Inflammation is usually classified into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs when there is injury, irritation, or infection and the body must fight to repair damaged body tissue. Signs of acute inflammation processes doing their work include swelling, redness, heat, or soreness. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is more “low-grade” or systemic, spreading likely with less recognizable symptoms, at a slower pace, and unfortunately doing more long-term destruction than acute inflammation. One sign of inflammation can be a rapid progression of aging, including more rapid cognitive decline and hastened chronic disease development.
Here, we discuss five tasty breakfast ideas that could do double duty to reduce chronic inflammation and slow some of the signs or symptoms of aging. To learn even more, read Popular Breakfast Foods That Reduce Inflammation, Say Dietitians.
The yogurt section of the grocery store seems to be expanding with each passing day and thankfully still registers at less than about one dollar a cup. There may be a lot of flavors and types to pick from but sticking to a low-fat dairy or nondairy yogurt with at least six grams of protein per cup is the perfect foundation for an inflammation-fighting yogurt parfait.
Have some fun and pour your yogurt into a mason jar or other larger clear food vessel and add in alternating layers of walnuts (a source of anti-inflammatory good-for-you omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids), reduced sugar granola, and berries like blueberries or strawberries. Blueberries contain anthocyanin, while strawberries contain ellagic acid, which are both compounds that have been studied for their protective anti-inflammatory effects related to insulin resistance and cancer, respectively.
Scrambled eggs don’t have to be eaten alone alongside some ketchup. Take the opportunity with scrambled eggs to mix in chopped spinach, tomatoes, and onions for an extra nutrition boost.
And eggs aren’t just from chickens anymore. Firm tofu can be crumbled into scrambled “egg” lookalikes and brands like Just Egg and Follow Your Heart have already nailed much of the flavor of traditional eggs so you can get all the experience and much of the protein without the cholesterol found in animal-based products.
Try alternating between conventional hen’s eggs and these plant-centered alternatives to move the mark closer toward a plant-based diet, which is associated with exerting anti-inflammatory effects.
We can’t really talk about a terrific breakfast without mentioning avocado toast. Excitement may have slightly declined over the year for this tremendous breakfast idea, but its potential to fight inflammation and perhaps slow aging has not.
Top a sprouted grain bread slice with pieces of avocado, a slice of tomato, and top with hemp seeds to deliver extra oomph to this breakfast concept. Avocados, along with other healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and seeds, seem to be connected to reduced inflammation, which could play a role in slowing aging.
Hopefully, you always have a pack of whole grain tortillas hanging out in your fridge (if not, it’s a great habit to start—tortillas can grow up and be tacos, personal pizzas, pita chips, pinwheels, etc.), and now we get to use one towards a breakfast wrap.
Smother a thin layer of peanut butter or other nut butter onto a tortilla, then add slices of fruit (banana does great here as does cinnamon apples or pears) to harness “anti-aging” powers on your plate via whole grains, nuts, and fruit. The foods in this breakfast idea align well with the Mediterranean diet, which has been investigated for its contribution to protecting and delaying age-related cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Start to think of your smoothies as a reservoir for all the produce near the end of their shelf life (but still within expiration date!) in your fridge. If your cauliflower is starting to show some brown edges, your spinach is beginning to wilt, and your blackberries are feeling a little mushy, throw them into a smoothie and you can make use of that nutrition and grocery bill.
An ideal smoothie includes a cup each of dairy or non-dairy milk, fruit, and vegetables, along with one serving of protein from protein powder or nuts/seeds. An incredible fruit to add to your smoothie which doesn’t receive nearly enough press are cranberries. Cranberries contain a flavonoid called quercetin that seems to exude anti-inflammatory effects, which can combat aging by controlling chronic disease risk.
Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD