In our dream world we could eat nachos for dinner each night and never see a change on the scale (or our bodies). Sigh. It’s actually that type of indulgence that could lead to internal inflammation, which starts a chain reaction in hormones and unwanted weight gain. We all have some level of inflammation but eating anti-inflammatory foods can reverse it. These 4 are low carb, low fat foods that can be consumed without guilt.
Start your morning with an anti-inflammatory drink that detoxifies cells and facilitates fat loss – especially on your tummy: turmeric tea. Dr. Lisa Davis, chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen, says the fat that sits on your abdomen is no ordinary fat. Aside from being really frustrating, she says that abdominal fat is, “metabolically active tissue that unleashes harmful inflammatory molecules associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” Turmeric counters this. It contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Use it to brew a relaxing tea, add it to lattes, sprinkle it into smoothies or incorporate it into Indian-inspired cooking.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that directly inhibit inflammation and they’re found in many plant-based sources. One of the best is leafy greens in deep shades of emerald. Think kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins A, K and C, plus minerals. Andrea Wise, a Chicago-based nutrition coach, describes them as “super versatile” so you should get creative with preparations multiple times a day. We love sautéing the greens with plenty of garlic and finishing with fresh squeezed citrus as side dish or platform for a lean protein lunch like salmon. Mix leafy greens into your meals whenever possible - you can even use them to create breadless wraps.
We have a real sweet tooth. If it were socially acceptable to eat chocolate all day (and not have an ever expanding belly), we’d do it. But when you eat tons of sugar your body craves more and more. Till one day even the sweetest sugar doesn’t seem sweet enough and your pants won’t close. Luckily we’ve found a naturally sweet food, anti-inflammatory substitute. Alix Turoff, a New York City nutritionist and trainer, says berries have a high fiber- and a low sugar-content compared to other fruits. For example, raspberries and blackberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup! Strawberries and blueberries count too, and are all high in polyphenols, micronutrients that combat cellular stress by slowing down and blocking the inflammatory response in your body.
Just like leafy greens, flax seeds have a high concentration of plant-based omega-3s that have been shown to increase good cholesterol and decease the bad. “It reduces inflammation and in turn reduces storage of fat,” says Dr. Zarinah Hud, who practices sports and integrative medicine at the RIM Group in Georgia. Flax has a unique culinary quality: it doesn't have a potent taste so it’s really versatile. This means you can add it to virtually anything. Dr. Hud likes to use ground flax seed in smoothies, oatmeal, and even casseroles. Seriously. If you’re making a meatloaf, sprinkle in some flax seeds!