‘Anti inflammatory’ is a bit of a health buzzword lately, so we’ve decided to compile some summer favourites in order to keep your body at its peak.
It is safe to say, a large amount of the population rely on anti-inflammatory medicines day to day. But, there are alternative ways to fight inflammation by sourcing what is naturally available to us in food, in the form of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are compounds which ‘donate’ an electron to ‘free radicals’ – atoms which have odd numbers of electrons which can cause cellular damage in the body. This is thought to contribute to the likelihood of cancerous cells developing, as well as accelerating the effects of aging, so antioxidants are also thought to be extremely good for you.
However, this particular subject is one of the more hotly debated ones in dietary science, so just to be on the safe side, we’ll say that these foods are all healthy in their own right anyway, and if you’re a believer in the disease fighting effects of antioxidants, they should give you peace of mind.
The tomato is a fruit which has so many uses, health benefits, and dietary articles dedicated to it that it needs barely any introduction. The primary antioxidants found in in the tomato are lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin A. All of these will donate their electron to your cells to prevent the oxidising chain reaction occuring. They’re also low in calories and taste great. Throw chopped cherry tomatoes into a pasta with the sauce and let them mildly steam – eating them as raw as possible works best
In truth, tomatoes are one of the most versatile, healthy and useful fruits on the planet. They can grow in extreme hardship, the leaves and stems of the plant itself are naturally poisonous to a range of predators, the plant has the characteristics of both a vine and a tall stemmed plant – it self seeds, it’s easy to grow for beginners. A bucket and a stick and some compost are all you really need to get growing!
Sadly we’re abusing the ocean to fuel our love for fatty fish. It’s a difficult situation, as demand is huge and the nutritional value of these creatures is unbelievable. Farmed salmon is prone to disease and overcrowding, whilst wild stocks are dwindling because of our continued pollution of their habitats.
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, very well publicised antioxidants and anti inflammatory agents. You’ll find good amounts in salmon, mackerel, lake trout, sardines and tuna.
Enter the mackerel. If you are going to eat fish, this is the one to go for. Extremely plentiful, often travelling the globe in swarms, this is a fish that you can always rely on, that doesn’t suffer from extensive overfishing. Sardines and herring are also as sustainable, thankfully.
The acidic taste of pineapple is loved by some, but not all of us. Many find the fruit’s mouth-stinging qualities a little uncomfortable, and it’s interesting to note that the pineapple is acidic enough that the stinging feeling is it literally melting the inside of your mouth. But only slightly. The pineapple PH aside, this fruit is delicious and filled with the stuff your body needs.
The reason we’ve included pineapple is its mysterious tendency to suck up manganese, a rare compound, from the soil around it. This element is critical for antioxidants to be developed internally within the body, on top of the fibre and vitamin C in the fruit. As such eating pineapple in the summer isn’t a bad choice, particularly given the fruit can be frozen inside its own juice into delicious, textured lollies for all to enjoy.
The arcane, pseudo-magical properties of ginger are well known in its storied career as a staple of folk medicine across the world, particularly in china and southeast asia. The bulbous root is rarely seen doing what it is supposed to do – generating a dark green leafy plant with the occasional fragrant flower. We barely see ginger like this, and it’s easy to see why.
The ginger root is profoundly delicious. Extracted into an ale, it provides a cool summer drink and can even be coaxed into having delicious alcoholic properties if that’s what you’re into. But the real deal with ginger is as a tea, brewed in boiling water. It can ease inflammation in the stomach and is known for this the most.
Incorporating ginger into your summer beverages couldn’t be easier – just make it along with ice tea using teabags. Brew separately, and combine both teas with sweet fruit and citruses to combine and percolate overnight in a large jar. This tea can be further watered down with a little fizz, or drunk on its own with more ice. It’s really good for you.
Just eat more dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is out of style, too sugary and fatty. Dark is where it’s at. The 70% cocoa variants are for true chocaholics, and you’ll find it’s anti inflammatory properties to be good for peace of mind. It’s also really good refrigerated, interestingly. There’s nothing worse than warm chocolate.
To get this chocolate treat into your summer picnic, you really can’t go wrong with the tried and tested method of melting it, putting a fruit on a stick, dipping it in, double dipping in finely chopped nuts (also good for you) and refrigerating. Make the biggest most varied summer fruit kebabs that you can. They’re absolutely fine, with dark chocolate at least.