Food For Thought: February Anti-inflammatory Recipes

Food For Thought: February Anti-inflammatory Recipes

This February, fall in love with an anti-inflammatory diet by trying our scrumptious recipes. Cooking food that supports a partner with an inflammatory condition is a great way to express how much you care, a win win as you’re sure to enjoy the food as well.

 

February Breakfast Recipe – Granola

 

Many people like to start their day off with a delicious bowl of granola. Unfortunately, many varieties found in supermarkets are high in calories and sugar. Making your own means you can enjoy a family favorite while ensuring you aren’t exposing your body to unnecessary inflammation. Even if you have not been a fan of granola, this recipe is worth a try. One whiff of the delicious aroma as you pull this homemade treat out of the oven should be enough to make this a regular part of your breakfast rotation.

Ingredients (Makes 10 Servings):

  • 1 cup raw nuts (pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts etc)
  • 5 pitted soft dates
  • ½ cup dried fruit of your choosing (select those that are high in anti-oxidants such as cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, etc.)
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup cacao bits
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Notes on the Health Benefits of Ingredients:

  1. The base of this granola is a cup of unsalted nuts, chopped roughly into thirds. Healthy nuts are chock full of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats but contain very little unhealthy saturated fat, making them an ideal ingredient in anti-inflammatory cooking. Nuts are an excellent sources of vitamin E which helps to protect the body from the effects of harmful free radicals.
  2. Here you can select which fruit you personally enjoy but those that are high in antioxidants such as blueberries and cranberries are always a good choice. Cranberries contain anthocyanins which not only give the berries their dark red color but also contribute to their anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Unsweetened coconut flakes contain lauric acid which supports a healthy immune system and is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
  4. Cacao nibs offers crunch to this granola and adds a dark chocolate flavor – bitter and fruity. Cocoa flavonoids help to decrease inflammation and improve the overall immune response.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Use a food processor or blender to chop nuts so that they are roughly in thirds (avoid over pulsing to ensure nuts do not fall to the bottom of the storage container).
  3. Chop the dates into small pieces.
  4. Dates will add a touch of sweetness and are high in antioxidants including flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid. Additionally, dates are both anticancer and brain-protective.
  5. Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  6. In a small bowl combine the melted coconut oil and honey. Pour over the dry ingredients mixing well to ensure an even coating (use your hands if you prefer!).
  7. Try out honey from different flowers, you’ll be surprised at how different the flavors of your granola will be.
  8. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  9. Spread the mixture evenly on the tray.
  10. Bake in the oven for around 20 min (until lightly brown) stirring every 5 min.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
  12. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

 


 

February Lunch Recipe – Tuna and Avocado Mediterranean Salad

An anti-inflammatory diet friendly lunch which is surprisingly quick to put together but still packs a tasty punch.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cans Tuna, drained (make sure to buy sustainable fish products)
    • Tuna is also a good source of key anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and the antioxidant selenium. However, minimizing contaminants like mercury present in fish is equally important to prevent inflammation, so opt for a “light” canned tuna.
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
    • This vegetable contains the flavonoid quercetin, which has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
    • Bell peppers, particularly the bright-red ones, are high in antioxidants and low in starch. Similar to spicy peppers, sweet bell peppers contain the chemical compound capsaicin, which is known to help reduce inflammation and potentially even pain.
  • 1/2 cup peppadews diced
  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
    • Parsley has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Parsley can also assist in improving kidney health and reducing blood pressure.
  • Sundried tomatoes, chopped
    • These tomatoes are little gems packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants (including lycopene) that help to decrease the risk of certain cancers, neutralize free radicals and decrease inflammation.
  • 2 teaspoons capers
    • Caper berries are high in several key antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins. Antioxidants can help fight free radicals to protect cells against oxidative damage to reduce inflammation, aiding in the prevention of chronic disease in the long run.
  •  1/4 cup feta cheese
    • A protein found in feta cheese is called histidine. When histidine is combined with vitamin B6, it undergoes a molecular process to become histamine, a compound that provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
    • Functional foods such as eggs contain a variety of essential nutrients and vital components including egg proteins, phospholipids, lutein and zeaxanthin that curb inflammation. The vitamin D present in the eggs modulates the inflammatory response in rheumatoid arthritis. It is worth noting here that eggs and their consumption can affect people differently and under certain circumstances in certain people they can be pro-inflammatory, often due to high level of omega 6 so if you are concerned ensure you get enough omega 3 (you should have four omega 3s to every one omega 6).
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
    • Avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, which can dampen your body’s inflammatory response. In fact, the anti-inflammatory properties of avocados are so strong that they may actually offset less healthy food choices.
  • ½ cup almonds (or nuts of your choosing)
    • Nuts are high in “healthy” fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) as well as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • Balsamic Vinegar has most of the nutrients present from the grapes it was made from. The grapes that are used contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin. Along with Vitamin C, quercetin strengthens the immune system to fight cancer, infectious diseases and inflammation.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. It also contains compounds like carvacrol that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Pinch fine salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine all of the salad ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over ingredients and toss to combine.
  • Taste and adjust spices as desired!

