The trendy wellness term “anti-inflammatory” gets thrown around a lot these days. But, unlike other health fads, there’s a lot to be said for anti-inflammatory diets and loading up on whole food anti-inflammatory nutrients! Since chronic inflammation is linked to a slew of negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, trying to find ways to manage chronic inflammation is clearly essential when supporting our overall health.
The keyword here is chronic inflammation. In acute instances — like when we’re sick or working out — inflammation can benefit our body and speed recovery time. The problem occurs when inflammation turns chronic. From excess stress to fried foods to environmental toxins, many factors contribute to chronic inflammation in the body.
And of course, what we choose to eat can play a significant role in whether we experience chronic inflammation.
The good news? There are tons of delicious ways to add anti-inflammatory foods to our diet, including the snacks we eat. Hint: it’s more than baked salmon and veggies! We’re talking about convenient snack ideas that help keep your body healthy with very minimal effort. Read on for all you need to know!
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5 Quick & Easy Anti-inflammatory Snacks
Taking taste, convenience, and availability into consideration, finding anti-inflammatory snacks can be a bit more challenging. Let’s face it — many go-to snack choices include fried and super-sweet options. But with a little know-how, your snacks can support your efforts to combat chronic inflammation while still enjoying your snack time.
Here are five quick and easy anti-inflammatory snacks to include in your rotation.
Tuna Salad with Whole Grain Crackers
Whipping up a tuna salad with some canned tuna and avocado is simple to do — even if you don’t have access to a refrigerator. Along with other fatty fish, tuna is a source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that may reduce inflammation. People who eat adequate amounts of DHA and EPA experience a reduction in a marker of inflammation, meaning these nutrients may help support healthy inflammation levels.
If you don’t like tuna, canned salmon works just as well. Enjoy your salad with whole-grain crackers or sliced veggies for an anti-inflammatory snack that’s protein-packed.
Trail Mix with Nuts, Seeds, and Unsweetened Dried Fruit
Aside from packing a punch of plant-based protein and vitamins, most nuts are jam-packed with plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Make yourself a homemade trail mix by mixing up a blend of unsalted nuts and seeds along with unsweetened dried fruit like raisins or goji berries for a nutrient-dense nosh. A yummy snack that’s easy to eat when on the go!
Roasted Chickpeas or Lentils
Pulses like chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and lentils contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that make them a perfect anti-inflammatory snack. While most people don’t want to snack on a bowl of stewed lentils in the middle of a busy day, eating crunchy roasted lentils or chickpeas is totally satisfying.
Sprinkle your snack with some turmeric and a pinch of sea salt for a unique flavor boost if you don’t enjoy this snack in its natural state.
Avocado Sliced Wrapped in Nori Sheets
Like many other anti-inflammatory foods, avocados are packed with healthy fats that help combat chronic inflammation. Plus, this popular fruit is a natural source of many other important nutrients like fiber and magnesium, making it an all-around good choice for a healthy diet.
Wrap sliced avocado in dried nori sheets for a savory snack that’s low-cal, full of minerals, and free from added sugars and excess sodium.
RELATED: 7 Reasons to Add Avocado to Your Diet
Fruit Salad with Plain Greek Yogurt
Contrary to what the internet tells you, not all dairy yogurts are a cause of inflammation. Remember: we’re all individuals with different needs! Just because dairy causes inflammation for one person does not mean it will do the same for you. The takeaway? Listen to your body!
If dairy sits well for you, try a protein-packed Greek yogurt bowl for a simple anti-inflammatory snack. To keep it tasty and balanced, top it with some fresh fruit and stick to an unsweetened yogurt brand!
Inflammatory Snacks to Avoid (& The Anti-Inflammatory Fix)
Aside from loading up on good-for-you nutrients, navigating the right snacks to eat means avoiding sneaky inflammation-causing foods. Generally speaking, foods that are fried, packed with added sugars, made with refined carbohydrates, or ultra-processed meats can promote inflammation — especially if these foods are consumed frequently.
Here are three popular snacks that should be avoided if you are trying to combat chronic inflammation naturally.
Donuts and Cookies
Like the sugar found in most donuts and cookies, refined sugar is pro-inflammatory and should be extremely limited when following an anti-inflammatory diet. If a sweet tooth strikes, stick to fresh fruit instead or try making a homemade treat using healthier ingredients.
The anti-inflammatory fix: We’re all about curbing your cravings in a healthy way. When you’re craving something sweet, try munching on fresh fruit with a side of almonds or a couple of pitted Medjool dates with almond butter. When cookie cravings strike, you can make a nutrient-dense homemade protein cookie where you can skip the added refined sugar.
Sure, pretzels are low in fat and are not fried. But these snacks are typically made from refined white flour, an ingredient that may be pro-inflammatory. Choose whole-grain snacks like whole-grain crackers, air-popped popcorn, or veggie chips instead of refined white flour-forward snacks.
The anti-inflammatory fix: For a satisfying crunch that’s totally guilt-free, try snacking on superfood Kale chips. These kale chips are dehydrated, so they maintain their nutrients and are packed with anti-inflammatory goodness.
Fried Potato Chips
Fried foods are one of the biggest culprits of increasing inflammation in a person’s body. From potato chips to fries to fried pork rinds, items submerged in refined oil and heated are foods that should be reserved for special occasions only.
The anti-inflammatory fix: Make your own veggie chips! There are so many yummy choices to choose from — sweet potatoes, beets, zucchini, parsnips, celery root… The options are endless! Simply slice your favorite veggies into a thin strip, drizzle with a little olive oil, and bake to crispy perfection.
Choosing Anti-Inflammatory Snacks To Support Your Health
When trying to combat chronic inflammation and support your overall health, know that you don’t have to give up snacks to accomplish this goal. Instead, focus on snacks made from foods that have anti-inflammatory ingredients and are free from added sugars, fried foods, and refined grains to support your ultimate health goal in a delicious and approachable way. With a little practice, you will know how to create the ultimate anti-inflammatory snack simply by combining nutrient-packed and anti-inflammatory foods that you already know and love.