Thanksgiving Friendly Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, illness, or infection. It is a way of signalling the immune system to increase blood flow and the production of immune and white blood cells to begin the healing process. Inflammation becomes problematic when it persists for too long, this is called low-grade or chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation impairs the body’s tissues from properly repairing themselves and damage nearby healthy cells. Many major diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s have been linked with chronic inflammation. Low-grade inflammation in the body can also contribute to migraines, fatigue and joint pain! Certain foods such as butter/margarine, deep fried, and processed foods increase the inflammatory state in the body. Here are some easy food swaps you can make this Thanksgiving packed full of healthy anti-inflammatory foods to help fight inflammation without sacrificing the flavor.
*Limit seed vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, soybean, grapeseed) and opt for extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil full of healthy omega-3 fats.
*Avoid refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white sugar) and swap in whole-grain options and foods high in dietary fibre (like beans!) to help regulate blood sugar levels and avoid spikes which promote inflammation.
Thanksgiving Inspired Flavours and Anti-Inflammatory Foods Swaps
2) Sweet Potatoes
5) Dark Leafy Greens (Beans, Broccoli, Spinach, Kale)
6) Brown or wild grain rice
7) Almonds, Walnuts
8) Healthy Oils (Olive, Avocado, Coconut)
*Roasted Sweet Potatoes – sweet potatoes are full of fibre and antioxidants. For a healthier alternative to sweet potato casserole. Try roasting sweet potatoes with some olive or avocado oil and sprinkle with seasonal spices cinnamon and nutmeg.
*Mashed potatoes – the butter and milk added to mashed potatoes to make them creamy and delicious can contribute to inflammation. Try adding chicken or vegetable broth as an alternative.
*Stuffing – use whole wheat/grain bread and low-sodium chicken broth. You can even add in some cranberries packed full of antioxidants, and healthy fats from almonds or walnuts.
* Cranberry sauce – Cranberries are full of antioxidants, but their beneficial health effects are often combated when combined with high amount of sugar present in cranberry sauce. Try making your own and swapping in brown sugar instead. Another tip to help cut down on sugar is adding in lemon juice/zest or cinnamon for flavour.
*Pumpkin Pie – It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie for dessert. Try making the pie crust from whole-grain flour. For an even healthier alternative, you can use coconut palm sugar in place of refined white sugar and coconut milk and oil in place of butter and cream cheese.