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​What you need to know about an anti-inflammatory diet (plus, 3 recipes to try!)

Posted by Mia Murphy on

What you need to know about an anti-inflammatory diet (plus, 3 recipes to try!)

Chronic joint and muscle pain can significantly affect your quality of life. You might experience inflammation and discomfort due to an active lifestyle or an injury, or perhaps you suffer from arthritis – an umbrella term for more than 100 conditions that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

While anti-inflammatory medications and creams can temporarily relieve the pain, they’re masking it rather than healing it and they can contain a range of harsh chemicals. By following an anti-inflammatory diet, you can reduce inflammation naturally from within, and even strengthen your bones and immune system in the process.

Foods that fight inflammation

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the 12 best foods to fight inflammation are:

  • Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring)
  • Soybeans (tofu or edamame)
  • Healthy oils (extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and safflower oil)
  • Cherries
  • Low-fat dairy products (milk, yoghurt and cheese)
  • Broccoli
  • Green tea
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit and lime)
  • Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals)
  • Beans (red, kidney and pinto)
  • Garlic
  • Nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds)
  • You may also want to supplement your diet with emu oil capsules. Emu oil contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that can target swelling and pain at the source.

    Foods to avoid

    The Arthritis Foundation also recommends cutting back on these foods because they can trigger inflammation:

  • Sugar (desserts, chocolate bars, soft drinks and fruit juices)
  • Saturated fats (pizza, cheese, red meat and full-fat dairy products)
  • Trans fats (fast food, processed foods, donuts and biscuits)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids in large amounts (sunflower oil, vegetable oil, mayonnaise and salad dressings)
  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice and many cereals)
  • MSG (prepared Asian foods, soy sauce and prepared soups)
  • Gluten (wheat, barley and rye) and casein (dairy products) for people who are sensitive to them
  • Aspartame (diet soft drinks and chewing gum)
  • Alcohol

  • 3 anti-inflammatory recipes to try

    Keen to reduce inflammation and pain in your body? Make a start with these recipes.

    1. Breakfast - Easy scrambled eggs

    Serves 2

    4 eggs

    2 tbsp milk

    salt and pepper, to taste

    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese

    1 slice wholemeal bread, to serve

    Beat the eggs with the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook egg mixture in olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring gently. Just before the eggs are done, stir in the low-fat cottage cheese. Serve over wholemeal toast.

    2. Lunch - Black bean soup

    Serves 2

    ½ small onion, chopped

    1 garlic clove, smashed

    2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    2 cups vegetable stock

    ½ cup tinned black beans, drained

    1 small carrot, chopped

    ½ tsp chilli powder or flakes

    salt and pepper, to taste

    chopped fresh coriander, to serve

    Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add broth, beans, carrot and chilli powder. Simmer 10 minutes, and then puree. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh coriander to serve.

    3. Dinner - Salmon brown rice bowl

    Serves 2

    ½ small broccoli, cut into florets

    2 tsp sesame oil

    200g salmon, cubed

    1 tbsp soy sauce

    ¾ cup brown rice, cooked

    1 tsp pickled ginger, chopped finely

    Saute broccoli in sesame oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add salmon and soy sauce and toss until salmon is cooked through. Serve over brown rice and top with pickled ginger.


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