Medical researchers are finding an increasingly clear connection between chronic inflammation in the body and the development of chronic conditions such as depression, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s, among many others.
If you’ve read my article on the “Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet,” you’re probably aware of the good news that many common plant foods naturally possess anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re wanting to maximize these wholesome plant-based anti-inflammatory benefits, here’s 15 varied and delicious plant-based dishes that will give you that extra anti-inflammatory boost, whether you’re currently challenged by an inflammation-related condition or just want to prevent one.
A Word About Nightshades
You may have heard that nightshade family vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes have been implicated in inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, because of the alkaloid solanine that they contain.
However, this is what the Arthritis Foundation has to say about the inflammatory effects of nightshades: “It is anecdotal, and it certainly might be true for some people, but there are no scientific studies done to prove that they (nightshades) actually cause inflammation or make symptoms worse.” That said, I do believe that we’re all individuals with our own particular needs and sensitivities.
It may be worth seeing if eliminating nightshades helps reduce your inflammatory symptoms or conditions.
Anti-Inflammatory Plant-Based Recipes
With a name like “Superfood Smoothie,” you know it’s going to have lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients like kale, cherries, cinnamon, cardamom, fresh ginger, turmeric and flax seeds. A competitive runner, read Rick Bruess’ story about how this smoothie that he developed based on his own research helped him heal from an injury.
Brightly-colored and delicious, orange and yellow mangoes contain carotenoid plant pigments which are known to be anti-inflammatory. With high-fiber black beans in the mix, this is not only a great inflammation reducer but also a tasty treat.
KALE CITRUS GUACAMOLE:
With the combination of kale and citrus, you have one powerhouse of an anti-inflammatory appetizer that’s unique and popular with everyone who’s tried it.
These stuffed peppers have a variety of anti-inflammatory ingredients including the peppers themselves as well as spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. The recipe also calls for mushrooms which are a well-known anti-cancer food that Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends we eat every day.
TURMERIC GINGER ICED TEA:
Ginger and turmeric are probably the best know anti-inflammatory foods and this recipe for iced (or hot) tea is easy to brew at home. You should be able to find fresh turmeric root at your local natural grocer. It looks something like fresh ginger and both fresh turmeric and ginger will keep well in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
THAI CARROT SOUP:
This carotenoid-rich Thai Carrot Soup contains anti-inflammatory carrots, ginger, red curry paste and turmeric.
SWEET POTATOES WITH SWISS CHARD:
We couldn’t have an anti-inflammatory recipe post without including amazing greens. For this recipe, Swiss chard is the star but beautiful orange, carotenoid filled sweet potatoes pair nicely with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and maple syrup dressing.
CHERRY CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE:
Start your morning off the anti-inflammatory way with this delicious and nutritious Cherry Chocolate Smoothie. Frozen cherries make it easy to make this smoothie any time of the year and best of all the organic cacao nibs add rich cocoa flavor but contain no added sugar.
While the spices, including turmeric, make this classic Indian soup delicious, it’s the addition of lentils, carrots, potato and apple that make this a powerful anti-inflammatory recipe. It’s one of the most popular dishes on this website!
Caesar salad is another way to get a delicious helping of fresh greens which help reduce inflammation.
AVOCADO PAPAYA GAZPACHO:
You’ll be pleasantly surprised how delicious and refreshing this cold soup is with the unusual combination of tomato and pineapple juice plus anti-inflammatory papaya (or mango), bell peppers, red onion and cilantro.
Feel free to use any vegetables you have on hand in the fridge or try broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and cauliflower for a boost to your immune system. Vegetables have great anti-inflammatory qualities. It’s best to use whole grain pasta for an additional anti-inflammatory boost. What a great way to heal and stay healthy.
HEALING TURMERIC SMOOTHIE:
Like the ginger Turmeric Iced Tea (above) this recipe also has grated fresh ginger and turmeric for its anti-inflammatory qualities, although you can substitute powdered turmeric in a pinch. The addition of mango boosts the smoothie’s healing power so try it any time you’re feeling down or as a refreshing treat any time.
TOFU VEGGIE SCRAMBLE:
Anti-inflammatory powdered ground turmeric is what makes this dish yellow and is great for breakfast. In addition, tofu has vitamin K which is also anti-inflammatory. Start the day off right with the addition of bell peppers, onions and mushrooms or enjoy it for lunch or dinner, too!
MARY’S VEGETABLE SOUP WITH FARRO:
The beautiful golden color of this soup comes from the addition of turmeric one of the most well-known anti-inflammatory ingredients, but this recipe also has several other healing vegetables such as carrot, potato, kale, bell peppers and celery.
I’m always especially delighted to find foods that are not only healthful but also nourishing, aesthetically-pleasing and delicious. I hope you’ll enjoy these varied anti-inflammatory dishes as much as my family and I have.
Have you found that eating more anti-inflammatory foods has helped bring your health back into balance? Please feel free to share your comments below – we can all learn so much from each other on this journey to wellness through plant-based nutrition.
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