Food plays an important role in controlling inflammation. We’ve put together a full week of recipes using foods that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Help manage your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by eating right!
Breakfast: Cherry coconut porridge
For a twist on traditional oatmeal porridge, add dried (or fresh) tart cherries. They contain anthocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant that may help cut down inflammation.
Lunch: Thai pumpkin soup
Pumpkins are an excellent source of beta-cryptoxanthin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. This antioxidant is absorbed best when paired with a fat, making the butter and oil in this recipe important for more than just flavor. Pumpkin skins are edible which makes preparing this soup very easy! Serve this soup with a mixed green salad for a healthy lunch or as the first course of a holiday dinner.
Dinner: Curried potatoes with poached eggs
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast! Serve them poached with potatoes and a fresh garden salad for a nutritious dinner. If poached eggs aren’t your thing, try sautéing them in a nonstick skillet. Eggs from pastured hens or those purchased from farmers markets are typically higher in omega-3 fatty acids, known anti-inflammatory fats.
Breakfast: Raspberry smoothie
Looking for a quick and easy breakfast on the go? Try a smoothie. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Just grab it and go before you head out the door!
Lunch: Mediterranean tuna salad
Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Serve it on top of mixed greens or spread onto whole grain bread. This recipe is high in sodium, so you can scale it back by choosing low-sodium canned tuna, and by reducing the amount of capers and olives.
Dinner: Slow cooker turkey chili
On a cold winter evening, nothing warms you up like a big bowl of chili. Remember that foods high in salt may aggravate your symptoms by promoting fluid retention. In this recipe, you can reduce the sodium content by using fresh jalapenos and choosing low-sodium canned beans or using beans cooked from dry. Although delicious by itself, you can top it with a little organic nonfat Greek yogurt or some fresh avocado.
Breakfast: Gingerbread oatmeal
Omega-3 fatty acids are a key ingredient in helping to reduce the inflammation of arthritis and other joint problems, but getting enough of it every day can be challenging. This oatmeal tastes great and gets you half your daily requirements of omega-3s — and no, we didn’t add any salmon to it.
Lunch: Kale Caesar salad with grilled chicken wrap
Whole roasted chicken, often found in the neighborhood supermarket, is a great time saver for quick meals. Pick up two — one for dinner that evening and another for these tasty lunch wraps. They’re perfect to toss into your lunch bag. If avoiding gluten, choose a gluten-free wrap.
Dinner: Baked tilapia with pecan rosemary topping
Tilapia is a good source of selenium, a mineral shown to help improve arthritis symptoms. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner with the family, but can also be served as a fancier dish. If avoiding gluten, choose gluten-free breadcrumbs for this recipe. If you’re not a tilapia eater, trout or cod would work well in this recipe.
Breakfast: Rhubarb, apple, and ginger muffins
Not only does ginger taste great in these quick and easy gluten-free and dairy-free muffins, but it’s also an excellent anti-inflammatory, helping to ease arthritis pain.
Lunch: Winter fruit salad with agave-pomegranate vinaigrette
Persimmons, pears, and grapes — oh my! If you’re taking this salad to work, you’ll want to keep the fruit separate from the dressing. Otherwise, it will saturate and soften the fruit too much. Toss the remaining ingredients into a separate container and when you’re ready to eat, simply mix it all together and enjoy!
Dinner: Italian-style stuffed red peppers
Instead of a tomato-based pasta sauce, this recipe uses red peppers, which are full of vitamin C and beta carotene.
Breakfast: Buckwheat and ginger granola
Lunch: Roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup
This antioxidant-rich soup freezes easily so you can prepare it ahead for the week. Roasting the sweet potatoes before simmering will make the flavors more pronounced. To reduce the sodium, try fresh roasted red peppers instead of the ones from a jar.
Dinner: Lemon herb salmon and zucchini
Steaming fish and poultry is a great way to lock in flavor, moisture, vitamins, and minerals. Be sure to serve the fish with some of the steaming liquid, as the liquid will soak up the flavor from the salmon and vegetables.
Breakfast: Baby spinach and mushroom frittata
Similar to omelets or quiches, frittatas provide a backdrop for an endless combination of ingredients. In this case, we’re using nutrient-rich mushrooms and spinach that are both bursting with flavor.
Lunch: Smoked salmon potato tartine
More omega-3s, please. Trade in the tuna for salmon and serve with a green salad or a cup of soup for a filling meal.
Dinner: Sweet potato black bean burgers
These burgers are so fantastic, you may just want to give up eating beef patties. Load up on vitamin C and beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and easily digestible nutrients from the sprouts.
Breakfast: Gluten-free crepes
Many people think crepes are difficult to make. On the contrary, they’re easy to prepare and a great way to make any meal special. Try filling these crepes with sliced strawberries or bananas. Alternately, you can make them for dinner and fill them with a stew or leftover chicken.
Lunch: Red lentil and squash curry stew
This is a great make-ahead soup. Simply portion into single servings, freeze, and then pop one into your lunch sack for work. It should be thawed out enough to reheat in the microwave when lunchtime rolls around.
Dinner: Turkey and quinoa stuffed bell peppers
Stuffed peppers are a 1950s classic, but this recipe gives it a modern overhaul. Instead of packing the stuffing with calorie-busting bread, use quinoa, one of the world’s most powerful superfoods. Skip the green peppers and go for red, yellow, or orange peppers for a sweeter taste.