There's a catch-22 when it comes to inflammation, the body's process of emitting white blood cells to fight off infection. In the short term, it helps our bodies to fight infections or any foreign pathogens, but if inflammation becomes chronic then it can result in any number of chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. That's why it's important to keep in mind ways to fight inflammation.
"Excessive inflammatory responses can result in chronic diseases," says Paulina Lee, RD a registered dietitian and the founder of Savvy Stummy. "There's increasing recognition between inflammation and its link to chronic diseases. Therefore, it is important to regulate inflammation as part of our healthy lifestyle habits to prevent or manage disease."
There are ways to control inflammation, including different dietary choices, as some foods contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help regulate inflammation so it's not a chronic problem. Here are some of the best sheet pan recipes that help to fight inflammation.
Keto Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus
It's hard to argue against the combination of salmon and asparagus—especially in this Keto-friendly recipe topped with butter. This high-fat recipe is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to helping to lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack, and aiding healthy brain function.
Get our recipe for Keto Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus.
Sheet Pan Moroccan Chicken
Maybe your kitchen gets boring after a while and you want to branch out. There are few better inspirations for culinary delight than Morocco, and while North African-inspired cuisine might seem intimidating for any newcomers, this simple recipe only takes 45 minutes to make.
While the berries might not be the star of the show in this flavorful recipe, they are what give it its anti-inflammatory properties, according to Lee, who says that berries, along with fermented foods and salmon, have a lot of polyphenols, which help to fight inflammation.
Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas
There's no going wrong with fish tacos, so it's safe to assume that salmon fajitas would be just as good, right? This recipe pairs a 10 oz salmon filet with red, green, and yellow bell peppers, onion, and tons of seasoning to make the dish extra flavorful. Not only that, but it's also great at fighting inflammation because salmon contains polyphenols, a compound that's great at combating inflammation.
"[Salmon] contains polyphenols, like curcumin and anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to support oxidative stress," Lee says.
Get the recipe from Laughing Spatula.
Sheet Pan Lemon Herb Tuna Steaks
Not only is this sheet pan tuna and potato pairing delicious, but it's also an effective way to lower the glucose levels in the meal, thereby helping to fight inflammation. Higher levels of glucose have been shown to lead to spikes in inflammation, according to a 2016 study, so it's important to not only focus on foods that will fight inflammation but also those that will avoid spikes in glucose.
"Lower glucose spikes by putting clothes on your carbohydrates," says Lee, who recommends tuna as an effective protein to help lower glucose levels. Pair your carbs with protein, healthy fats, or fiber to dampen glucose spikes after eating."
Get the recipe from Le Creme De La Crumb.
Vegan Sausage and Vegetables
Sheet pan meals are a simple dinner fix, but this recipe also works great for breakfast. This entirely-vegan meal is not only full of flavor and protein thanks to the vegan sausage, but it's also great at fighting inflammation because it's plant-based.
"Lightly processed and raw fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, and plant-based protein, are the best foods for fighting inflammation as part of an eating plan that's adequate in fiber," says registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD.
"Plant foods contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation while foods rich in saturated fat tend to be pro-inflammatory."
Get our recipe for Vegan Sausage and Vegetables.
Potato, Salmon and Asparagus One Pan Dinner
Fish is well-known for having anti-inflammatory properties because of its high quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, but that's not the only thing on the plate helping to fight inflammation. Asparagus has been proven as an effective anti-inflammatory food. Although this recipe is pretty high in sodium, it's relatively low in calories and fat, so as long as the rest of your meals throughout the day aren't total salt bombs, it's a relatively healthy choice as well.
Get the recipe from Let The Baking Begin.
Sriracha Cauliflower and Chickpea Sheet Pan Meal
Some of the best parts of this recipe are that it's low in calories and fat, high in protein, and packed with spicy flavor. Another perk of the recipe? It's simple to make with just six ingredients, not including the Sriracha sauce. All of the ingredients are plant-based as well, making your Sriracha Cauliflower and Chickpea dinner an easy way to fight against inflammation.
Plant-based diets not only help in lowering the risk of rheumatoid arthritis pain and swelling according to a 2019 study, but they're also extremely effective at fighting inflammation in general.
Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food.
5-Ingredient BBQ Chicken
Making a meal on a sheet pan helps to simplify the cooking process, and making a meal with only five ingredients helps to simplify it even more. While the barbecue chicken may be the star of this meal, the sides are just as important, in this case, it's broccoli and sweet potatoes. The tangy chicken and sweet potatoes might be delicious, but if you're looking to reduce your risk of inflammation, it's the broccoli that's crucial, as the vegetable contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Get our recipe for 5-Ingredient BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner.
"Garlic, broccoli, turmeric, and green tea are examples of anti-inflammatory foods," says Annelie Vogt von Heselholt, DCN, RD, CSO, a registered dietitian and doctor of clinical nutrition. "They have antioxidants and plant compounds such as sulforaphane that help protect your body. You can prevent inflammation by eating a diet rich in foods with anti-inflammatory properties. They have nutrients in them that have the potential to reduce inflammation."
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