Researchers tested the acute effects of two meals on various markers of inflammation. One meal was rich in monounsaturated fatty acids from macademia nut oil while the other was rich in medium chain saturated fats from coconut oil. Although there were no significant differences between the effects of the two meals on CRP (which was unchanged) or IL-6 (which increased), the coconut oil-rich meal led to significant changes in the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. The researchers conclude that “Medium-chain SFA seems more proinflammatory than MUFA, judged by the gene expression in muscle and adipose tissue of [subjects].” View the entire paper here.
Researchers found that the serum levels of omega-3 PUFAs were inversely associated with serum CRP levels, confirming that higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (especially the longer-chain fatty acids found in fish) reduces systemic inflammation. View the study.
A four-year study of people with a hereditary risk of colon cancer found that those who took 600mg of aspirin a day had a “substantially” lower incidence of colon cancer without any increased risk of adverse events. The anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin are a likely explanation for the effect. Read more about this study.
Mango salsa makes a luscious accompaniment to a simple grilled or broiled fish. If fresh mangoes are not available, you can use mangoes from a jar, although there is some loss of nutrients and flavor.
4 mahi mahi steaks (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 mangoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (2 cups)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
Salt, to taste
1. Place fish in shallow dish. Place 1/2 cup lime juice in a small bowl and add oil in thin stream, whisking briskly. Pour over fish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2. Combine mangoes, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, remaining lime juice, ginger, pepper, zest, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside for ten minutes to allow flavors to mingle.
3. Grill or broil mahi mahi until just cooked through. Serve with salsa.
IF Rating (per serving): +297
If you find the raw garlic too sharp in flavor, try roasting the unpeeled garlic cloves in a foil packet along with the eggplant. With a sharp knife, cut the tips off of the roasted cloves and squeeze to extract the roasted garlic paste.
2 small eggplants
2 (or more) cloves garlic, roasted if desired
2 T olive oil
6 black olives, pitted
1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 pieces sun-dried tomato
2 cups cannellini (white kidney) beans, cooked and drained
2 anchovy fillets (or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste), optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Roast the eggplant (and garlic, if desired) in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool briefly.
2. Peel eggplant and garlic and place in bowl of food processor. Add olive oil, pitted black olives, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, beans, anchovy fillets, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse mixture until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm or cold.
IF Rating (per serving): +104
This soup has a complex flavor profile but is very simple to make, with ingredients that you are likely to have on hand. Look for dried chili peppers in the fresh produce section of the grocery store.
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in large slices
5 cups chicken stock
1 dried hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a large saucepan or soup pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chili pepper and discard.
2. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender, 2 to 3 cups at a time. Puree until smooth.
3. Return to soup pot and heat to serving temperature. Stir in cilantro immediately before serving.
IF Rating (per serving): +293
This salad will have the brightest color and flavor if the broccoli is cooked until just tender-crisp, but still bright green. Blanching the broccoli in cold water assures that it does not get mushy.
12 almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 clove garlic, minced
4 cups broccoli florets
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1. Using steamer basket, steam broccoli over boiling water until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Run broccoli under cool water to stop cooking and drain.
2. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and 1/2 teaspoon of oil to hot pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until nuts are just toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and stir until coated. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Whisk together juice, vinegar, ginger, zest, pepper, remaining soy sauce, and garlic in medium bowl. Add remaining oil to liquid in a thin stream, whisking briskly.
4. Add broccoli and scallions to dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.
IF Rating (per serving): +152
Subjects taking two grams of powdered ginger root every day for 28 days had decreased markers of inflammation in the lining of the colon, suggesting that ginger’s powerful anti-inflammatory effect could reduce risk of colon cancer.
Pregnant women with higher CRP levels had more complications and preterm deliveries. Elevated CRP appeared to be linked to diets with a high glycemic index.
People who sleep poorly or do not get enough sleep have higher levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, researchers have found. Inflammation may be one way poor sleep quality increases the risks for heart disease and stroke, researchers conclude.
Read more about the study.