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The Ultimate Guide to Anti-Inflammatory Snacks for Better Health

Monday, 7 August 2017

Inflammation is the usually body’s natural immune response to infection, injury, or another internal threat. Symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and heat in the affected area. This kind of acute inflammation helps signal the body to heal the problem. But not all types of inflammation are helpful.

For example, chronic low-grade inflammation, sometimes called “silent inflammation,” is not in response to an injury or illness, and over time, it can damage the arteries, organs, and joints. Several chronic diseases and autoimmune conditions may be related to this kind of chronic inflammation, such as:

diabetes
arthritis
Alzheimer’s disease
some cancers
rheumatoid arthritis
lupus
irritable bowel disease
asthma
While there’s no perfect diet for reducing inflammation, eating more foods that fight inflammation while eating less that are pro-inflammatory can help. The right foods may also help prevent chronic illness related to chronic low-grade inflammation. So the next time you reach for a snack, try adding more of these food groups and suggested snacks. Who said you couldn’t enjoy your afternoon snack without feeling guilty?

Whole grains
fruit and nuts

Whole grains are made up of the intact grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. They provide dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Eating whole grains is associated with lower levels systemic inflammatory markers and can even influence the composition of the gut microbiome — another inflammatory modulator. In short, whole grains have a whole lot of anti-inflammatory goodness in them.

popcorn

Fruits and vegetables
Whole Grain Snacks
brown rice
oats
barley
unbuttered popcorn
Fruits and vegetables are chock-full of nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, which play a key role in fighting inflammation. They do this by downregulating the expression of the pro-inflammatory markers. Research suggests there’s a strong link between eating more fruits and vegetables and having lower levels of inflammatory markers. So, if you didn’t listen to your mom as a kid, you might want to reconsider now and eat your vegetables.

fruit
Image Source: Kaleigh McMordie
Healthy fats
Fruit Snacks
frozen fruit smoothie
fresh blueberries
ripe banana in oatmeal
fresh fruit salad
Unfortunately, fat gets a bad rap. That’s because some fats like saturated and trans fats (the kinds that raise your bad cholesterol) are not only bad for your waistline and heart health, they can also produce an inflammatory response in your body.

On the other hand, healthy, unsaturated fats can actually reduce inflammation. The two kinds of healthy fats you should include in your diet are unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Omega-3s and are most readily available from fish sources, but you can also find them in some great snacks. Try including walnuts, chia seeds, or other nuts into your daily snack routine. The omega-3 fatty acids can help suppress production of pro-inflammatory compounds and help stimulate production of anti-inflammatory compounds.

walnuts
chia seed smoothie
apples and peanut butter
avocado on whole grain toast
Eastern medicine uses several herbs and spices for their healing properties. Recently, Western medicine has also recognized some spices for their potent antioxidant compositions. Several spices, including turmeric, chili peppers, and ginger, have been shown to reduce inflammation. Lucky for you, spices are not only easy to use every day, but they also improve the flavor of your favorite healthy foods!

To help you incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your daily snacks, try one of these easy snack ideas at home.

Popcorn cooked on the stovetop with olive oil and spices
In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
Add a couple kernels of popcorn to the pan.
Once they have popped, add 2 to 3 tbsp. of kernels to the pan and cover. Gently shake the pan while keeping it on the heat source so that the kernels pop evenly.
Once the kernels have mostly stopped popping, remove from heat.
Drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil. For a spicy version, sprinkle with ground chili powder and garlic powder. For a sweet and savory version, use cinnamon and turmeric powder.
Chia seed pudding
Mix 2 tbsp. chia seeds with ½ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk. For increased omega 3s, try flax milk.
Cover and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.
Top with spices, fruit, or nuts of choice and enjoy.
Fruit smoothie with turmeric
In a blender, add ½ frozen banana, ¼ cup frozen mango or other fruit of choice, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground turmeric, and ½ cup almond milk, flax milk, or coconut milk.
Blend or pulse until smooth.

Snacking is often made to feel like a guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Food can be just as curative and healing as it is enjoyable. You just have to pick the right ones to add to your diet. And the good news is, there are endless ways you can mix and match these foods. What are your favorite snacks that include these delicious anti-inflammatory foods?

source: Healthline

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