Salads, smoothies and soups are three wise choices when it comes to reducing inflammation. They can help maximize the amount of healthy compounds you get in your diet and they taste great, too!
We want to help you increase your body’s ability to keep up with normal “wear and tear.” Remember, of all the common factors in inflammation, what we eat and drink is something that we have control over. It is the greatest investment you can make in your health. Less pain and more energy sounds like a solid return on investment, right?
Salads are an easy way to incorporate a variety of plants into your diet and there is an endless amount of ways to prepare this style of food. Not only can you derive vitamins and minerals in each item you add, but the biochemical magic of food synergy allows those foods to work in combination to make each other more powerful.
For example, combining red bell peppers that are packed with vitamin C with iron-rich spinach can increase the absorption of iron. Some people have a hard time breaking down raw foods, namely the fiber that inherently protects them from their natural environment: cellulose. We do not naturally make enzymes to break through those thick cellulose walls so here are a few tips to increase the likelihood that you will get the most out of raw foods.
- Try a marinated salad: Mediterranean Lentil Salad
- Adding something hot: Hot Feta Salad
- Shred or chop your ingredients: Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad
Blending a combination of nutrient-dense foods boosts their synergistic effect by increasing the body’s ability to absorb them. In addition, smoothies are a powerful way to enhance your anti-inflammatory food repertoire by adding things that you wouldn’t normally like to eat. Below are three ways to enjoy this method, the key word being ENJOY!
- A quick and healthy snack: Green Drink
- Replace a sweet treat like ice cream: Guilt-Free Chocolate Pudding
- Meal replacement: Hearty Green Smoothie
Another way to extract more phytonutrients from plants is to boil and/or steep in water for a period of time. The ingredients used and the length of time cooked make slight differences in taste as well as health benefits.
When pureeing, you typically boil the ingredients in water and then blend the entire recipe with a blender or food processor. This way you get a hearty, one-pot meal and the fiber from the vegetables is in a very easy-to-digest form.
With a broth, you combine vegetables and herbs in water and cook from 20 minutes to 2 hours for a clear soup often served as a base for other soups. Stock or what is popularly known as bone broth is cooked for a longer amount of time and uses meat bones along with the typical broth ingredients. As the stock simmers, the collagen in the bones can break down and is said to provide amino acids that are otherwise hard to extract from other cooking methods. Of course, if you have an instant pot, these stock-making methods that would otherwise take a long time can be done in minutes versus hours.
- Pureed soup: Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegetable stock: Magic Mineral Broth