Anti-Inflammatory Food and Colors
The foods that help fight inflammation come in all different colors. Each color has special properties that help fight inflammation and provide a myriad of other benefits to our body. These special properties are often referred to as the large category of “phytonutrients” which is basically a fancy word for plant nutrients. There are over 100,000 phytonutrients in the plants we eat! You can learn more about phytonutrients here. The anti-inflammatory nutrients make up hundreds of those phytonutrients. The color of a plant tells us some things about which phytonurients and which anti-inflammatory nutrients that plant contains. It’s vitally important that we get a variety of colors in our diet to make sure we are getting in the wide variety of phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds that we need for optimal health. This post is all about the green foods and how they benefit our health.
Anti-Inflammatory Green Foods
Green foods provide anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits in addition to supporting brain health, hormone balance, heart health, and liver health. A couple of the green foods are unique in that they also contain some healthy fats in addition to the phytonutrients; these include olives and avocados. Due to the wide variety of phytonutrients in green foods and the multitude of health benefits they provide its essential to consume them regularly and to obtain a variety of green foods in your diet. Many of these green foods also contain high amounts of fiber which improves digestion, keeps blood glucose under control, and lowers blood cholesterol. In addition to the fabulous anti-inflammatory phytonutrients they contain, green foods are also high in folate and Vitamin K. You will definitely get a powerful supply of vitamins and minerals from the green foods.
Green Foods List:
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY GREEN FOODS COMPOUNDS
Green Foods have numerous compounds that provide us health benefit. These green food compounds include: Catechins, Chlorophyll, Flavolignans, Folates, Glucosinolates, Isoflavones, Phytosterols, Phenols, Suforaphane, Tannins, Theaflavins. Let’s dive a little deeper into what these green phytonutrients can do for you!
These cancer fighting phytonutrients are high in the cruciferous vegetable family which includes broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy. This green food compound helps the liver get rid of toxins as well. There is no need to do a “detox diet” when you can just up your intake of natural detoxifiers like these amazing green foods! Glucosinolates are especially helpful for reducing the risk of breast and uterine cancers as well as cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Chopping and cooking these vegetables helps release glucosinolates and increases their bio-availability (ability to be utilized by the body). Check out this research paper on glucosinolates. Oregon State has a great informational page on glucosinolates and cruciferous vegetables here.
Phytosterols pack some health boosting punch. They can help keep cholesterol levels in check, for one. Many people don’t get enough plant sterols in their diets. Make sure to eat lettuces and leafy greens on a regular basis and consume the fatty green foods (olives and avocados) to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. If you would like to read more about phytosterols click here. These green compounds have also been implicated in cancer prevention.
Highest in green tea, this green foods compound has been shown to reduce cancer risks dramatically. Catechins also may pay a role in weight management and appear reduce body fat. You can read more about that here. But there is NO replacement for eating healthy and being active when it comes to significant and lasting weight management. If you would like more information on losing weight check out my 12 week online weight management program here.
Another amazing green food compound. Chlorophyll is a powerful cancer fighting phytonutrient. It is also useful in wound healing! You can read a lot more about chlorophyll from the Linus Pauling Institute. Take note that spinach and parsley are two of the highest cholorophyll containing green foods. Because chlorophyll is what gives green foods their color, there is very little in other anti-inflammatory rainbow food colors, so you’ll want to get in green foods weekly to make sure you are not missing out on this special nutrient.
Tips for Increasing Green Foods in Your Diet:
- Avocados can be added to salads, sandwiches, eggs, and any Mexican dish
- Include bok choy, edamame, and broccoli in stir-fry
- Choose green tea instead of coffee for a nice pick-me-up and warm morning drink
- Add leafy greens to smoothies
- Include several green food in salads such as cucumber, spinach, celery, and cabbages
- Scramble eggs or create omelets that include spinach and green peppers
- Include celery, okra, and green beans in soups or stews
- Flavor foods with a variety of fresh or dried herbs
Recipes to Boost Green Foods Consumption:
Vanilla Mint Green Smoothie From 3 Boys Unprocessed
Green Grape Avocado Quinoa Salad from the Food Network
Beef and Cabbage Stir-fry from Budget Bytes
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Eat Yourself Skinny
How to Eat to Fight Inflammation
Just eating a few green foods each week mixed in to your normal intake of pizza and ice cream isn’t going to get you the benefits you are after. Check out my Ultimate Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet to make sure your following the full plan for optimal results. Eating a healthy meal of salmon with a spinach salad isn’t going to counter the effects of the bacon cheese burger and fries you had the night before! If you’d like to not only fight inflammation and gain health; but lose weight as well, check out How to Go Low Carb the Healthy Way. You can combine the anti-inflammatory diet and low-carb meal plans together for optimal health and weight management results. Sign-up for my newsletter below to get even more tips on following the Anti-inflammatory meal plan.
I’ll be sharing information on red foods, orange foods, blue and purple foods, white and brown foods, and yellow foods over the next few months. Definitely check out the other wonderful colors of the anti-inflammatory rainbow and incorporate them into your nutrition plan as well. Your meals will not only be healthy and tasty, but beautiful as well! Check back often or sign-up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a thing! Eating a rainbow of colors is the best way to ensure a highly anti-inflammatory diet that includes the broad spectrum of phytonutrients we need for optimal health.
What’s your favorite green food and/or recipe? Post in the comments below!