3 Meals That Fight Inflammation (Plus 2 Snacks!)
The Menu: Salad with a base of dark leafy greens plus other fruits and veggies like tomatoes and carrots, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice
The 30-Second Explanation: A colorful salad is a bonanza of antioxidants, which help stop inflammation before it starts.
And Everything Else You Might Want to Know: Your cells are prone to damage, especially from free radicals. When that happens, your body mounts an inflammatory response that’s meant to heal—but sometimes that response gets out of hand, and inflammation levels stay high (the same thing can happen in response to any kind of damage in the body). Antioxidants stop free radicals from harming cells, so inflammation levels don’t rise in the first place, says Lisa Cimperman, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and clinical dietician at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. The more colors, the better—even seemingly one-color leafy greens actually have a lot of different pigments in them, says Roxanne Sukol, MD, doctor of preventive medicine and medical director of the Wellness Enterprise at Cleveland Clinic. With olive oil in your dressing, you’ll get a dose of omega 3s and oleocanthal, a compound in the oil that works in a similar way as ibuprofen to lower inflammation (no word on whether you should down a shot of EVOO when headaches arise though). Throw some lemon juice in for added taste.
Images clockwise from top left: istockphoto: Toru Uchida, Savany, dionisvero, srdjan111