At Lettuce Deliver, we’re a big believer in food as medicine. When you think about it, it makes total sense that the fuel you put in your body can and does influence you health outcomes. As the old adage proclaims “you are what you eat”.
One of the things we often see when it gets cooler is the rise of arthritis, stiffer movement and inflammation. And as we enter the cooler months, we thought it might be a good time to look at eating for better health during winter.
That’s why we’re going to look at food as medicine when fighting inflammation with food.
The wonder of fish and Omega 3
When it comes to food as medicine, fish is an amazing addition to any diet. They contain a lot of wonderful oils and nutrients that help us stay healthy. And fish are full of Omega 3.
Omega-3s has lower levels of two inflammatory proteins, C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6. These proteins make fish marvellous in the fight against joint pain, arthritis and inflammation. They help reduce swelling and pain as well as taking on inflammation itself.
At Lettuce Deliver, we offer fresh and frozen fish as well as tinned fish as part of our range. We choose this fish based on sustainable fishing and small catch ethos.
Looking to target inflammation and raise your Omega 3 levels? Doctors suggest cold water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies and scallops.
Nuts about nuts
A favourite for the food as medicine movement, nuts are a wonderful source of natural fats and oils that help with inflammation. Nuts work more in a preventative capacity then treating symptoms. But still, it’s nice to know a nutty fixation is doing you some great things health wise.
Nuts have an inflammation fighting monounsaturated fat and vitamin B6. And while they may be naturally fatty, they do contain fibre and proteins that help prevent weight gain. It takes about 1 and half to 2 handfuls of nuts per day to start seeing results.
Lettuce Deliver has an array of activated and organic nuts for you to choose from.
Need some guidance on what nuts to choose? The American Arthritis Association inflammation-free diet recommends walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds.
Turning on to Turmeric
Spices are great for making flavoursome food and many are incredibly good for you. One such spice with the skills to pay the health bills is Turmeric. So much so that many Chinese herbalists and Eastern food as medicine practitioners advocate daily usage of Turmeric in food and beverages.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation agent. Curcumin blocks a molecule called Nf-kB that travels around the body turning on the genes that react in an inflammation setting. That molecule may switch on the pain, but the curcumin dampens or even completely blocks its attempts.
Curcumin in natural form (fresh is best) compares extremely well against anti-inflammatory medicine. And can be used alongside medication to boost the benefits through diet.
Turmeric is also versatile. You can use it to treat inflammation associated with your digestive tract, joints and even conditions like pancreatitis.
Lettuce Deliver love turmeric. We always stock it when it’s in season and we also offer a range of Turmeric products.
The humble fruit and vegetable patch
Using food as medicine doesn’t have to be all about adding things you may not usually to your diet. It may simply mean making some already common items more prominent in your eating habits.
You don't need to buy unusual produce or hard to get items to improve your health. A place that is often rich in vitamins and health promoting magic is the humble fruit and veggie patch. And treating inflammation is no different.
Anthocyanins or anthocyanin-rich extracts are extremely potent inflammation fighting elements.
Anthocyanins are found in foods such as raspberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and blackberries. They give us the red, purple and blue hues we find in food. They also reduce inflammation. And anthocyanins or anthocyanin-rich extracts have an important role to play in inhibiting lifestyle related illnesses . Such illnesses include heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders and even cancer.
Research also shows vitamin K-rich veggies like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage dramatically reduces inflammatory markers in the blood.
Top that off with vitamin C that helping with joint health and lowering the effects of arthritis. It's found in citrus foods such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes . While mythology says citrus and inflammation don’t mix, nothing could be further from the truth. Vitamin C assists with cartilage protection and regrowth. And can pack a powerful punch against cartilage damaging free radicals.
As you can see, you’ve got some pretty powerful allies in the fight against inflammation you can rely on when it comes to produce.
Some simple food as medicine swap tips
To help you make the most of inflammation fighting foods, here are some simple additions and swap tips you can make to your diet.
- Choose whole grains for your carbs. Whole-wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal add fibre. This lowers the level of inflammation causing C-reactive protein in the blood.
- Monitor for signs of gluten triggering. Some (not all) people will find adopting a low gluten or no gluten diet can help minimise inflammation flare ups.
- Oils ain’t oils. Olive oil provides the same sort of relief as Ibuprofen when it comes to inflammation related pain. Natural oils in avocado oil can also lower cholesterol. And walnut oil has 5 times the Omega 3 oil of Olive Oil. Just bear in mind this is based on 2 to 3 tablespoons of uncooked, clean oil per day.
- Keep it clean and process free. The more processed your food, the more likely you will run into nasty flare ups. Triggers such as sugar, fructose, trans fats and saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates (white breads, packet mash etc) are big culprits. If it’s more likely to be created in a laboratory than a kitchen, pass it by.
Food as medicine is about thinking of the sorts of food you put into your body and making considered choices. Small and large, these changes really add up to make a huge difference.
The bottom line on inflammation fighting foods
Food is one of the most important aspects of our lives. It’s the fuel that keeps us running, day in and day out. So thinking seriously about what your body needs and what you give it is paramount to good health. When you think about food as our fuel, using food as medicine makes a whole lot of sense.
You can change your diet to help lessen the symptoms of conditions. Just remember to back up any advice with proper assistance from qualified professionals.
Until next time!