Add these powerful ingredients to your meals and snacks.

By Caroline Miguelez
October 30, 2020
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Credit: Sidney Bensimon

The holidays are filled with family, friends, and lots of tasty treats. And with festive sweets around every corner, we often find ourselves eating more refined carbohydrates and processed sugars than we do during the rest of the year. These ingredients can leave you feeling bloated and hazy. Whether you are hoping to combat brain fog, stomach pain or arthritis, adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet this holiday season will leave you feeling your best as you head into the New Year.

Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, says, "Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation. It's not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases." Mindfully managing the types of foods that we should and shouldn't eat is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease.

Nuts

Homemade nut mixes make it to the top of our favorites list. While store-bought versions can contain lots of sugar and salt, making your own is an easy way to make sure you're only putting wholesome ingredients in to your body. Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids known to have heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits. Our recipe for Smoky Almonds is a cozy addition to any appetizer tray this season, as is our Rosemary Walnuts mix.

Incorporating nuts into salads, sautés, and even your breakfast oatmeal is another great way to stay satiated throughout the day and keep inflammation at bay. Our Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Almonds recipe is a warming dish that pairs well with the turkey, roast beef, or duck on your holiday table.

Garlic and Leafy Greens

It's not just the omega-3-rich almonds in the broccoli rabe side dish that help reduce inflammation—the garlic and leafy greens are two other ingredients that will keep you feeling great throughout the holiday season. Planning on serving pork tenderloin this holiday? Try this recipe that includes a delicious kale salad alongside it. Leafy greens are packed full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that help protect our bodies against cellular damage. This nutrient-dense, detoxifying side salad is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K.

More Fish and Less Red Meat

As too much red meat can lead to inflammation, we suggest you opt for your favorite fatty fish one or two nights a week during the holidays (and all year round!). Like almonds, fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, and even sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Our Broiled Salmon with Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms is a triple threat—mushrooms, asparagus, and salmon all having anti-inflammatory properties. The phenolic compounds found in mushrooms have proven to reduce inflammation and regulate your digestive system. Seasonal favorite Roast Turkey With Sage and Mushroom Stuffing is a great way to sneak the umami-rich mushrooms on to your holiday dinner table.

This year, fill your holiday table with whole foods. Lots of fresh berries, leafy greens, nuts, fish, and olive oil will leave you ready to celebrate free of brain fog and achy joints. Feeling great this holiday season is just a few recipes away.

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