Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating bland food. In fact, combining healthy ingredients with pain-fighting fare can result in a mouthwatering dish that both helps you keep your weight-related New Year’s resolutions and decrease pain and inflammation.
Fight More than Nausea
Ginger, a common go-to remedy for colds and upset stomachs, actually boasts a plethora of other health benefits. Studies have suggested that ginger can ease migraines, lower blood pressure and also reduce cramps. But wait, there’s more. Research from the University of Michigan has shown that ginger may be successful in battling ovarian cancer cells.
When it comes to pain, ginger possesses incredible inflammation-reducing properties. It can decrease pain and improve mobility for those with joint pain, as well as decrease pain and swelling in people experiencing muscle discomfort.
Ginger’s vibrant flavor means it adds a punch to any dish. Take for instance this Eating Well recipe for Mango Salad with Ginger-Raisin Vinaigrette, which is not only packed full of flavor, but is also low in calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, saturated fats and sodium. It’s also gluten free. The added health benefits of mango, which can improve digestions and bone health, make this a truly healthy option.
For a dish with more protein, consider this low-calorie Eating Well recipe for Pork Chops with Pear and Ginger Sauce. The pears are rich in antioxidants and fiber, and contain vitamin C, meaning they’re good for your immune system. The dish itself is low in sodium, but high in potassium, and takes only 40 minutes to prepare, making it a healthy weeknight dinner option.
Spice it Up
Capsaicin, the spicy element of hot peppers, turns out to be a health powerhouse. Not only does it fight inflammation and relieve pain, but new science from the University of Wyoming suggests it may also speed up metabolism and help you lose weight. Research presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research Annual Research Conference showed that capsaicin may also help fight lung cancer.
Take advantage of all that hot peppers have to offer with this simple, three-ingredient recipe for Chili Pepper Poppers with Smashed Avocado from Meatified.com. The addition of avocado brings an abundance of nutrients to the dish, including vitamin K (to improve bone health) and folate (to lower the risk of depression and some cancers), in addition to a good amount of monounsaturated fat, which helps reduce bad cholesterol.
For a healthy dose of spice – along with the vegetable goodness of cauliflower and the pain-fighting properties of ginger – consider this 101 Cookbooks recipe for Spicy Cauliflower with Sesame. The recipe boasts two different kinds of spicy peppers, along with turmeric, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
When consumed on its own, the cherry is a powerful food. Anthocyanin, the potent, antioxidant-packed compound in cherries, helps block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes. And cherries are low in calories (less than 100 per cup) and contain fiber, helping keep you feeling full longer – which may help with your weight-loss goals. But when cherries are combined with other powerful pain-fighting ingredients into one recipe, the results are both mouthwatering and very good for your health.
For a real pain-fighting dish, consider combining cherries with fish, which are an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, prevent dangerous heart arrhythmias, lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. This simple Martha Stewart recipe for Healthy Grilled Tilapia with Cherry Salsa takes only 20 minutes to make and also contains jalapenos for an added pain-fighting kick.
Finding a healthy, low-calorie drink option isn’t always easy. But this Cherry-Mint Spritzer from Eating Well is only 63 calories per serving, and packs the pain-fighting power of mint. Mint can help ease headaches and general aches and pains, while also blocking inflammation. Plus the recipe contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin C to bolster your immune system, in addition to being low in carbohydrates and gluten free.