As easy as 1,2,3 a delicious lunch is served that is not only satisfying but helps to support your existing treatment protocol.

 


 

February Dinner Recipe – Chicken Wraps

A layer of humus topped with Greek salad and well-seasoned chicken makes this a meal everyone in the family is sure to enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts
    • When following an anti-inflammatory diet it is best to avoid red meats and to rather focus on eating lean white meat or fish.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • Coconut oil may ease inflammation by improving antioxidant status. Antioxidants work by stabilizing free radicals in the body, neutralizing the reactive atoms that can contribute to inflammation.
  • A few shakes of dried oregano, garlic powder and lemon pepper per chicken breast
    • Garlic is a flavorsome addition to just about any savory dish. Like onions and leeks, it contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that curbs the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, garlic can help fight inflammation and may even help prevent cartilage damage from arthritis.

For the Greek salad (for 2 large wraps- make more or less as needed):

  • 4 cups romaine, chopped
    • Lettuce contains anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown, in experimental models, to have “significant controlling power over inflammation induced by biocatalysts like lipoxygenase and carrageenan.
  • ⅓ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
    • Tomatoes are high in the phytochemical lycopene, which is a type of carotenoid with antioxidant properties. They are also a good source of vitamin C. Together, these nutrients can increase antioxidant activity, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • ½ cup halved cucumber slices
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    • Sesame seeds and the oil that is produced from them contains sesamol and sesaminol, two powerful antioxidants. Several rodent studies have linked sesame oil to improvements in arthritis, more research needs to be done in order to determine if it has similar effects in humans.
  • ⅓ cup feta cheese
    • Feta is high in vitamin B6 which when combined with histidine, a protein found in feta, it undergoes a process by which it becomes histamine, a compound that provides anti-inflammatory benefits. In addition, feta cheese also contains probiotics, which also help the immune system fight infection and disease.
  • Balsamic vinegar
    • Balsamic Vinegar has most of the nutrients present from the grapes it was made from. The grapes that are used contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin. Along with Vitamin C, quercetin strengthens the immune system to fight cancer, infectious diseases and inflammation.
  • Coconut oil
  • Fresh lemon wedges (optional)
  • Whole wheat or gluten free wraps
  • 2 tablespoons hummus per wrap (for a change you can also use avocado hummus here)
    • many studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in legumes like chickpeas reduces blood markers of inflammation Hummus contains chickpeas, olive oil and sesame seeds (tahini), which are proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Instructions:

  1. For the chicken: preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil. Place 2 bone-in chicken breasts on top, season with salt, pepper, dried oregano and lemon pepper. Drizzle with a another ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use immediately or as leftovers for this wrap. This will be enough chicken for 4 large wraps.
  2. To make the salad: add the romaine to a bowl. Top with cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, sesame seeds and feta cheese. Sprinkle with a few shakes of dried oregano. To dress, take the balsamic vinegar and drizzle around the bowl. Go once around with the coconut oil. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over it all (1 large wedge is sufficient). Stir and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  3. To make the wrap: spread 2 tablespoons of hummus onto your wrap of choice. Top with the salad and lay slices of chicken along the center line. Fold one end and then both sides of tortilla to create a delicious wrap.

 


 

February Dessert Recipe – Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Smoothie

An alternative to the less healthy oatmeal chocolate cookie without losing that delicious chocolatey taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
    • Bananas contain high amounts of rutin, a compound that complements the activity of vitamin C, and helps to maintain strong, flexible blood vessels. Rutin also possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Bananas are also known to be a food that can enhance mood.
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
    • Yogurt protein and probiotics, such Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory roles. In several interventional studies, daily yogurt consumption has been shown to prevent gut microbiota alteration, a common consequence of chronic opioid use.
  • ½ cup old fashioned or quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • Cocoa is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. It’s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
  • 2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder + 1 cup water
    • High doses of whey protein have been shown to reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation in the body, indicating that it can help reduce inflammation
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • Vanilla extract contains vanillin, an organic compound that is the most prevalent compound in vanilla. Vanillin has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation from multiple causes.
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ice to thicken

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Start with a handful of ice and add more until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

This is delicious as a drink but equally so when frozen and used as a sorbet or frozen into lollipops which kids will love on long hot summer days.

 

ANRF
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
arthritisresearch@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

No Comments

Post A Comment