Arthritis. Is. Terrible.
I know this because it is a symptom of lupus, and since I came down with a cold last week, I’ve been having lots of it. This is my first flare-up in years, so I’m considering it a wake-up call. I know what I should and should not be eating, and yet I still slip up and eat sugar, white flour, cheese, and sometimes vegetable oil. And while the arthritis was triggered by the virus, I allowed my immune system to become weak enough to contract the cold in the first place. Well, now I’m paying for it.
Inflammation is not just a problem for people with arthritis. It manifests itself in many different ways — heart disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, acne, MS, diverticulitis, IBS, etc. What many people do not realize is that what you eat directly affects the level of inflammation in your body. For example, a diet high in refined sugars, processed foods, and saturated fats promotes inflammation. On the other hand, a diet high in leafy greens, berries, orange vegetables, garlic, onions, nuts, and certain spices reduces inflammation.
Here is a list of some inflammation-promoting foods:
- Refined sugar (go for honey or molasses instead)
- Common cooking oils
- Dairy products
- Trans fats
- Meat raised in a feedlot (high in hormones and saturated fat)
- Processed meat
- Refined grains (aka, sugar)
- Artificial food additives
Some anti-inflammatory foods:
- Wild-caught salmon (limit once per week)
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Green tea
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark, leafy greens
I decided to make a soup that contains as many of the anti-inflammatory ingredients as possible (that I had on hand). What I came up with is this delicious soup, which contains sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger. I then topped it with walnuts, which are not on the list, but have anti-inflammatory properties of their own. This soup turned out well, and it made a great lunch! Even if you are not suffering from any noticeable signs of inflammation, you could probably benefit from this soup. Plus, it’s delicious!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 30-45 mins in warm water
- 4-5 large carrots, juiced
- 1 inch piece of ginger root, juiced (with the carrots)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 1/4 t. ground turmeric
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: walnut pieces
- Bake sweet potatoes at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes.
- While potatoes are baking, juice the carrots and ginger, producing about 1 1/4 cups of juice. Pour into blender.
- In a small saucepan, heat a splash of water or broth over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Add to blender.
- Add the cashews, peeled sweet potatoes, turmeric, water, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth.
- Garnish with walnuts and more black pepper, if desired.
For extra antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, drink a mug of green tea with ginger and lemon!