Have you ever felt sluggish or lethargic after eating chips, hotdogs, or soda? If so, it’s likely because highly processed foods like these contribute to inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to pain, swelling, redness, and overall discomfort. While, in moderation, all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle, overconsumption of highly processed foods will not only hinder your performance and recovery, but can lead to serious medical issues in the long haul. Diseases like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and depression can all be linked to chronic inflammation.
On the other hand, anti-inflammatory foods minimize inflammation in your body which allows you to perform at a higher level (both physically and cognitively) and recover from intense exercise or injury faster. Fresh, local, and organic fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins help curtail inflammation in the body. These foods also support muscle strength, endurance, and pliability—given that you’re also consuming ample water. Making sure that you’re consuming sufficient fiber and eating meals at regular intervals will also combat inflammation and help you stay the course so you can perform your best.
Take a peek into your fridge and make sure you have these five anti-inflammatory powerhouses on hand!
Not to be underestimated based on their size, blueberries are super high in an antioxidant called flavonoids which helps fight and reduce inflammation. Additionally, blueberries are jam packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese which support immune function and energy production. You can easily add blueberries to a post-workout recovery shake with TB12 Plant-Based Protein or add them to protein muffins. Tom's Favorite Smoothie also packs ½ cup of blueberries. Although blueberries are typically a summer fruit, try flash freezing them at the peak of freshness so you can enjoy them year round.
At TB12 we believe in following an 80/20 approach to nutrition. Fill 80% of your plate with plant-based foods like vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and the other 20% with clean and lean proteins. Try incorporating fatty fish such as wild salmon, herring, tuna, and seabass into your diet. They are a great source of protein and contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation and protect against conditions like heart and kidney disease, diabetes, and clogged arteries. After working out, connective tissue is damaged which often leads to inflammation. Make sure to eat a protein and omega-3 fatty acid rich meal, like fish, within 20-30 minutes of working out to help reduce inflammation and kickstart your recovery. We love steamed or oven-roasted fish with a squeeze of lemon and fresh herbs to bring out the natural freshness in the fish.
Dark Leafy Greens
They say eat your greens for a reason! Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens are rich in niacin, flavonoids, and carotenoids which help prevent inflammation and can reduce your risk of strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They’re also loaded with Vitamin K which supports bone density and high cognitive function. Lastly, they have ample fiber which supports regularity and can help prevent gut discomfort and inflammation. Try adding leafy greens to your smoothies, into egg scrambles, on top of a cauliflower crust pizza, or as the base of a vegan caesar salad. Avoid sautéing your greens in inflammatory oils or trans fats.
Avocadon’t get us started on this superfood staple of the TB12 diet! Avocados are loaded with healthy fats that support brain function, fiber which helps the body maintain a balanced microbiome, and carotenoids which helps prevent inflammation in the digestive tract. Because of avocado’s natural creaminess and mild taste, we love using avocados to make TB12 Avocado Ice Cream and our TB12 Lucky Green Smoothie. Or, if you'd rather go the traditional route, make our famous TB12 Chunky Guacamole and use it as a dip for seasonal veggies or spread on sweet potato toast.
Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice
One of our favorite stone fruits, cherries are rich in anthocyanins which are anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect against chronic disease and speed up recovery. Of all the varieties of cherries, tart cherries contain especially high concentrations of flavonoids which aids recovery and reduces muscle soreness. They can also function as a natural alternative to over-the-counter pain relievers because tart cherry’s plant compounds may block the same enzyme as OTCs. We love tart cherry so much that you’ll find it as the primary ingredient in TB12 Tart Cherry and TB12 Recover.
Interested in learning more? Read about inflammatory foods runners should avoid, see how inflammation can impact your mental health, and get more in depth information on how inflammation impacts performance. Find more anti-inflammatory foods in the TB12 Grocery List.