What does the word even mean?
We’ve all heard the term inflammation before – whether it’s a stiff joint, achy back, fever or stomach issue, many of us at some point in our lives have experienced it too. Mild inflammation is normal and can be good, showing that your body’s natural defences are working properly.
For example, let's say you're walking or doing some kind of activity and you fall over, hurt your knee and it starts to swell, that's inflammation in action! Basically, what's happening is your body senses the pain, rushes blood to the site and antibodies are produced which causes swelling to occur. Inflammation here is part of the healing process and it's something we require.
However, when the body starts to overreact to causes of harm, inflammation can be an issue. Inflammation can have a much bigger impact on our bodies than we realise. It has the potential to spread throughout the body, spiral out of control and cause a whole list of health conditions like arthritis, IBS and more!
Houston, we have a problem.
More often than not, in cases of inflammation, doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medication which when taken long-term can have unwanted side effects such as gastrointestinal issues, ulceration and liver or kidney problems. In typical Supercharged Food fashion, one way to alleviate inflammation is by looking at what's on your plate. Taking a more natural approach to reducing inflammation through diet can play a HUGE role in reducing inflammation in the body.
Today I'm sharing some of my key ingredients for reducing inflammation;
Let's start with fibre. By eating lots of fibre-rich fruits, like fruit, vegetables and well prepared whole grains; we can help to reduce inflammation. The aim is to eat about 25 grams of fibre per day.
Some of my favourite vegetables high in anti-inflammatory properties include onion, garlic, peas, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. However, these foods can cause bloating and flatulence in some people so test out small amounts before going full steam ahead.
An easy way to enjoy lots of anti-inflammatory veggies is to sneak them into a hearty soup. Try my Oven-Baked Veg and Garlic Soup or you might like to the gorgeous Anti-inflammatory spring pea soup down below.
Spice it up! There are so many anti-inflammatory herbs and spices you can use in your everyday cooking to reduce inflammation. Turmeric and Ginger are great. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds, which block inflammation-producing genes. Whilst the golden hued-spice that’s taken the health world by storm doesn’t need much of an introduction. Turmeric shuts down inflammation in the body and can help prevent liver disease and take care of joint problems. If you’re in need of these two spices in your life, why not make my Golden Gut Oatmeal Cookies or Turmeric Fudge? Both of these magical spices can be found in a delicious and ready-to-go form in my Golden Gut Blend.
If you're looking at lowering inflammation levels, be sure to cut down on refined sugar, processed foods and trans fat as much as you can. These all increase inflammation in the body. When you’re looking to cut out trans fats, look for their secret code word - hydrogenated! Hydrogenated is commercial talk for trans fats. Producers sneak it into vegetable oils, cookies and some margarines, and they can be cleverly disguised. Trans fats can cause toxicity, increase blood pressure and of course, increase inflammation in the body.
Never know what oil to buy at the shops? Do you sometimes want to omit it altogether? The truth is, our bodies NEED fat to function properly, so it’s important to choose fats with benefits. Extra virgin olive oil and extra-virgin coconut oil contain anti-inflammatory properties and a good option for everything – from stir fries, baking vegetables or salad dressings, they have multiple uses and add a delicious taste to everything.
My next suggestion is to become acquainted with Omega-3 fatty foods. I'm talking walnuts, chia seeds and fish such as salmon. Chia seeds are more than fancy little superfood seeds that make delicious puddings (although, that’s a pretty good function on it’s own for breakfast on rush hour mornings!). Chia seeds help to reduce spikes in blood sugar which decreases bodily inflammation. Delicious recipe to try is my Chia and Berry Overnight Breakfast Jar.
If you're a fan of fish and looking for a delicious oceanic dinner, salmon is absolutely brimming with Omega-3's! My Smoked Salmon Living Lentil Bowl will have you swearing by omega-3's everyday.
While inflammation can cause a huge impact on the body, we don’t necessarily need to seek out pharmaceutical remedies all the time, and natural remedies are available in the kitchen. By monitoring the food you eat and adjusting what you eat accordingly, you can be assured that you’ll be helping to reduce inflammation in your body with every mouthful of these key ingredients.
To get you started on your anti-inflammatory way, I’m sharing my Spring Pea Soup. Peas contain dietary fibre and antioxidants so they reduce inflammation AND encourage healthy gut bacteria. They’re also low in calories but high in protein, antioxidants and micronutrients.
Pass the Peas, Please!
Anti-inflammatory spring pea soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil or ghee
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 litre vegetable stock (preferably home-made)
- 700 g peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- handful of mint, chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
- handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan, to serve
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the stock, increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil.
- Add the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender (frozen peas need half that cooking time).
- Add the lemon juice, herbs, spices, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
- Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then purée to your preferred consistency in a blender or food processor.
- Serve sprinkled with sunflower seeds and topped with extra mint and parsley leaves.
Enjoy this beautiful spring soup and let me know if you love it as much as I do in the comments section below.