There are two kinds of inflammation: the kind that causes muscle soreness after a workout, and the kind that can result in disease. Staying healthy is ultimately the end goal, so avoiding foods that make inflammation worse — mainly processed foods — is your best bet. You don’t just have to eat anti-inflammatory foods to avoid getting sick, though: you can boost your protein intake while you eat them.
Foods high in protein help you build muscle once your workouts are over, which means it’s important to eat as many of them as you can, as often as you can. Here are a few anti-inflammatory foods that also happen to be excellent sources of protein, so you can protect your body from disease and build mass at the same time.
Walnuts can protect you against a range of diseases, from heart problems to type 2 diabetes and even dementia. They’re also a great source of healthy fats as well as vitamins, minerals and protein. One cup of walnuts can yield approximately 15 grams of protein. They’re the perfect snack to take with you wherever you go, whether by themselves or as part of a healthy trail mix.
Dark leafy vegetables like spinach have antioxidant properties in addition to their anti-inflammatory powers. Even better, they’re a light source of both protein and fiber. Add spinach into your smoothie, load it onto a burger or combine it with your favorite pasta recipe to blend the benefits into any meal or snack of the day.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimal brain and heart health. It’s rich in vitamins, which will help keep you physically strong and on-track. Most importantly, fatty fish like salmon weighs in at 17 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. Served with fresh steamed broccoli, you’ll have an entree so filling you won’t even need dessert afterward.
Unless you eat them raw, you really can’t go wrong with eggs. Two eggs for breakfast give you 12 grams of protein (as long as you eat the yolks), but that’s not all. Eggs also contain important vitamins that can protect you from excess inflammation. You can fill an omelet with cheese, veggies, avocado and tomato for added flavor and benefits to your health.