5 Foods to Eat Every Day

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Let’s aim to eat well every day. There are a few foods that if you can get in daily you will be able to give your body a mega antioxidant boost. The foods below will boost your antioxidant and vitamin intake while reducing your inflammation. These foods are affordable, and good to stock up so you can encourage healthy eating without requiring that extra grocery store or specialty shop trip. Try the prep ahead smoothie kits below!

Berries & Cherries

These fruits are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. They are also rich in fiber and spike your blood sugar less than other fruits.

Tip: Try frozen berries in smoothies or overnight oats if fresh berries are too expensive or are not in season. Also try picking a bunch of berries next berry season and freeze to use throughout the year!

Leafy Greens Like Kale, Mixed Greens & Chard

Deep dark greens are high in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber.

Tip: Chop up any green and sautée to reduce down. Add reduced greens to meatballs or meatloaf to hide some more greens (from your kids) and add some more greens to your day. Add a handful of greens to your morning smoothie for an extra morning boost.

Complex Carbs: Oats, Brown rice & Quinoa

These whole grains are rich in soluble fiber, complex carbohydrates and B vitamins. Don’t be afraid of good carbs!

Tip: Cook up a large batch of quinoa or brown rice and freeze in single serve 1 cup portions. This is a mega time saver and can be the base for many dishes.

Root Veggies: Sweet potatoes, carrots & winter squash

Deep orange foods give us huge boosts of vitamin A, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

Tip: Keep these veggies on hand, they don’t rot quickly like lettuce and cucumbers so you can always have one of these staples available even when your pantry is bare.

Ginger

This root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory agent and can be eaten in many forms. Try in tea, shredded into vegetable dishes, rice dishes or even egg dishes.

Tip: Pre-grate some ginger and keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator. Use a microplane grater to break up the tough root.

Prep Your Own Breakfast Smoothie Kits!

Makes 1 smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 C greens

1C frozen berries

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 Tbs chia seed

1C milk of choices or water

1/4C oats

Add greens, berries, ginger, oats, chia seed to freezer safe bags. Make 3-4 of these if desired to keep in the freezer. Simply add to a blender with 1C milk of choice in the morning for a quick breakfast on the go with some serious anti-inflammatory power.


Quercetin: An Anti-inflammatory and histamine Lowering Flavonoid

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The old adage eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, has some truth to it. Apples are not only a delicious fall favorite, but are also rich sources of vitamin C and this weeks featured flavonoid - quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with high antioxidant action and also acts as a mast cell stabilizing compound.  Not an apple person?  Other food sources with high levels of quercetin are berries, grapes and onion.  

What is a mast cell stabilizing compound and why should we want to eat bioflavonoid heavy foods?  Some individuals with histamine intolerance or mast cell activation syndrome have overactive mast cells which can increase a variety of symptoms that are affected by the release of histamine and inflammatory molecules. Symptoms can include allergies, eczema, atopic dermatitis, interstitial cystitis, migraines, flushing, acid reflux, and diarrhea among many other possible symptoms.

Flavonoids have been shown to prevent some allergies and reduce allergy symptoms.(1)  For histamine intolerant individuals, quercetin has been found to stabilize mast cells and lower histamine, prostaglandins and cytokine release, equal to, if not better than, the common mast cell stabilizing medication called cromolyn sodium (a commonly prescribed medication for individuals with mast cell activation syndrome).(1)  Quercetin works as an anti-inflammatory compound by reducing release of inflammatory enzymes cyclooxyrgenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX).(2) In other experimental studies quercetin has been shown to reduce asthma and allergic rhinitis symptoms (sneezing, sniffling).  In one study, it was found that individuals who ate just two apples each week, had a lower incidence of asthma because of their quercetin intake.(3)

To make sure you eat at least two apples this week, try making this fall harvest buddha bowl!  Rosemary roasted chickpeas, roasted apples, onions, sweet potatoes and beets creates a warm flavonoid rich meal to help lower inflammation.  The recipe below makes 4 portions, so I made one bowl for me and froze three servings for the weekday lunches. The oven does all the work so it is quick and easy to prepare.  The roasted apples and sweet potatoes provide a delicate sweetness to this filling bowl. For more antioxidant rich meals, pre-order The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook, coming out February 2019.

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Fall Harvest Buddha Bowl

Makes 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes (including roasting time)

Ingredients:

1C dry quinoa

1 sweet potato

1 large golden beet or 2 small

2 apples

2 Tbs olive oil

1 large red onion

1 sprig of rosemary

1C chickpeas

pinch of salt

1. Add 2C of water to quinoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil with the lid on. Once it is boiling drop heat to low and let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 20 minutes. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, slice beets, sweet potatoes, onions, apples into 1/3 inch pieces. Drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil on the sheet pan and lay vegetables and apples on in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and tender.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, toss the chickpeas in 1 Tbs of olive oil, and add about 1 Tbs of chopped rosemary and a pinch of salt. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Set aside.

4. Assemble your buddha bowl! Add quinoa, veggies, and chickpeas. With another pinch of salt over the top or a drizzle of olive oil you are ready to eat.

