10 Easy Food Swaps to Lower Inflammation

Kitchen Knowledge Lifestyle | Published January 1, 2024 by Mimi Council

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With the new year upon us, you may be turning to healthier food choices. So many people, 32% according to Forbes, are making new year’s resolutions around an improved diet. While making healthier choices can improve your overall health, inflammation may be at the root of some of your health issues.

Inflammation is a natural immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to various health problems. So making mindful food choices can be a powerful tool in managing inflammation. So I’m sharing 10 easy food swaps to lower inflammation!

rainbow fruits and veggies

Mocktails for Cocktails

Ah yes, alcohol — something you may be wanting to take a break from after the holidays! Alcohol causes inflammation due to the toxins that it releases, and it weakens the immune system. So, switching from cocktails to mocktails is an easy way to lower inflammation. Just be sure you’re switching to a drink without added sugar. Try Nixie Organic Sparkling Water with a spritz of lemon, which is one of my faves!

Kale Chips for Chips

There’s no substitute for crunching down on a salty chip, I’ll admit it. But most chips are fried in seed oils (sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, or soybean oil). And seed oils are known to have high levels of omega 6 which can cause of inflammation. So instead of buying chips, make my Best Homemade Kale Chips! This recipe will satisfy your crispy, crunchy, and salty craving and it’s made with extra virgin olive oil!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Canola Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is anti-inflammatory due to its high levels of antioxidants, while canola oil is an inflammatory oil because of its high levels of omega 6. Consuming excess amounts of omega 6 can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. So, swapping your canola oil for olive oil is an easy and healthy swap!

Homemade Granola for Cereal

Processed foods like cereal tend to have more added sugars, which can lead to inflammation. So, swapping out store bought cereal for a homemade granola is a big step in the right direction to lower inflammation. Check out some of my favorite homemade granola recipes with no refined sugar, like my Chocolate Olive Oil Honey Granola or my Maple Cinnamon Olive Oil Granola.

maple cinnamon olive oil granola

Kombucha for Pop

Yes, I say pop – I’m from the Chicago! Pop (or soda) has loads of added sugars. It’s basically just sugar water. But, I know the feeling of craving a cold and bubbly drink. So, swap out your pop for kombucha! Kombucha is cold, bubbly, and loaded with probiotics and tea.

Chickpea Pasta for Pasta

Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, gluten can cause inflammation. So, if you love pasta, it could be contributing to inflammation. But Food to Live just came out with an Organic Chickpea Pasta that is made from one ingredient — chickpeas! This pasta is so good! I tried this last month, and you all know I eat (and love) gluten, and I’m backing this! You can replace this pasta in any pasta recipe you like. It does break easier than traditional pasta, but that’s expected as it’s made from one ingredient! I’d rather have a few broken noodles than stabilizers in my pasta! Another benefit of this Chickpea Pasta is it has high protein! That was one of the reasons I wanted to try it, so it also adds more protein to a pasta dish.

baked feta broccoli lemon pasta

Nutritional Yeast for Parmesan

Dairy is inflammatory, so for me I’ve always had the motto of “cheese when you really need it”. Things like pizza, grilled cheese — obviously, yes cheese! But I’ve been adding nutritional yeast to my pasta when I don’t have Parmesan in the fridge, and it’s a really good substitute! It’s a salty topper, just like Parmesan and it also has lots of protein so you can use it on pasta, salads, or pizza!

Gluten Free Cookies for Cookies

Enjoying some sugar is something I can’t give up. It’s a moment to myself, a moment of indulgence, a treat after something hard. It’s important to me. So, when I’m trying to lower inflammation, then I’ll default to gluten free cookies because that’s less inflammation than if I’m eating sugar and gluten! And I have some amazing gluten free cookie recipes that you won’t even miss the gluten in! Try my recipe for Dark Chocolate Toffee Almond Cookies or The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Both of these recipes are naturally gluten free and so crave worthy!

dark chocolate toffee almond cookies

Smoothie for Juice

If you prefer to drink your fruits, then swapping a smoothie for juice is a much better way to do that. Most all juices have added sugars, which is unnecessary! And sugar causes inflammation, so there’s no need to consume added sugars when they are not necessary. So making your own smoothie is the way to get in fruits and veggies that won’t cause inflammation. When making smoothies just be sure you’re using whole fruits and veggies (frozen is fine!). And be sure your other ingredients are free of added sugars. So, use add ins like coconut milk, almond milk, water, yogurt, ice, or nut butters. Some of my favorite smoothie recipes are Mango Berry Smoothie or my Tropical Cranberry Smoothie.

Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate

Swapping dark chocolate for milk chocolate is an easy and simple way to reduce inflammation. Milk chocolate has milk and dairy is inflammatory. Most all dark chocolate does not contain milk (but be sure to check ingredients just to be sure). I’ve always been more of a dark chocolate fan anyways over milk chocolate, so I think this is easy! Plus, dark chocolate can have anti-inflammatory benefits when eaten in moderation! Hell yes!

berry smoothie with woman adding a bluebery on top

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