Many professionals advocate adopting a “Mediterranean diet,” which includes fish, greens, herbs, whole grains, healthy fats, and limited red meat. The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant-based, but moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, and poultry are allowed. Interest in this diet began in the 60s, after studying that heart disease was not as common in Greece and Italy. To this date, it is one of the healthiest diets in the world, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans endorses it.
Cherries get their color from a natural plant chemical called anthocyanin, which may curb inflammation and help patients with gout. Berries are also full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which contribute to your holistic health.
- Recipe Idea: Try a bowl of Greek yogurt with blueberries and cut up strawberries! Add flaxseed and a few nuts for the ultimate bowl. Cherries are so good by the handful, but you can also add these to your morning smoothies. Include a little peanut or almond butter, and you’re good to go.
Citrus, Red Peppers, Tomatoes
These foods are full of vitamin C, which is essential to the body’s production of collagen. Collagen helps cushion and keep together the cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Recipe Idea: Slice some fresh mozzarella cheese and make yourself a delicious Caprese salad. Add sliced tomato, basil leaves, and balsamic vinegar for the ultimate summer treat.
Salmon, Trout, and Sardines
Salmon contains both calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3, which may help fight inflammation, develop stronger bones, and reduce stiffness and pain. Canned salmon works as well too, but make sure you get the fillet with bones! If you are unable to get multiple servings of fish per week, consider taking a fish oil supplement.
- Recipe Idea: If you are trying to include fish first thing in the morning, why not try a salmon omelette or a salmon-egg scramble? For a quick bite on-the-go, take the canned salmon with you! For dinner, we love baked salmon with a side of kale and nuts salad.
Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Quinoa
Refined grains, like white flour, can contribute to the body’s inflammation. Unrefined oats and other grains could have the opposite effect! These foods will help your body recover when your joints need it the most, like after exercising.
- Recipe Idea: Have you ever tried oatmeal or quinoa with a fried egg on top? This is one of our favorite breakfasts! Add quinoa or brown rice as a side to any meal. It will fill you up and help you stay healthy.
Spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. For example, the main chemical in turmeric, called curcumin, was found to work as well as Ibuprofen at pain management in a study.
- Recipe Idea: If you’re not sure how to incorporate turmeric into your diet, why not try a smoothie? Also, you can create a turmeric or ginger based marinade for your fish or poultry. Have you ever added cinnamon to your coffee? This is very common in Mexico, and delicious!
Nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids, so make sure you include those in your snacks! If you are counting calories, remember that although nuts are incredibly healthy, they are also high in calories.
- Recipe Idea: We love nuts by the handful! But, feel free to add them to: all kinds of salads and smoothies. Try baking zucchini bread with flaxseed, almond, or gluten-free flour, and add some walnuts for the perfect breakfast or treat.
Dark Leafy Greens
Leafy greens, like kale and spinach, have been linked to joint health, as they include antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and calcium. Remember that antioxidants can help reduce the rate of cartilage breakdown and free radicals in your body.
- Recipe Idea: These are great for salads. Leafy greens go well with dressings like: balsamic vinaigrette, lemon-garlic, or Italian. Add leafy greens to your smoothies - you won’t even taste it! You may even want to keep frozen kale or spinach at all times. Pair kale with some chicken, a little red meat, or salmon, and you’ve got a royal dinner!
Avocado and Healthy Fats
Avocado is a superfruit that contains healthy fats - mono-saturated oils, essential fatty acids, beta-sitosterol, and vitamin E. Incorporating avocado into your diet can help with cartilage repair, especially if you have osteoporosis. Extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil are also great options to cook with!
- Recipe Idea: Avocado is so delicious and versatile you can never go wrong. Enjoy it sliced by itself or with a little salt and pepper. Add it as a side to your morning egg scramble, or enjoy guacamole at lunchtime. Add them to your sandwich, salad, or as a side to your dinner!
Remember that all great change begins with a single step. It may sound overwhelming to change your entire diet, but every healthy food choice you make counts toward achieving better health and a higher quality of life. Do not be discouraged! Eat well, be happy, and call us at (828) 277-0903 to make your next chiropractic appointment with Dr K. We are here to help you!