Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Better Health

“Inflammation has become the latest buzzword in health and wellness circles, and it’s making a name for itself as the underlying cause of a plethora of diseases.” And so begins Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD. It does appear that current research supports the link between chronic inflammation and conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

How does this type of inflammation result? From having a high-fat diet and smoking. As well, having excess belly fat can really fire up your body’s inflammatory response, one that’s believed to damage arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke.

Babb contends that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can help relieve inflammation and therefore reduce the risk of these diseases. Though there’s not a lot of evidence that touts one specific diet over another, what researchers are finding is that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, olive oil and omega-3 sources such as salmon  — all of which fit with the Mediterranean diet — does seem to help.

Of course, not all inflammation is bad — for example, the kind that helps stop a cut from bleeding. But if you think your diet and your body are in need of a tune-up, then consider Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy, which includes 75 recipes covering everything from breakfast and healthy snacks to vegetarian and hint-of-meat main dishes. Babb also includes a 21-day nutritional cleanse, sample menu plans, shopping lists and guidelines for pantry items, along with a thorough explanation of what inflammation is and how it affects you.

To get a taste of what’s inside Inflammatory Eating Made Easy, check out the following recipe for Mediterranean Salmon Skewers.

Mediterranean Salmon Skewers

photo by hilary mcmullen
photo by hilary mcmullen

There’s something about putting food on skewers that almost immediately makes it more interesting to eat. I love using salmon when making these skewers in the spring and summer months, and I’m more inclined to use lamb in fall and winter. You can choose which type of protein you’d like to use (the marinade works well on most types of fish, meat or poultry) and then switch up the veggies for a whole new experience. I find that it helps to put your picky eaters to work on the skewer assembly line so they can custom-make a couple skewers with their favorite ingredients.

Makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 pound salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small head broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, lime juice and zest, garlic, oregano, mint and salt.

2. Combine the salmon, mushrooms, broccoli and squash in a baking dish. Drizzle with the marinade and gently toss until the salmon and vegetables are well coated.

3. Layer the salmon, vegetables and olives on the skewers, alternating the order on each skewer.

4. Place the skewers on a broiler pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking.

© 2014 by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD. All right reserved. Excerpted from Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy by permission of Sasquatch Books.

Lisa is the director of content strategy at Zipongo. Her experiences include editorial and strategy at both start-ups and enterprise companies along with cooking at a top restaurant in NYC.

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