Tara Gidus

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Track workouts, tempo runs, weight training, and steady state distance running are essentials in the runner’s training program. It doesn’t matter whether you are training for your first 5K or 20th marathon; every runner fights the same problem: inflammation.

While the inflammatory response is needed for the body to adapt to training so you can become a better runner, too much inflammation can slow down recovery time and lead to injury. Knowing what to eat to fight inflammation will keep your body strong. Incorporate these foods into your meal plan to protect your body from the inside out!

Kefir: (pronounced Key-fur) Kefir is fermented milk that is full of probiotics or “healthy gut bacteria” that are needed for a strong immune system. Get more probiotics in your diet by eating other fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha tea, sauerkraut, and pickled beets.

Salmon: This fish is packed full of omega-3 fats which are warriors at reducing inflammation. Athletes that consume fatty fish or supplement their diet with omega-3s, have lower levels of inflammation, muscle soreness, and injury. Toss salmon in a salad or serve it as the main entrée. Amp up on an array of omega-3 powerhouses, like halibut, tuna, mackerel, seaweed (dulse), walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

Tart Cherry Juice: Cherries are packed with antioxidants that help control the inflammatory response by decreasing the number of pro-inflammatory cells. Tart cherry juice has become an increasingly popular recovery food for athletes because it can help reduce muscle damage. Get even more antioxidant benefit with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and kiwi.

Kale:  This dark leafy green is rich in phytonutrients or “plant nutrition,” which aids in reducing inflammation. The deeper the green, the more phytonutrients it has! Don’t want kale? Try these worthy opponents: bok choy, collard greens, spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard.

Turmeric: Don’t forget your herbs and spices! Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that can act like a mild aspirin. Other herbs that have anti-inflammatory components are mint, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary and oregano.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.