Systemic inflammation is a contributing factor to most of the serious diseases we face. Asthma, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer all have links to widespread inflammation.
As dangerous as inflammation can be, you have the ability to control it. Through diet, you can eliminate inflammatory triggers and support your immune system.
By eating anti-inflammatory foods, like the coconut and sweet potato found in these muffins, you can enjoy a delicious dish while improving your health in myriad ways.
Ancient and traditional medicinal practices have also been using certain foods to target and eliminate inflammation for centuries, proving that diet can be for more than nutrition. Be it to relieve arthritis pains, protect from cancer, or to promote immune and cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory foods are natural and often more effective treatments than leading prescription medications.
Here are the important ingredients and their health benefits found in the recipe for coconut and sweet potato muffins:
It is the oil in coconut that specifically works to reduce inflammation. The properties of the oil found within this tropical treat help to inhibit the activity of inflammatory chemicals.
In addition to this, coconut boosts your metabolism and helps to regulate hormones production within your body. Imbalanced hormones can trigger changes in your body that cause inflammation, so keeping them in check prevents the problem from even occurring.
Coconut is also a natural sweetener, perfect for replacing sugars that promote inflammation. As flour, coconut provides dietary fiber to your gut bacteria, promoting digestion and gut health, both of which lead to reduced inflammation.
Not only a good source of complex carbohydrates and natural sweet flavor, sweet potatoes contain a host of beneficial nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants found in sweet potatoes help to reduce free radicals and the inflammation they cause.
| Related: The Wondrous Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes |
In addition to this, sweet potatoes are full of beneficial dietary fiber that feeds your gut bacteria and promotes optimal digestion and gut health. Inflammation is a result of an unhealthy and imbalanced gut, which means sweet potatoes keep your gut happy and inflammatory markers on lockdown.
Ginger is a natural spice that has long been used to treat and relieve arthritis pain. Since arthritis is associated with systemic inflammation, it is believed that ginger helps to control this and protect your joints from pain and damage.
Ginger also contains antioxidant compounds and anticancer properties that protect you from other diseases. Plus, ginger has been found to fight bacterial infections more effectively than antibiotics and can serve to reduce your risk for cancer too.
The compound curcumin that is found in turmeric is the ingredient that has been used for centuries to treat inflammatory diseases. Curcumin is both an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
Oxidative damage is responsible for just as much damage as inflammation and often both appear together with diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Turmeric has also been found to effectively fight inflammation better than leading anti-inflammatory medications.
Adding turmeric to a meal gives you a healthy spice, vibrant yellow color, and protection from inflammation and illness.
Another natural spice that has been used to treat health problems for centuries is cinnamon. Through control of inflammation and reduction of oxidative damage, cinnamon can protect against infections.
One of the main problems associated with inflammation is that, when out of control, damage is continuous, and cells and tissues have little opportunity to heal and repair. Damage spreads and your risk for disease increase.
Cinnamon inhibits inflammation and removes the presence of free radicals, so your body has time to heal. This is especially beneficial for autoimmune diseases where inflammation targets healthy cells over and over.
A major contributing cause to inflammation is poor diet. Unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed foods all trigger inflammation. Sadly, these are all common in the typical Western diet.
Removing these foods is only part of the problem because you also need to provide your body with support and protection. Cooking with the ingredients above is the best way to get natural support and time to heal.
Anti-inflammatory diets may eliminate the sugars, unhealthy fats, and spices you have grown to love, but plenty of new tastes will be added. With recipes like this one, you get mouthfuls of flavor all from ingredients that work to protect you from unnecessary inflammation.
1 small organic sweet potato, roasted (should be about 1 cup, packed)
3 tbsp. ground flaxseed in 1/2 cup of water (let the flaxseed sit in water for 10 minutes; this substitutes your egg)
3/4 cup organic coconut milk
2 tbsp. organic olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or unpasteurized honey
1 cup organic brown rice flour
1/4 cup organic coconut flour
1 tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Use a skewer to make a dozen or more holes in your sweet potato skin, and then cook it on a baking tray for an hour. Allow the potato to cool, and then cut it in half and scoop out the insides into a large bowl. Add the flaxseed, coconut milk, olive oil, and maple syrup and combine until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients, then add these to the potato mixture and stir until completely combined. Oil your muffin tray thoroughly with coconut oil and pour the batter evenly into the muffin tray (each one should be approximately 2/3 full). Cook for 30-35 minutes and serve while warm.
Inflammation may be beneficial in small doses, but poor diet, stress, and illness can allow it to get out of control. To protect your health and keep inflammation under control, you can follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
By removing the foods that trigger inflammation you can live a pain-free life and healthier life. With treats like these muffins included, an anti-inflammatory diet will taste good too.