Your gut knows best. If your gut and digestive system are healthy and operating well, your health — including maintaining a healthy weight — will benefit. One of the best ways you can ensure your gut has the proper balance of bacteria is by incorporating naturally anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. And, since we all know that tip about not snacking before bedtime is a dinosaur that needs to become extinct once and for all, finding anti-inflammatory snacks that you can have before bed for weight loss is a must.
Here are four anti-inflammatory snacks that are tasty, nutritious, and amazing for gut health:
Can you think of anything better than indulging in a (small) piece of dark chocolate before bedtime? Yes, you can have your sweets and eat them too, but it's important to remember that we're talking about anti-oxidant-rich dark, more-bitter-than-sweet chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70 percent and not milk chocolate, which has more saturated fat. A sliver of rich dark chocolate can satisfy you, make you feel like you aren't depriving yourself of goodies, but it's also chockful of gut-health benefits and can even lower your risk of heart disease.
And nutritionists give dark chocolate the green light, too.
"I love dark chocolate on its own, but sometimes I need a little more substance. When I do, I pair chocolate with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to get that salty/sweet combo. I buy dark chocolate chips or chunks and add them to my favorite trail mix or granola blend. It's my perfect mid-hike snack," Rachel Begun, registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist, told to U.S. News & World Report.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that can curb inflammation. If you really want to up the ante, cook tomatoes in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes and add a few slices of avocado. Healthy fats in these foods help your body better absorb all of the anti-inflammatory nutrients in tomatoes.
All nuts are excellent anti-inflammatory foods to snack on, and almonds, with their especially high free radical-fighting vitamin E content, are a clear winner in this department. Studies have shown that almonds not only fight inflammation but can lower your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Just be cautious about grabbing a handful and not overdoing it — though they contain healthy fats, the calorie count in nuts can add up.
Greek Yogurt and Blueberries
It would be difficult to find a better anti-inflammatory duet than plain Greek yogurt topped with blueberries. Yogurt naturally contains probiotics that curb gut inflammation and berries contain both antioxidants and polyphenols that protect your body against free radicals and inflammation.