When the change in season rolls around, I want to commit to incorporating more inflammatory-fighting foods into my regular diet. So to make that happen, I turned to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, and founder of Nutrition Now Counseling, for some advice on following an anti-inflammatory diet while also cooking up some seasonal favourites. Ahead, read four helpful tips for manageing inflammation and filling your plate with delicious snacks.
Sip on Bone Broth
According to Manaker, bone broth can have an anti-inflammatory effect, thanks to high amounts of amino acids found in it — however, you'll want to watch out for added, pro-inflammatory ingredients like processed meats and refined carbs.
Stock Up on Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash
"Sweet potatoes don't have to be just a dinner side dish," Manker says. "They make a great base for a cosy and warm breakfast."Manaker suggests topping off a baked sweet potato with nut butter, granola, and sliced bananas.
You can also use the seasonal favourite butternut squash to give mac and cheese an anti-inflammatory boost. "I would add butternut squash to the mix, and make sure to use whole-grain pasta instead of white," Manaker says. "Squash is a great anti-inflammatory addition that gives mac and cheese a cosy, fall-like flavour. Decent data suggests that dairy foods, including cheese found in mac and cheese, doesn't contribute to inflammation, and in some cases, is anti-inflammatory."
When Baking Something Sweet, Use Maple Syrup
"You can still enjoy desserts when following an anti-inflammatory diet," Manaker says — but not just with any maple syrup. "100 percent pure maple syrup from Canada is a natural sweetener that contains a compound called quebecol, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Using 100 percent pure maple syrup from Canada as a sweetener in desserts can help people enjoy their sweets while manageing their inflammation."
The ingredient can also be boiled, Manaker says, to 235 degrees, and then cooled to 175 degrees to create a maple candy treat. "Simply pour the boiled syrup into candy molds and once cool, take out the molds and enjoy!"
Stir Up a Soup
The resurgence of sweater weather also means soup belongs on the menu — especially if you're amping up your at-home anti-inflammatory meals.
"Some anti-inflammatory foods can seem tedious to cook, but when used as a soup ingredient, the prep can be mindless," Manaker says. "From a fish soup to a veggie stew, soups can be an excellent solution for those following an anti-inflammatory diet."
If you're concerned about inflammation, Manaker also suggests avoiding red and processed meats, white rice, white noodles, and fried foods when choosing ingredients or shopping for soups.
If you're looking for a simple, veggie-loaded soup that also includes the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, try Manaker's recipe below. "Replacing some chicken with chickpeas is a positive swap, and the chicken that does appear in the soup is skinless and lower in fat to make it more anti-inflammatory-friendly."
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (white meat and skinless)
- 6 cups low sodium chicken bone broth
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup drained chickpeas
- 2 medium courgette zoodles
- 1 cup washed baby spinach leaves
- Heat oil in Dutch oven or pot.
- Add in the turmeric, onions, and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery, and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients except for zoodles. Boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add zoodles and spinach and stir.