Straight To The Point Blog

The Mediterranean Diet: Food for Fighting Inflammation (with recipes!)

May 8th, 2018

Mediterranean diet salad

by Dr. Laurie Brodsky, HBSc, ND

You’ve heard plenty about the Mediterranean diet, but what exactly is it? It’s a great way to reduce inflammation in the body. When it comes to giving the body a well-deserved breather from any type of inflammatory heat, now is the best time to do it. The spring and summer months bring full force heat-waves, which is a lot for anyone to handle, especially within such a short span of time between seasons. One way to address this is with your diet, and also beverage selection, so today I’ll share a quick easy colorful salad and a tasty beverage to keep cool in honor of sticking with an anti-inflammatory diet plan that will keep you feeling hydrated and full all afternoon or evening long.

The Mediterranean diet is one high in fresh colorful fruits and vegetables (organic whenever possible), raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, fish and healthy oils. It is a great diet for those suffering from inflammation, as the root cause has been found to be associated with just about every health condition. This style of eating ensures that your diet is packed with brain, heart and joint-protective omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Research supports its protection against development of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, asthma, arthritis, stress, obesity, type-2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even depression.

There are so many dietary recommendations out there about what are the best ways to cut inflammation, but here are a few basic principles that all of the experts can agree on, and it starts with eating real food and fresh ingredients (from the earth, not from a package).

To achieve this, here are a few easy-to-follow steps:

  • Eat whole real, colorful foods, mostly plants — eat the rainbow
  • Eat organic whenever possible, using the EWG’s Dirty Dozen guide. Consider growing your own mini-garden, now that it’s planting season.
  • Follow a low glycemic load diet
  • Consume tons of filling, healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, wild caught fish, organic grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, etc.)
  • Stick with sustainably and humanly raised or harvested animal foods (fish, poultry, meat, etc.)

 Healthy components of a Mediterranean diet

  • Leafies: spinach, kale, Brussels, watercress, arugula, microsprouts, sprouted greens, bok choy
  • Non-starchy: eggplant, cauliflower, sweet potato, asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, fennel, zucchini, beets, squash, celery, broccoli
  • Oils: coconut, olive, avocado
  • Colorful fruits: berries, pineapple, papaya, avocado
  • Nuts and seeds (raw, unsalted, sprouted whenever possible): almonds, sesame, pine nuts, chia and hemp seeds
  • Legumes and beans: chickpeas, lentils
  • Herbs and spices: turmeric, oregano, mustard seed, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, dill, cinnamon, thyme
  • Allium veggies: chives, garlic, leeks, onions, scallions and shallots
  • Whole grains: millet, quinoa, amaranth
  • Wild-caught fish and seafood
  • High quality organic pasture-raised poultry, eggs, dairy, probiotic-rich kefir, whole fat dairy, ghee
  • Hydration: water, herbal tea, cold brew coffee
  • Treat: daily glass of red wine, organic to avoid sulfates
  • Tea: matcha, green, ginger, turmeric

Foods to avoid:

  • Foods that trigger lingering inflammation: processed foods (pasteurized dairy), refined sugar and carbohydrates, and refined oils/trans fats (corn and soybean oils), conventional meat
  • Factory farmed animals, including fish
  • Foods that affect kids’ ability to learn
  • Additives, artificial ingredients, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

While the Mediterranean diet is a good guideline to follow, most importantly, remember to eat tons of fresh foods which are packed with natural sugars, tons of fiber, protein, antioxidants AND WATER! These foods keep you cool in the heat while shutting down inflammatory signaling pathways in the body.

Recipe for Anti-Inflammation: ‘the kitchen sink’ of all salads (with Mediterranean diet idea)

  • kale and radish microsprouts, 1 big handful
  • organic spinach leaves, 1 handful
  • 1-2 falafel balls, quartered
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • red cabbage, diced
  • rainbow radishes, diced
  • purple carrots, diced
  • shallots and chives, thinly sliced
  • whole grain sprouted red and brown rice
  • kiwi, diced
  • chickpeas or dollop of hummus, 1 tbsp
  • fennel, diced
  • cucumber, diced
  • tomato, diced
  • sweet potato, diced
  • peppers, diced

Dressing:

  • fresh lemon wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tahini, 1 tbsp
  • sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, unfiltered
  • tons of your favorite herbs and spices, fresh or dried including sea or Himalayan pink salt
  • NOTE: modify this salad based on what’s in the fridge, and pack it with YOUR favorites

Recipe: Runner’s Chia Lemonade

  • Large glass pitcher, filled with filtered water, switch it up based on what you have available
  • Fresh wedges of lemons, limes, grapefruits, blood oranges, organic berries
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Sliced cucumber wedges
  • 2-3 tbsp chia seeds
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt (electrolytes!!)
  • Detox mode: pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sweet tooth: 1 tbsp pure grade B maple syrup
  • Store in fridge, and drink by lunch or early afternoon

 

 



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