Cooking – Anti-Inflammatory Diet

It had been proven that a healthy diet is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Modern technology and the detailed analyses of the foods we eat have provided us with a plethora of information on every nutritional product we consume. Our forefathers used specific foods, herbs and spices to cure or relieve the symptoms of diseases. It has been proven that they knew more about the medicinal properties of food than what we give them credit for.

Ancient Chinese medical men used the anti-inflammatory properties of certain spices and herbs to treat a large variety of illnesses. One of these ailments, which millions suffer from, is arthritis. The inflammation in the joints, and the severe pain that accompanies it, makes arthritis a serious debilitating condition. Fortunately arthritis sufferers have access to many anti-inflammatory foods and herbs to dramatically reduce the effects of this disease.

There are verified cases of young tennis players who suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. These players had to forfeit tournament matches due to the pain and stiffness in their joints. The players, some as young as 12, were put on anti-inflammatory diets with remarkable results. Gone were the sunburned-color of the inflammation around their knees, elbows and wrists and the inhibiting stiffness in the joints. By using anti-inflammatory herbs and foods these young tennis players could compete freely and reach the pinnacle of their careers.

Oxidation and inflammation goes hand in hand. Antioxidants prevent inflammation by eliminating the free radicals that damage cells. Proper nutrition prevents inflammation by boosting the proteins that fight inflammation. Anti-inflammatory herbs have highly concentrated antioxidants to combat inflammation.

Turmeric is a spice that is used by many nations. This cousin of ginger outperforms pharmaceuticals in combating debilitating diseases, without any side effects. Turmeric contains more than twelve compounds that fight inflammation.

Ginger is a tasty spice that is widely used for cooking. Few know about the multitude of medicinal properties that ginger possesses. It has analgesic properties, anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory activities. Ginger affects the body on the smallest cellular level. Other herbs and spices with similar properties are cloves, cinnamon, oregano, sage and marjoram.

The most exciting aspect of medicinal herbs and foods is that they taste delicious. Here is a mouthwatering recipe of one such meal.

Grilled Eggplant Salad
Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

1 Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 large red onion, cut into rounds
Canola oil
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped oregano leaves
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon zest
Parsley sprigs for Garnish

1. Brush the eggplant and red onions with canola oil and arrange on the grill. Cook the eggplant until soft and grill the onions until they have a slight char.
2. Remove from the grill to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Once cool, roughly chop and add them to a serving bowl along with the avocado.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, Dijon and oregano.
4. Add honey and olive oil, to taste, and blend until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the dressing to the eggplant mixture and toss.
6. Garnish with lemon zest and parsley sprigs. Serve.