Food For Thought: January Anti-inflammatory Recipes

Food For Thought: January Anti-inflammatory Recipes

January Breakfast Recipe – Mushroom and Spinach Breakfast Quiche

 

Increased inflammatory markers can arise if you experience large fluctuations in blood sugar. In order to maintain more consistent levels, try eating a low-carb, high-protein breakfast. This recipe is a delicious start to the day that contains  a number of ingredients shown to aid in the reduction of excess inflammation.  Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has been shown to work in a similar fashion to ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Mushrooms are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, including phenolic acid and carotenoids. Chaga mushrooms in particular are an antioxidant This dark black mushroom combats oxidative stress,  and has been found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms help to improve circulation which can assist in reducing swelling in joints. 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. Spinach is one of the best known of all the anti-inflammatory superfoods. It contains lutein, which is related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. Spinach is also a good source of iron, vitamin K, and folate, and it is very low in calories, so it’s perfect for weight maintenance and keeping pressure off joints. In addition to being a popular variety of cheese, Gruyere also has some distinctive and interesting nutritional attributes. Aside from seafood, dairy and meat from grass-fed animals offer the highest quantities of DHA and EPA rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Gruyere is produced from milk from grass fed cows which gives it more omega-3 than you would get from other cheeses. Due to the bacterial starter cultures used in cheesemaking, all cheese contains some beneficial bacteria. However, Gruyère is produced using unpasteurized milk so it is likely to also contain higher numbers of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are thought to improve the health of the human gut microbiome which is increasingly being shown to impact a number of our physiologic processes including inflammation and how well we metabolize medicinal compounds and drugs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mixed wild mushrooms (Chaga, shiitake)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ⅔ cup package fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded Gruyère cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms in an even layer; cook stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are browned evenly (+/- 8 minutes)
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften (+/- 4 minutes).
  5. Stir in garlic and thyme
  6. Add spinach stirring constantly, until just wilted (+/- 2 minutes).
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Whisk eggs, milk, Dijon, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  9. Stir in cheese and the mushroom mixture.
  10. Coat a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  11. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups.
  12. Bake, uncovered, until puffed and set, about 30 minutes.
  13. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

 


 

January Lunch Recipe – Chicken and Strawberry Spinach Salad

 

When following and anti-inflammatory diet avoid processed red meats and replace with fish or chicken as protein substitutes. Spinach is a great source of nutrients that reduce inflammation and make it faster for your body to recover. In addition to Vitamin E, the greens are a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies indicate that eating 16 or more strawberries per week can lower your body’s C-reactive protein. CRP is an inflammatory marker that accompanies arthritis and heart disease. Strawberries are also high in other anti-inflammatory compounds anthocyanin and folic acid. 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. A protein found in feta cheese nutrition 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. A study from the University of Toronto suggests that eating a healthy diet, including almonds, reduces inflammation by about the same level as taking a first-generation statin drug. The bioflavonoid, quercetin, in the grapes from which balsamic vinegar is formed, has antioxidant properties. Along with vitamin C and polyphenols, this antioxidant strengthens the immune system to fight cancer and inflammation. Honey is an excellent way to bring sweetness to a dish without the negative effect on inflammation seen when using processed sugar.

Ingredients:

The following salad ingredients should be used in the quantities required based on the number of people you intend to serve. The following makes two servings.

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 8-10 large strawberries cut roughly into quarters
  • 1 avocado cut into cubes
  • ¼ of a red onion sliced
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds

 

The honey balsamic dressing will be used both as dressing as well as a marinade for the chicken.

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
  2. Place the chicken in a shallow dish and cover with half the dressing cover and refrigerate for at least 45min and up to two hours.
  3. Preheat the gas grill before cooking to medium-high heat (350-400° F). Lightly grease the grill surface with extra virgin olive oil and add chicken. Close lid and cook 8 minutes, or until bottoms are browned with sear marks. Rotate chicken, close lid, reduce heat to medium and cook 7-10 minutes more, or until internal temperature of the breasts reaches 165° F.
  4. Once cooked allow the chicken to rest before cutting into slices.
  5. Arrange the spinach, strawberries and red onion in a bowl. Lightly toss with the remaining dressing. Add the avocado, sliced chicken and top with feta and almond slices. Serve immediately.

 


 

January Dinner Recipe – Turkey Chilli: A One Pot Wonder

 

One pot meals can be great when your joints are too sore or swollen to handle a cooking marathon. As with our other recipes, turkey or chicken are good protein choices as replacements for red meat which has been linked to increased inflammation levels. Bell peppers, especially 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. Recent data suggest that lycopene, a natural carotenoid found in tomatoes, exhibits anti-inflammatory activity through induction of programmed cell death in activated immune cells. Beans and legumes combat inflammation as they’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber and healthy protein. 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.

As you can see not only does this recipe not require intensive preparation but it is it absolutely chock full of ingredients to ensure you minimize any unnecessary or excess inflammation. This recipe serves eight so if there are leftovers you can pop them into the freezer for an easy reheat meal later on.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper chopped
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of peppadews, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Top with green onions, feta cheese, avocado and Greek yogurt as desired

 

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet, and cook until brown. Place the cooked turkey into slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion, peppers, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, peppadews, corn, chili powder, and cumin. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  4. Serve with toppings to taste.

 


 

January Dessert Recipe – Apricot Turmeric Lemon Bars

 

These bars are the perfect combination of tangy and sweet to end off any meal. Citrus fruits, including lemons, are a rich source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which helps build and repair blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Additionally, it is also high in antioxidants making it a good choice for those suffering from various forms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Apricots contain the plant-based chemical beta-cryptoxanthin, which studies have shown may help prevent osteoarthritis as well as inflammatory forms of arthritis. They also have high levels of magnesium, which strengthen bones and may ease pain, too. Medjool dates are high in antioxidants including flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids, which have been studied for their anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and brain-protective properties. Steel-cut oats are an excellent soluble fiber to add to the diet that also acts as a prebiotic food. These oats are beneficial to promote anti-inflammatory integrity in the intestinal bacteria. Steel-cut oats are less processed than old fashion rolled oats and have a lower Glycemic Index. Like cinnamon, turmeric is a go to spice in anti-inflammatory cooking due to the active anti-inflammatory compound curcumin which also gives the spice its distinct color and flavor. A recent study focusing on the benefits of maple syrup has shown that the delicious liquid contains a molecule called quebecol, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

A guilt free way to enjoy dessert after a little extra indulgence over the holiday season.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup dried apricots
  • ¾ cup pitted chopped dates
  • 1 cup gluten-free steel cut oats
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp organic lemon zest – divided into 1 tsp and 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of black pepper (this doesn’t alter the taste of the bars but enhances absorption of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory compound curcumin)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, for dusting
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs for dusting

 

Directions:

  1. Soak the dried apricots in hot water for about 5 – 10 minutes. When they’ve softened, drain them and in the food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor except the 1 tsp of the lemon zest, coconut and cacao nibs. Blend until the mixture turns into a dough-like consistency.
  3. Line a 8×8 dish with baking parchment, add the mixture and press down to distribute the mixture evenly.
  4. Top with coconut, remaining tsp of lemon zest and cacao nibs.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 – 3 hours, serve once firm.
  6. The bars should be soft and sticky. Store covered in the refrigerator.
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!

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