Many patients have asked me what foods to eat to decrease inflammation.
You may have heard of the term “anti-inflammation diet”. But how does inflammation affect pain? And how do foods affect inflammation?
When you have an infection or an injury, your body releases chemicals to repair the damage. This normal process is called inflammation. Inflammation is crucial for your body to protect itself. But sometimes, too much inflammation causes problems.
When inflammation lasts weeks, months, or years, the chemicals your body releases can attack healthy tissues in your body. Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases and symptoms, including pain.
The foods that you put in your body have an impact on the inflammation in your body. Modifying your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods can help ease pain and even decrease some of the side effects of medication.
Fiber: Try to consume at least 25 to 35 g of fiber daily. Fiber is linked to lower body mass index (BMI), which in turn is linked to levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that circulates in the blood. Fiber also ferments in the gastrointestinal tract, feeding and balancing the “good bacteria” in your gut that is also linked to reduced inflammation. Whole grains are a good source of fiber.
Omega-3 fatty acids: This type of fat found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna is known to reduce inflammation.
Extra-virgin olive oil: EVOO contains a phytochemical called oleocanthol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects similar to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen.
Green tea: Green tea contains EGCG, the most powerful type of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals that harm your cells and are highly anti-inflammatory.
Spinach: Spinach contains lutein, which is related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. Lutein is an antioxidant that is responsible for many beneficial anti-inflammatory effects.
Mushrooms are rich in anti-inflammatory components, such as polysaccharides, phenolic and indolic compounds, mycosteroids, fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamins, and biometals.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods is easy when you have a delicious recipes. Below is a recipe for Ochazuke. Ochazuke is a Japanese dish and contains all five of the anti-inflammatory foods listed above.
Ochazuke Recipe (1 serving)
- 1 fillet of salmon
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice
- 1 tsp shredded nori seaweed (optional)
- ¼ tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1 scallion, diced
- 2 tsp green tea leaves or 1 green tea bag
- 1 cup hot water
- ½ tsp soy sauce
1. Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper, rub with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake the salmon fillet at 400F degree for 25 minutes. Break up the salmon flesh into flakes. Set aside.
2. Add a dash of olive oil to a hot pan. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Add a dash of olive oil to a hot pan. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Put tea leaves in the pot. Bring the water to the appropriate temperature for your tea and pour it into the pot. Set aside for 1-2 minutes (follow the directions on your teabag).
5. Now serve the cooked brown rice in the serving bowl. Place the shredded salmon, spinach, mushroom, scallion, nori, and sesame seeds on top.
6. Pour the tea until it covers half of the rice. Add a dash of soy sauce.