21 breakfast ingredients to help stay healthy this holiday season
During the holiday season, it is even easier (or easier to rationalize) skipping a meal to save room, or save calories, for that larger meal or holiday gathering later in the day — and all the goodies or savory dishes that await. But don’t give in to that strategy. Breakfast is too important to the functioning of our bodies throughout the day and to staying healthy during one of the busiest times of year.
One key to managing arthritis is to reduce the impact and side effects, specifically the inflammation it causes (which can have a domino-effect type impact), by adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet. While there are many ingredients that can be included in recipes to help limit inflammation, we chose the below from some of the most popular recipes featured in The ANRF Chronicle throughout the year. The recipes are included in The Chronicle’s 2021 Top 5 Breakfast Recipes, but keeping these ingredients in mind to add to other recipes is a good idea too!
21 ingredients to include in breakfast, and as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, during these final days of 2021 to help stay healthy:
- Nuts are chock full of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats but contain very little unhealthy saturated fat, making them an ideal ingredient in anti-inflammatory cooking. Nuts are an excellent sources of vitamin E which helps to protect the body from the effects of harmful free radicals.
- Fruit high in antioxidants such as blueberries and cranberries are always a good choice. Cranberries contain anthocyanins which give the berries their dark red color and contribute to their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes contain lauric acid which supports a healthy immune system and is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
- Cacao nibs offer crunch granola or trail mix or a that dark chocolate, bitter and fruity flavor to other breakfast favorites (muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc.). The cocoa flavonoids help to decrease inflammation and improve the overall immune response.
- Bananas contain high amounts of rutin, a compound that complements the activity of vitamin C, and helps to maintain strong, flexible blood vessels. Rutin also possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Bananas are also known to be a food that can enhance mood.
- Yogurt protein and probiotics, such Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory roles. In several interventional studies, daily yogurt consumption has been shown to prevent gut microbiota alteration, a common consequence of chronic opioid use.
- High doses of whey protein have been shown to reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation in the body, indicating that it can help reduce inflammation.
- Vanilla extract contains vanillin, an organic compound that is the most prevalent compound in vanilla. Vanillin has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation from multiple causes.
- Eggs: Livetins, compounds found in egg yolks, reduce inflammatory responses as evidenced by inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, eggs help offset inflammation because they contain the potent carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein.
- Mushrooms are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, including phenolic acid and carotenoids. Chaga mushrooms in particular are an antioxidant This dark black mushroom combats oxidative stress, and has been found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms help to improve circulation which can assist in reducing swelling in joints.
- Fiber: with its lower energy density, a diet high in fiber has been linked to lower body weight, alleviating obesity-induced chronic inflammation evidenced by reduced amounts of inflammatory markers in human and animal studies.
- Sweet potatoes, particularly those with purple flesh, contain extremely high levels of anti-oxidants, which are key in limiting excess inflammation by negating the effects of free radicals on your cells. Sweet potatoes also contain the compound choline, limiting the incidences of systemic inflammation.
- A recent study focusing on the benefits of maple syrup has shown that the delicious liquid contains a molecule called quebecol, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Rolled oats are gluten-free whole grains and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols.
- Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats. Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow.
- Coriander is full of antioxidants that demonstrate immune-boosting, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
- Nutmeg is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds called monoterpenes, including sabinene, terpineol, and pinene.
- Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds that function in the same way as COX-2 inhibitors and is particularly beneficial to those with arthritis.
- Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has been shown to work in a similar fashion to ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
- Garlic is a flavorsome addition to just about any savory dish. Like onions and leeks, it contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that curbs the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, garlic can help fight inflammation and may even help prevent cartilage damage from arthritis.
- Spinach is one of the best known of all the anti-inflammatory superfoods. It contains lutein, which is related to vitamin A and beta-carotene and is a good source of iron, vitamin K and folate, It is also very low in calories, so it’s perfect for weight maintenance and keeping pressure off joints.