Fruits and Vegetables
- Choose whole fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t be tempted by products advertised as “high antioxidant”. They may be highly processed foods that have antioxidants added in afterward. Some research suggests these products may do more harm than good.
- Choose organic with foods most often consumed.
- Eat a variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and Vegetables exceptionally high in antioxidants:
- Fruits: Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries), apples, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, clementines).
- Vegetables: Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard), sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes.
Unsaturated Fats & Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3s)
- Omega 3s are exceptional at reducing inflammation.
- Food high in unsaturated fats/omega 3s: Nuts, seeds, avocados, oils (olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean), fatty fish (salmon, anchovies, sardines), flax seeds, chia seeds.
- Look for a fish oil that has EPA and DHA. As with any supplement, check with a registered dietitian (R.D.) or physician first. Check for a NSF certification on the label.
Herbs and Spices
- Just like with fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices each have their own unique anti-inflammatory properties. Variety is key.
- Herbs and spices that fight inflammation: turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, pepper (red and black), basil, cumin, cloves, parsley.
Tips to help you eat more vegetables:
- Add extra vegetables like tomato, cucumber, and sliced peppers to sandwiches.
- Snack on raw vegetables while preparing dinner.
- Add chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini to scrambled eggs.
- Use pre-washed or pre-cut vegetables if you’re tight on time. They are ready to be steamed, tossed into a salad, or packed to go for lunch.
- Keep frozen vegetables on hand for a quick addition to any meal.
- Make a vegetable stir fry (1 cup vegetables + cooked chicken, tofu, or seafood + brown rice or pasta).
- Roast a big batch of mixed vegetables and serve with meals. Toss extra leftover roasted vegetables with whole wheat pasta or puree them and make a soup.
TIP: Avoid over-cooking vegetables. Heat-sensitive vitamins can be lost in cooking. Cook vegetables in small amounts of water.
Tips to help you eat more fruit:
- Make a fruit based smoothie: blend a banana with blueberries and low fat yogurt.
- Choose larger pieces of fruit. These are often equal to two servings.
- Have fresh fruit on hand for snacking.
- Top romaine or spinach salads with fruit. Pear, papaya, dried cranberries, and oranges all work well.
- Serve a mango salsa with grilled fish or chicken.
- Mix yogurt with chopped fruit.
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to your breakfast cereal.
- Serve fresh fruit or fruit salad for dessert.
TIP:Choose whole fruit over fruit juice more often. One half-cup serving of pure unsweetened fruit juice may count as a serving of fruit, but it does not contain any of the fiber of the whole fruit. Commercially prepared, pasteurized juices often lose their vitamins and antioxidants during processing and synthetic compounds are added back in***
***exception: pre-workout under 30 minutes, liquids are more easily absorbed. 100% juice may be an option.