The Best Anti Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

The Best Anti Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

This is the moment you have all been waiting for- a discussion of the best anti inflammatory breakfast foods!The Best Anti Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

If you read our post on the foods that cause inflammation, you probably have a pretty good grasp on why an anti-inflammatory diet is so important and which foods/ingredients are famous for blowing your immune system to smithereens. 

In today’s post, I am going to dig deeper into the best foods to fight inflammation, with a primary focus on anti-inflammatory breakfast foods. We’ll also discuss the core principles that make foods anti inflammatory at the core. Let’s dig in!

What Makes a Food Anti-Inflammatory?

What makes a food anti-inflammatory is the naturally occurring compounds within that particular food that help support our body to function optimally. Generally speaking, the bolder and more brightly colored a food is, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains. The greater the number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants available, the greater that particular food’s ability is to serve as a disease fighting agent.[1]

No, sorry, Fruity Pebbles does not count, it has to be real food that came from the earth!

Antioxidants & Free Radicals

Antioxidants in particular actually protect our body from oxidative damage. We experience oxidative damage on a daily basis: sunburns, stress, toxic exposure, breathing in exhaust while jogging near traffic, using chemical-filled lotions and makeup, or potent cleaning products, etc. All of this and so much more have the ability to breakdown our cells and generate free radicals.  

With oxidative stress and exposure to toxins, free radicals are formed which are unstable molecules that can damage our cells and if not properly addressed and managed (i.e. through meditation and eating clean food with antioxidants!!). So, if we don’t stay on top of fighting various forms of stress and the accompanying free radicals, we will undoubtedly experience increased aging and disease.

Fortunately, anti-inflammatory foods contain special properties that fight and reverse this damage.[2] Hence, why every living, breathing human who cares about their health should be on some form of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Let me give you a  quick example in order to drive this point home. We hear over and over and over again how blueberries are so “anti-inflammatory”. What that actually means is that they contain an incredible abundance of antioxidants. More specifically, they contain a high number of antioxidants known as flavonoids. Flavonoids basically round up damaged cells and metal ions and help your body to excrete them. Therefore, it is no surprise that blueberries are so strongly linked to better brain health and the reduction of heart disease and cancer.[3,4]

Put very simply, the whole key to aging gracefully and not ending up sick and decrepit is to keep your body free of gunk from the outside world

You cannot completely avoid the pollution and toxins from this world, but you absolutely can learn how to eat in a way that supports optimal function by fighting these toxins and reversing the damage caused internally.

Bottom line: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is the most efficient (and safest) way to make sure your body is constantly flushing out all of the gunk from the outside world. 

Top Anti Inflammatory Breakfast Foods

You’ve heard me say it before and now I will say it again: you should not wake up and crush a big bowl of cereal with skim milk or an oversized bagel for breakfast! The first thing you put in your mouth each morning sets the tone for the day. 

A breakfast of champions should consist of three components: 

  1. Real food
  2. The right balance of protein and fat
  3. At least one anti-inflammatory food or spice

And if your eyes are welling up at the thought of the extinction of your precious Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I promise you there is always a way to recreate your favorites in a more healthy fashion. For example, you could substitute them with a tasty and basic overnight oats recipe along with adding extra cinnamon and vanilla. If this still doesn’t quite satisfy your taste, you can splurge by sprinkling some crumbled up Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Graham Crackers or Pamela’s Organic Gluten-Free Cinnamon Minis Graham Crackers on top.

While not completely whole foods, this is a much more balanced version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and is a great stepping stone towards eating whole foods for breakfast. 

Or, here is another example…

I am currently working with another athlete who simply cannot live without Nutella. He spreads it all over everything, eats spoonful upon spoonful and for all I know, probably takes a bath in it at night. Instead of telling him to avoid Nutella for breakfast, I created a balanced breakfast shake that mimics Nutella and so far, he has been pleasantly surprised. Not only does it taste great, but he feels more balanced and has less sugar cravings throughout the day. 

Nutella Shake

Alright, so now let’s dig into the top anti-inflammatory breakfast foods. 

Avocado

Avocado is known for being packed full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in addition to magnesium and potassium. (Yes, even greater potassium than a banana.) Even more impressive is the fact that avocados contain carotenoids and tocopherols A.K.A. powerful antioxidants that help fight disease, especially cancer.[5,6]

And before we move on, let’s not forget to mention my favorite study of all time. You know, the one that showed that consuming an avocado with red meat lowered the inflammatory markers (NF-kB and IL-6) compared to those who ate red meat alone. [7]

Best ways to incorporate avocado at breakfast: avocado toast, add ¼ frozen avocado to your breakfast smoothie or throw a few tablespoons of guacamole onto your scrambled eggs or omelet. 

Chia

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia!

