Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in Your Body

posted May 18, 2016

About two years ago I was experiencing chronic pain with no real identifiable origin; my hips always hurt and my legs often ached. I was going to Physical Therapy and nothing was helping. I thought it was a combination of my boot camp style work outs with a lot of running, jumping and pavement pounding and bad genetics. I was feeling like there was nothing I could do about it and I would be in pain like this forever.  And then my now husband and I got engaged and I really started to care about eating healthy and exercising regularly to look and feel my best on our wedding day.

 

I joined Classpass and started doing lower impact training including spinning, barre and Pilates and started eating clean, unprocessed and nutrient rich foods more often. My chronic aches and pain almost disappeared after a few months. Now I know when I eat too much sugar or drink too much alcohol that my body will ache due to inflammation from these foods. I certainly still take an anti-inflammatory medication here and there for pain especially if I am trying to sleep or work but this change caused me to truly see the benefit of natural healing with food.

 

Inflammation is a natural and necessary component of healing and protection for the body but too much inflammation can be painful and harmful to your overall health. Below is a list of ingredients you can include in your post workout snack or meal to fight inflammation. Of course, the foods you choose is dependent on each individual and the way you respond to certain foods. I recommend slowly adding some of these ingredients in to your diet especially post workout and see how your body feels.

 

– almonds or almond butter

– avocado

– basil

– bell pepper

– brussels sprouts

– carrots

– cauliflower

– cayenne pepper

– coconut

– cucumber

– cilantro

– ginger or galangal root

– garlic

– dark leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, spinach

– onions

– beets

– squash

– sweet potato

– turmeric

– fish

– olive oil

– cherries

 

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Some recipe ideas:

– Greek Salad

– Stuffed Acorn Squash

– Sweet Potato Coconut Cashew Rice Bowl from Babble

– Turmeric Juices from WholeFoods or Pressed Juicery

– Any salad that includes a few of these ingredients

– Roasted veggies with fish

– Fish tacos with guacamole

 

Take a look through your favorite recipes- I am sure you already have many of these ingredients in your meals. Try to eat them right after a work out for the greatest benefit and remember to avoid foods that can cause inflammation like sugar, alcohol, fried foods. Be especially careful of “healthy” post work out bars or packaged snacks that might have sneaky sugars in them. As always, I recommend whole foods that are easy and delicious.

 

 

Written by Alexis from Balance Bride