Amplifying Your Diet with Anti-Inflammatory Snacks
Has your doctor suggested cutting out inflammatory foods? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly 20% of the American population suffers from chronic inflammation. Or maybe you simply heard the buzz surrounding anti-inflammatory diets and came to see what all the fuss is about? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of inflammation and how you can replace pro-inflammatory foods in your diet with delicious anti-inflammatory snacks instead.
How Can Food Be Anti-Inflammatory?
First of all, what exactly is inflammation? And what causes it? Inflammation occurs in the body when your immune system senses and subsequently attempts to fight off a foreign invader. These invaders can be anything from viruses and bacteria to chemicals or pollen. When an invader is actually present in your body, inflammation is a good thing. But sometimes inflammation persists even when there’s nothing to fight. This is known as chronic inflammation, and it has been linked to numerous health conditions such as arthritis, depression, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
So where does food come into play in all this? Well, research has pointed out that some foods may increase inflammation while others decrease it. This is partially due to the fact that pro-inflammatory foods (like those cooked in repeate dly used vegetable oil) lead to the production of free radicals while anti-inflammatory foods contain antioxidants. A healthy body needs a balance of free radicals and antioxidants to prevent oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals and often contributes to chronic inflammation. The antioxidants present in anti-inflammatory snacks help fight back against this free radical damage.
Below, we’ve listed some examples of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods.
- Anything high in refined carbohydrates or saturated fats.
- Red meat.
- Artificial sweeteners.
- Dairy products.
- Omega 3 fatty acids (often found in fatty fish).
- Nuts and seeds.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Fruits (especially berries).
Why Reach for Anti-Inflammatory Snacks?
Aside from worsening existing inflammation, pro-inflammatory foods might also contribute to the development of serious diseases when consumed frequently and in large quantities. In fact, one study conducted in 2020 found that those who consistently ate pro-inflammatory foods were at a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and had a worse cholesterol profile compared to those who had a less inflammatory diet.
So, even if you don’t experience chronic inflammation, sticking to anti-inflammatory snacks could help lower your risk of developing health conditions associated with inflammation. In addition to cardiovascular disease, these conditions might include diabetes, cancer, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
Choosing the Best of the Best
The best anti-inflammatory diet shouldn’t just avoid pro-inflammatory foods though. It should also make an effort to incorporate anti-inflammatory snacks as much as possible. When purchasing anti-inflammatory snacks, it’s important to keep an eye on the ingredients to make sure what you’re getting is truly made without any inflammatory agents. You may want to avoid foods containing artificial sweeteners, saturated fats, and excessive amounts of margarine or shortening. Snacks cooked in vegetable oil may also be pro-inflammatory.
Anti-Inflammatory Snacks for Every Type of Diet
Contrary to popular belief, making the switch to anti-inflammatory snacks is pretty easy. There are plenty of delicious anti-inflammatory foods out there that can fit in with just about any dietary restrictions. Let’s run through a quick list of a few examples.
Fruits and veggies are perhaps the best examples of anti-inflammatory snacks that are also vegan. Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale) and berries (like strawberries and blackberries) are packed with antioxidants, helping your body combat oxidative stress caused by an imbalance of free radicals.
If you’re looking to spice up your boring fruit and veggie routine though, consider dipping your raw veggies in hummus for an added boost of anti-inflammatory properties. Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are also packed full of antioxidants. And, for our fruit lovers, try blending up a fruit smoothie or channeling your inner child with some applesauce. Applesauce is particularly high in fiber, making it another great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Gluten Free Snacks
Found in various types of fatty fish, omega 3 fatty acids are a fabulous gluten free source of antioxidants. Examples of fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, oysters, and anchovies. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the taste of fish, there are ways to make this snack more palatable. Consider trying out smoked dishes like smoked salmon and utilizing anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as garlic, cloves, rosemary, or cilantro.
Nuts and seeds (like flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts) are another source of omega 3 fatty acids. Flax seeds and chia seeds can be easily incorporated into your usual breakfast routine, especially in oatmeal. Nuts like almonds and walnuts can be enjoyed on their own or with a very light sprinkling of sea salt.
Your One-Stop Snack: Jackson’s Chips
Looking for a snack that meets all the requirements we’ve talked about today? Look no further than Jackson’s Sweet Potato Chips! Our delicious chips are vegan, gluten free, and made only with premium oils, never vegetable oil. In fact, some of our snacks utilize avocado oil, with avocados being a great source of antioxidants like vitamin E. Not to mention, sweet potatoes on their own have been classed as an anti-inflammatory food, making these chips a better-for-you alternative to the traditional potato chip, which is often drowned in saturated fats. Pick up a bag of Jackson’s Sweet Potato Chips online or in your local grocery store to start snacking super today!
- Inflammation occurs when your body attempts to fight off an invading substance.
- Inflammatory foods contain free radicals, which cause oxidative stress, while anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants to combat free radical damage.
- Replacing an inflammatory diet with anti-inflammatory snacks not only reduces chronic inflammation, but it could also lower your risk of developing certain health conditions related to inflammation, such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
- Beware of snacks cooked in vegetable oil or that contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners and saturated fats.