As a pro sports RDN, I would have to say that chia seeds are #1 on my personal list. They hold approximately 9x their body weight in fluid (Hence why Chia Pets were so successful), making them very beneficial when it comes to hydration. Not to mention, chia seeds are rich in Omega 3, calcium, antioxidants, and above all else, fiber! In fact, I always joke with my clients and say that chia seeds are nature’s laxative.[8,9]

Best ways to incorporate Chia at breakfast: Add a tablespoon of Nutiva Organic Black Chia to your bowl of oats or overnight oats, your smoothie, or go for the gold and make chia pudding for breakfast!

Raw Cacao Nibs

Perhaps you’ve heard that chocolate is full of antioxidants. This is true, however, this is not in reference to the Hershey’s bar on your desk but rather cacao. Cacao, or cacao nibs (my favorite) are crushed pieces of cacao beans. Cacao beans are actually seeds from the Theobroma Cacao Tree. These seeds serve as the basis for all chocolate products.  In addition to an abundance of antioxidants, these little guys are also full of fiber, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.[10] 

Two important things to note: 1) Raw cacao simply refers to the fact that it was never roasted and 2) Cacao is not the same as cocoa. Any professional chocolatier will only use the word cacao for the pod and beans before they’re fermented. After fermentation, they are referred to as cocoa beans.

The best part for my fellow chocolate lovers? Cacao products have the most antioxidant (flavonoid) content by weight than any other food!!![11]

Best ways to incorporate cacao nibs at breakfast: Add 2 teaspoons of Navitas Raw Organic Cacao Nibs (basically, crunchy chocolate chips) to your peanut butter oats, add a teaspoon or two to your banana shake for a deliciously crunchy chocolate-dipped banana treat, or if you just don’t care for the crunchy texture consider adding organic cacao powder to your favorite energy bites recipe. 

Raspberries

While all berries have unique properties advantageous to human health, I like to highlight the almighty raspberry every now and then. 

Full of fiber, the red raspberry is most known for containing a potent antioxidant trifecta: Vitamin C, quercetin and ellagic acid. Ellagic acid, in particular, has been shown to not only reverse oxidative stress at the cellular level but to actually repair damaged DNA!![12,13]

Best ways to incorporate raspberries at breakfast: add to some pancake batter such as from clean brands like Simple Mills Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix or Birch Benders Paleo, GF, and Keto-Friendly Pancake and Waffle Mix, puree raspberries with almond butter, and use as a dip for your apples or spread for your bread or  “frosting glaze” for your waffles.

Pineapple

Pineapple is a winner across the board for all humans, but especially those whose body takes a beating. Sure,  the high dose of vitamin C and manganese is a plus, but pineapple contains a high dose of various antioxidants, much of which is bound. This means these antioxidants can survive more harsh conditions in the body and therefore provide more long-lasting support for our immune system. [14]

Bonus: Pineapple contains bromelain, a naturally occurring digestive enzyme to help us break down our food. Bromelain has also been shown to alleviate chronic pain and arthritis, suppress inflammation and speed recovery after strenuous exercise or surgery.[15,16,17] I mean… what more could you ask for in this life! If there is one food I ask my clients to consume several times a week, it is pineapple. 

Best ways to incorporate pineapple at breakfast: freeze and add to a coconut mango smoothie, press fresh pineapple and enjoy a small 6 oz glass of juice, chopped finely and toss into yogurt. 

Green tea

Green tea = The real antioxidant MVP. I challenge you to find a more nutritionally dense beverage on the planet. 

Green tea is roughly 30 percent polyphenols by weight. This includes large amounts of a natural antioxidant (catechin) called EGCG. 

There are so many benefits of green tea, let’s just mention the highlights:

  • Improves cognition and protects your brain from disease [18]
  • Fights Cancer [19]
  • Decreases anxiety [20]
  • Enhances fat burning [21]
  • Fights oxidative stress [22]
  • Kills bacteria and inhibits viruses [23,24,25]

Best ways to incorporate green tea at breakfast: add as the liquid base to your smoothie instead of milk or juice. In a hurry? Pour a glass of green tea, add two scoops of collagen peptides and run out the door!

And there we have it folks, the best anti inflammatory breakfast foods on the planet. I hope you decide to give your taste buds a little dance after reading this article. 

Happy eating my friends!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC47258/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24804252
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18759450
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22175691
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26447150
  6. ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19813713
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23196671
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643808001345
  9.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814607008709
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794453
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848681/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26501271
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19325752
  14. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12263
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1548991
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25604346
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15841258
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182482
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743597902425
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326618
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412948/
  23. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389172300800389
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23072320
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16137775

About The Author

Kylene Bogden

Kylene Bogden is one of the most well respected Functional Sports Dietitians in the United States. As a high school and collegiate sprinter, she experienced recurrent injury and fatigue. After years of constant struggle, she eventually learned that an abundance of processed foods and poor fueling strategies were the root of her performance issues. Kylene's personal journey as an athlete fueled her passion for finding a more progressive approach to sports nutrition. Since then, she has helped thousands of individuals dramatically improve overall health and athletic performance by taking a whole food approach. To learn more about Kylene's story and how a functional nutrition approach can help you to achieve your goals, simply click on the contact us link in the upper right-hand corner today!

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