Inflammation can affect the body in more ways than one. It’s actually the starting point for many of the devastating diseases that plague Americans: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune disorders.
A natural response to damaged cells, acute inflammation is a normal immune system response. When the body is injured, the lymphatic system leaps into action, recruiting the immune system’s army of white blood cells to the injured area via increased blood flow, resulting in swelling, pain, redness, or tenderness.
With chronic inflammation, however, an out-of-balance, over-revved immune system keeps the flow of chemicals coming, and tissues, healthy or otherwise, wind up living in a perpetually agitated state. Chronic inflammation is avoidable; yet every day, millions of Americans prime themselves by making choices that unwittingly promote this type of inflammation.
Poor diet is among the major contributors to chronic inflammation, and incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is one of the best things you can do to support your health. In addition to avoiding trans fats, vegetable seed oils (e.g. soybean, corn, canola), refined carbohydrates, artificial flavorings, and factory-farmed animal products, choose a diet of unprocessed foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, protein, and vegetables, especially green leafy veggies.
Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe
1 cup coconut milk
½ fresh mango, diced or ½ cup frozen mango chunks
Juice of ½ lime
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp ginger
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 ice cubes
Add all ingredients into blender and blend till smooth and creamy.
Sauerkraut, Apple, and Carrot Slaw
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and grated (about 1 cup)
1 cup drained sauerkraut, liquid reserved
1 medium carrot, washed and grated (about ½ cup)
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
½ cup sauerkraut juice
1 tsp raw honey
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix the apple, sauerkraut, carrot, and ginger in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the sauerkraut juice and honey together to dissolve honey, then toss with apple and sauerkraut mixture. Stir in parsley and mint, and season with black pepper to taste.
Wild Salmon, Kale, and Shiitake Mushroom Green Curry
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp curry paste (see recipe below)
4 scallions, chopped, white parts only (reserve green tops for curry paste)
½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
½ can coconut milk
8 oz. wild-caught salmon, cut into 2 portions
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale
Lime wedges and fresh basil leaves, for serving
Ingredients for the curry paste:
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Reserved green tops of scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp chopped fresh lemongrass
¼ cup Thai basil or regular basil
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Zest and juice of one lime
2 Tbsp water, if needed, to blend
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Blend all of the curry paste ingredients in a blender until smooth, stirring occasionally. Reserve half of the paste for future use (refrigerate if you are planning to use it in the next few days, or freeze if you will use within the next couple of months).
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the curry paste, about 4 tablespoons; stir until fragrant.
Add the scallions and shiitake mushrooms, and sauté until they begin to soften. Stir in the coconut milk and then slide in the salmon pieces.
Cover and simmer for 3–5 minutes, until salmon is nearly cooked. Top with kale, cover, and continue to simmer for another 2–3 minutes, until kale is wilted and salmon is just cooked through.
Remove the salmon to serving plates. Give the sauce a stir and pour over the salmon. Serve with lime wedges and fresh basil leaves.
Curried Lamb and Root Vegetable Stew
Use a combination of your favorite brightly colored root vegetables for this wonderfully spiced lamb stew. Be sure to look for a curry powder blend that has no added sugar—or make your own to keep on hand!
8 oz. grass-fed lamb stew meat, cubed
1 Tbsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cups assorted root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, celery root, rutabaga, turnip, or radish
8 oz. chicken or beef broth
2 cups collard, kale, or Swiss chard greens, torn or cut into pieces, stems removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toss the stew meat with the curry powder and cinnamon. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir in the onion and ginger, and then add the lamb meat and brown on all sides.
Add the root vegetables, and sauté for another 10 minutes to coat well with the spices from the lamb. Add the broth and stir to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
When the broth comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the lamb and vegetables are tender.
Stir in the greens, and cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1 quart water
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp fresh turmeric root, sliced (or ½ teaspoon dried turmeric)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, sliced (optional, but recommended)
Bring the water to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow the tea to steep for another 5 minutes. Strain. Drink warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator if you are planning to sip it throughout the day.