squash along with your greens.

Delicious Tastes of Spring Vegetables

Spring superstars of the vegetable kingdom include strawberries, greens, and asparagus. If you are lucky to have some local sweet potatoes from last year’s crop, that is a colorful bonus!

In addition to healthy foods, other habits to reduce inflammation and in keeping your immune system healthy include:

  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderate amounts. Health recommendations suggest one drink daily for women and one to two for men. Try mixing things up with sparkling water or some of these mocktails.
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Reducing stress whenever possible.
  • If you have food intolerances that cause inflammation in the diet, work with a registered dietitian to determine what these foods are and how to plan healthy meals without them or safely add them back when ready.

Make Some Anti inflammatory Recipes for Dinner

To summarize, make some delicious anti inflammatory recipes for dinner. I hope this information about the protective role of plants for your body from inflammation is helpful. In addition, I also am excited for you to try these spring recipe ideas! They are delicious and provide a lot of nutrients that your body needs. Lastly, if you want to learn more about healthy fats and what local products are available in Western North Carolina, check out the Spring edition of Edible Asheville. It features my latest recipe and the finished product in my kitchen.

I am excited to share ways to help you include more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. These colorful foods will help improve our health and make our plates more beautiful and tasty. As an Asheville Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, I help my clients improve their health through food and find things they enjoy eating. You can learn more about what I do here.

In addition, you may be interested in additional information about inflammation and eating for a healthier immune system.

Strawberries and Rhubarb Farmers Market

Get the jewels of spring full of color and healthy phytochemicals.

Highland Gourmet | Asheville Goods

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