GUEST FEATURE: How to Tame Inflammation by Ellie Krieger
+ a Recipe for Chicken Salad with Berries & Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing.
Today's article is a guest feature, originally from Ellie Krieger's "Ellie's Real Good Food" Substack newsletter. We appreciate her sharing it with us here. Well known from her hit Food Network show “Healthy Appetite,” and host and executive producer of the cooking series “Ellie’s Real Good Food” on Public Television, Ellie is a New York Times bestselling, IACP and two-time James Beard Foundation award winning author of seven cookbooks. She is a weekly columnist for The Washington Post and host of the podcast One Real Good Thing. Ellie is a registered dietitian nutritionist who earned her bachelors in clinical nutrition from Cornell University and her masters in nutrition education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She offers recipes, cooking videos and more at www.elliekrieger.com.
There is a lot of buzz about inflammation and anti-inflammatory foods these days. And where there’s buzz, there also tends to be a lot of confusion, so here’s a quick low-down on the timely topic, plus a great recipe featuring top-shelf anti-inflammatory ingredients.
What is inflammation and why is it bad?
You might be surprised to learn that not all inflammation is bad. When you cut your finger or sprain your ankle, for example, the swelling and redness that results is inflammation-- and that is a healthy immune response. This type of helpful inflammation, which comes and then dissipates pretty quickly, is called acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is the type of inflammation that can cause problems in the body. It's a continuous, low-level immune response that doesn't subside and can often get worse over time. Chronic inflammation is thought to be at the root of many health problems such as arthritis, digestive problem, heart disease, cancer and more.
How to manage inflammation
Here’s the good news: much of what causes chronic inflammation are things we have control over. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, stress, not getting enough sleep and not getting enough physical activity are major inflammation triggers, so focusing on our well-being in a holistic way can make a big difference.
In our always-busy culture it can be challenging to eat well, manage stress, get enough sleep, and move our bodies regularly, but remember, you don’t have to do any of this perfectly all the time. Making small changes, consistently, in the right direction, can help reduce inflammation and have a big impact on our health and well-being over time.
Which foods are anti-inflammatory?
One easy step you can take is to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your life. If you have been following me and are enjoying my recipes, you are probably already on the right track because the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods ---colorful produce, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fatty fish such as salmon, and spices such as cumin, turmeric and ginger, have long been cornerstones of the meals I create.
These foods are not only anti-inflammatory, they are healthful for a multitude of reasons since they are loaded with antioxidants and other protective compounds. On top of that, they are downright delicious. On the flip-side, foods that contribute to inflammation, such as refined grains, sugars, processed meats, and trans-fats, are ideally kept to a minimum for a host of other reasons as well.
Ultimately, the way of eating that keeps inflammation in check is nothing radically different ---it’s essentially the same food pattern that is healthful in general. Don’t you just love it when things come together like that?
The Top 3 Anti-inflammatory Foods
My friend and colleague Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, author of Meals the Heal: 100+ Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less was on my podcast to share her wisdom on this topic. [Listen here]
Her bottom line advice for folks who want to start eating more anti-inflammatory foods really stuck with me. She says to focus on adding a daily serving of each of the top 3 anti-inflammatory foods:
This can be as easy as putting some lettuce or spinach on a sandwich, snacking on strawberries, and roasting some broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts with dinner. Do that, and you’ll be on a tasty path to taming inflammation.
Chicken Salad with Berries & Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing
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