Inflammation is an important part of your body’s natural healing process. It’s your immune system sending out cells to fight bacteria, infections or heal injuries.1
Chronic inflammation is completely different.
It can be caused by an autoimmune disorder, an untreated injury or infection, or even overexposure to allergens such as pollen. It can lead to heart disease, diabetes, psoriasis and other illnesses. Symptoms may include fatigue, body pain, joint stiffness and puffiness in the face, especially under the eyes.1 If you suffer from chronic inflammation, there are foods that can make inflammation worse.2
Try limiting these types of foods and ingredients:
- Saturated fats—Like those found in margarine, shortening and lard, processed meats (hot dogs, sausages), cream and butter.
- Trans fats—Fast foods and fried foods.
- Refined Carbohydrates—Processed foods made with white flour (white bread, pastries) and refined sugar (cane sugar, molasses, brown sugar).
- Soda and other sweetened beverages.
Eat this instead:
- Collard greens
- Wild-caught salmon
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Green tea
Here are some delicious lunch and dinner options that may help you fight inflammation.
Greek Lentil Salad
Makes 4 servings | Prep: 40 min
- 1 cup black beluga lentils (dry/uncooked)
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups of baby spinach, chopped
- ½ medium red onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed
- ⅓ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
- ⅓ cup basil or ﬂat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Optional garnish: crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Pick through the lentils and remove any debris (like tiny rocks).
- Pour the lentils into a ﬁne-mesh colander and rinse under running water. Dump the lentils into a medium saucepan. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally. The lentils will be tender in about 25 to 35 minutes. Drain the lentils and return them to the pot to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium serving bowl, combine the spinach, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil. Set aside.
- To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Once the lentils have cooled for about 5 minutes, add them to the serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until blended. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of feta cheese on top, if desired.4
(Serving size: 1 cup)
Calories: 214; Total fat: 16 g; Saturated fat: 2 g; Sodium 215 mg; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Total carbs: 15 g; Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 6 g; Potassium: 441 mg
Grilled shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw
Makes 4 servings | Prep: 30 min
- 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup light mayonnaise
- ½ chipotle pepper en adobo, minced into a puree*
- 1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 limes, divided
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ medium green cabbage, ﬁnely shredded
- 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
- ¾ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra, if needed, for brushing
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 small whole grain corn tortillas
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise and chipotle pepper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss together shrimp, juice of 1 lime and chili powder; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro and the juice of the remaining lime; toss well. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Thread shrimp on skewers, 3-4 shrimp per skewer.
- Brush each skewer with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Coat the grill rack with cooking spray and grill shrimp skewers 2-3 minutes on each side, or until pinkish and opaque in color. Meanwhile, warm tortillas, as desired, on the grill.
- To assemble, spread a few teaspoons of the chipotle mayo along the center of a warmed corn tortilla. Lay 3 or 4 shrimp across the mayo. Top with a generous spoonful of the cabbage slaw. Serve additional slaw as a side salad.
*Chipotle peppers en adobo are sold in small cans in the Mexican food section of most supermarkets. One-half of a minced chipotle pepper measures about half of a tablespoon. 5
(serving size: 2 tacos)
Calories: 389; Total fat: 11 g; Saturated fat: 2 g; Sodium: 509 mg; Cholesterol: 229 mg; Total carbs: 40 g; Fiber: 8 g; Sugars: 10 g; Protein: 37 g; Potassium: 564 mg
Now that you what to eat, figure out why you’re eating it by breaking free from emotional eating habits.
Published July 5, 2023