By Quinn Haisley
Inflammation. It’s something that many athletes, especially runners, end up having to deal with at some point. Contrary to popular belief, inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. Short-term inflammation is a sign that the body is healing itself. But long-term inflammation can lead to further complications, such as prolonged injury and arthritis.
Growing-up as an active kid, I experienced my fair share of sports related injuries and conditions. When I was about ten I went through a rapid growth spurt (I come from a family of freakishly tall giant people). That, in combination with playing soccer and dancing, gave me Osgood-Schlatter, a disease that results in an aching bump just below the kneecap. Recently, I injured myself during a drop-in dance class when I rolled over my knee in just the right way to do some damage.
In recent years I’ve taken-up running. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t always find running to be as relaxing as my brain thinks it is, especially with my knee issues. Luckily, studying nutrition has given me some insight into ways that I can help alleviate this pain with foods. Including anti-inflammatory foods into my diet not only helps to reduce any knee pain that I experience while running, it also aids in preventing further injury. Below are my personal favorite anti-inflammatory foods.#Runners--add these 5 foods to your diet to ward off inflammation! Click To Tweet
- Turmeric: The active component in turmeric, curcumin, has long been thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. There are many yummy ways to include this spice in your diet, such as in curries, soups, sprinkled on roasted vegetable or in tea.
- Avocado: Liking avocado goes hand-in-hand with being a Millennial. Luckily , this food is full of antioxidants and carotenoids, which help to reduce inflammation. I often start my day off with some smashed avocado on whole grain toast with a sprinkling of hemp seeds for added protein.
- Chia Seeds: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like chia seeds, are anti-inflammatory foods. Chia seeds are particularly great because they can be thrown into many recipes, from smoothies to oatmeal. Other omega-3 foods include fatty fishes, such as salmon and mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
- Broccoli: When I was a kid you couldn’t pay me to eat broccoli…not unless it was smothered with a healthy dose of cheese sauce. Now, it’s a consistent part of my diet. Apart from many healthful vitamins and minerals, broccoli contains the compound sulforaphane, which may help to reduce inflammation. I often include broccoli in stir-fries and homemade pasta sauces.
- Cherries: Words cannot convey how happy I am that it’s cherry season. This fruit is one of my absolute favorites to snack on during the summer months. In addition to being just downright delicious, cherries also contain anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Quinn Haisley is a recent graduate from the Dietetic Technician Program at LaGuardia Community College, based in Queens, NY. While studying at LaGuardia, Quinn also worked as an Outreach Coordinator for the non-profit GrowNYC, conducting nutrition education and doing community outreach in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. Quinn was recently admitted to New York University’s Master’s of Clinical Nutrition Program, and plans on one day becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is especially interested in the fields of media nutrition and weight loss.