Sources:

1.Zuyi, W, Bodi, Z, et al. Quercetin Is More Effective than Cromolyn in Blocking Human Mast Cell Cytokine Release and Inhibits Contact Dermatitis and Photosensitivity in Humans. Plos One. 2012. 7(3) e33805.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314669/

2. Yao, Li, Jailing, Y, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016. 8(3): 167.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/

3. Mickek J, Jurikova, T, et al. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016; 21(5): 623.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/5/623/htm

Veggies for Breakfast!

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When people think of breakfast, most people think of grains, dairy and maybe some fruit. However, breakfast can also be a great meal to sneak some veggies into the very beginning of your day. You should aim to consume at least 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, because fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients and inflammation busting antioxidants which will help reduce inflammation.

I like to eat as many colored vegetables and fruits as I can each day to get the most variety in taste and in nutrients. Each different colored fruit or vegetable yields a different phytonutrient. For example, orange veggies, that I feature today, like sweet potatoes, squash or pumpkin contain betacarotene, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. All of these nutrients help to keep your immune system strong and skin healthy, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk for colon cancer, asthma and heart disease.  

Competing to see who can eat the most different colors is also a good way to challenge kids to get more veggies into their day. Have a list of veggies by color and see who can get more colors in their diet each day. It is easier than you think. To help you get started, here are two of my favorite veggie breakfast options that are low in histamine, high in antioxidants and of course orange! Using squash or sweet potatoes are a great option since they are high in nutrients and naturally sweet.

Vanilla Squash Oatmeal: Perfect for Fall!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Oats

  • 1/4C pumpkin or squash puree

  • maple syrup to taste

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3/4C milk of choice

  • Simply combine oats, pumpkin or squash puree, milk of choice, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Microwave for 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and oats are tender.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Fried Eggs

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces

  • 2 Tbs olive oil

  • pinch of salt

  • 4 eggs

  • Roast sweet potatoes, onion, carrots tossed with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then fry up eggs and serve over veggies.

Tip: Make a large pan on the weekend and freeze up single portions and just reheat during a busy weekday morning.

For more amazing high nutrient recipes pre-order The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook!

Food for Health

When I think about food as a dietitian I think about what each food that I put in my body will do. What antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients does it provide?  Will it increase inflammation, decrease inflammation, help my gut, decrease or increase the risk for disease?  The list goes on and on. Food can be our greatest friend or our worst enemy when it comes to our health. 

I created the recipes in The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook out of my passion for creating healthy, delicious meals for myself and my family and to help those suffering from conditions whose symptoms can be alleviated by an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Inflammation is the cornerstone of many chronic diseases, such as arthritis, chronic pain, heart disease, and mast cell activation syndrome.  Further, individuals with allergies, eczema, and migraines often also have high levels of inflammation. Reducing inflammatory foods in the diet may help reduce risk for these diseases and symptoms.  The Mediterranean Diet which you have likely heard of provides a wonderful anti-inflammatory foundation, and is a plant based diet rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, olive oil, nuts/seeds, lean chicken, and fish. The anti-inflammatory diet limits large amounts of processed foods, sugar, red meats, and saturated fats. The recipes in The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook use the superfoods made popular by the Mediterranean diet as a base, and layer on low-histamine foods to fight inflammation.

What is histamine and why do we want to consume low-histamine foods?  Histamine is a normal compound produced in your body.  Most people think of it when they have allergies, that itchy, puffy, sneezy feeling comes from histamine. Some people produce too much histamine or do not eliminate enough histamine naturally in the body, causing histamine to build up in your system. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is when the body produces too much histamine, and histamine intolerance is when the body has too much histamine, usually because histamine is not being eliminated quickly enough. When histamine is released in the body inflammatory compounds are also released in the body.  

Foods like aged cheese, balsamic vinegar, wines, aged fish, soy sauce, and even avocados are high in histamine. The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook will demonstrate the science behind the low histamine diet and how to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods to boost health and lower inflammation. This book is also gluten free because reducing wheat consumption helps people suffering from mast cell activation syndrome or histamine intolerance, and is recommended to those suffering from other inflammatory conditions.  Eating an anti-inflammatory healthy diet not only will work to reduce your symptoms but the meals in this book are family friendly and delicious.  It is time to boost your intake of superfoods, let your food help you heal. 

Tip of the week: 

My first tip of the week is that enjoying foods rich in color (natural of course) is the best place to start.  My top contenders are berries, purple carrots and kale or Swiss chard.  Unfortunately, rich in color only applies to fruits and vegetables, that red velvet cupcake will not help decrease inflammation.  Each different fruit or vegetable provides different types of phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are helpful plant compounds that work as antioxidants in the body to help reduce inflammation and can help to decrease symptoms.  Purple carrots, for examples, have the phytochemicals anthocyanin and beta-carotene which are powerful antioxidants.   So if you can do one thing, well maybe two this week, eat more plants and fresh whole foods, particularly those rich in color.  See you next week!

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