While navigating psoriatic arthritis (PsA), I have learned that the foods I turn to for fueling my body can have a significant impact on how I feel throughout the day. From helping me avoid pain, soreness, and stiffness in the mornings to giving me enough energy to make it through the evenings, nutrition choices can go a long way.
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors.” I am a big fan of exploring different cuisines from around the world because it ensures that we never get tired of eating at home.
Plus, it’s can be nice to remember that eating an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t need to feel limiting. There are so many great anti-inflammatory dishes out there — sometimes it is just a matter of trying something new and broadening your repertoire.
With this in mind, I’m sharing a glimpse into what I eat over the course of a day that will showcase ways to incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients and dishes from all over the world into your routine.
Water! Water is my first order of business every day. I work out first thing in the morning before my toddler wakes up. Afterward, I drink a liter of water while I wash my face, moisturize my skin, and get dressed. I try to prioritize drinking enough water throughout the day as well.
I loved enjoying an authentic Costa Rican breakfast on the beaches of Playa Hermosa a few years ago and I was so happy to find a way to prepare this dish myself.
Gallo pinto, a traditional Central American dish that translates to “spotted rooster,” features a base of rice and black beans. I often use some leftover rice and canned no-salt-added black beans to whip up this delicious, fiber-filled foundation quickly.
I often enjoy this at home with some sliced avocado and an egg. Fresh, juicy mango or fried plantains on the side can be a great addition as well. This breakfast is full of healthy fats, fiber, and plenty of protein. Plus, I love that it transports me into vacation mode.
Don’t be afraid to use convenience foods like microwavable pre-steamed or minute rice, canned beans, or premade guacamole, especially if you are in a flare. These foods are easier to prepare and can help you avoid added pain in your hands.
Embracing easy-to-prep options can also help reduce cooking time so you are not standing on your aching feet.
One of my all-time favorite snacks — and sometimes even a quick breakfast — is Greek yogurt. Yogurt is full of beneficial probiotics that can provide the foundation for a healthy gut, according to 2017 research.
I like to eat plain Greek yogurt sweetened with a little honey and topped with whatever fruit I have handy. Honey has anti-inflammatory benefits, and I love to add fresh or frozen berries because they antioxidant powerhouses!
Lunch is probably the most hectic for our family, even while working at home. Between work demands and a busy toddler, we often rely on leftovers.
I love to add leftover grilled or baked salmon to a salad of greens. Then I add sliced cucumbers, crushed walnuts, some chickpeas, fresh tomato, and yogurt dill dressing to make a nutrient-packed, Mediterranean-inspired lunch.
Grilled salmon and walnuts are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, per 2019 research and the Arthritis Foundation, respectively. Chickpeas add fiber and complex carbohydrates that help keep us feeling full. Salmon, walnuts, and chickpeas also all provide protein.
The green lettuce and cucumber add antioxidants and vitamins. And yogurt-based dressings can be a great choice because they offer another way of getting in some extra probiotics.
I often rely on prewashed salad mixes to make salads a breeze to prepare. Canned salmon can be a great, shelf-stable alternative to fresh and has all of the omega-3 fatty acids that fresh salmon contains.
Again, there is no shame in grabbing some canned chickpeas or white beans. You don’t need to cook your own every time!
Another quick and easy snack is a little savory plate with a handful of mixed nuts, seaweed snack sheets, some fresh veggies, and a little hummus.
Nuts are a great source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Seaweed is another nutritious food that has proven benefits for psoriasis. I like to round out my plate with some baby carrots, celery sticks, and hummus, which boasts protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.
While much is written about the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Mediterranean diet, per a 2020 research overview, don’t sleep on other cuisines that also feature herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
For example, many Indian dishes are anti-inflammatory — and delicious.
Curries often include garlic, ginger, and turmeric, which have all been linked to health-promoting and anti-inflammatory properties. If you follow a plant-based diet or have been wanting to try one, there are so many healthy and delicious vegetarian Indian dishes that won’t make you miss meat.
My family loves to share a few different curries over steamed basmati rice or with a flatbread like naan or chapati. Some of our favorites include:
While you can certainly make these from scratch, look online for several Instant Pot or pressure cooker recipes that cut down cooking time and allow you to rest while the appliance does the work for you.
Alternatively, if you live near one, I’d recommend visiting a local Indian grocery for a dizzying array of prepared simmer sauces, spice blends, and premade packets. Some stores will even offer pouches of shelf-stable or frozen curries that you can simply heat and enjoy.
I’ve been pleased to find that many of these premade curries contain minimal preservatives due to their packaging methods. These are great staples to keep on hand for flare-ups because they are full of nutrients but couldn’t be easier to prepare and eat.
After dinner, I love to unwind with a cup of hot herbal tea and a square of dark chocolate.
There are many sleep-friendly tea blends out there, so I encourage you to experiment and find one that you like best. Most of them include chamomile, which has been found to have many anti-inflammatory benefits.
My husband and I also just enjoy the ritual of it, and it helps send a message to our mind and body that it’s time to relax and get ready for sleep.
Dark chocolate may also be anti-inflammatory — and it just so happens to be one of my favorite treats.
There are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to load your plate up with nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods that can do wonders for your health. With so many amazing food blogs and YouTube channels showcasing home cooking from all over the world, trying a new dish can be easier than ever.
It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before making any big changes to your eating habits. Working together with your medical team is a great way to find a diet that supports your body best.
Medically reviewed on February 28, 2022
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