The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Salad
The “Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Salad” was written by soon-to-be-Registered Dietitian Samantha Kane and edited by Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND.
This anti-inflammatory salad with salmon is a delicious mix of flavors and textures that will tantalize your taste buds.
The crunch of the vegetables set against the richness of the salmon makes for a perfect contrast in texture, while the flavors all work together to create a meal you’ll love. And it’s easy to prepare too, so it’s the perfect recipe for when you want to impress your lunch guests.
But the best part is that this salad is seriously good for you.
Why Should We Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
It might sound dramatic, but it’s true: eating anti-inflammatory foods can make the difference between simply surviving versus thriving in our hectic everyday world.
In the short-term, inflammation in your body protects you, but chronic or persistent inflammation can hurt you. Long-term inflammation has been linked to chronic disease, fatigue, weight gain, emotional distress, gastrointestinal issues, and elevated blood sugar.
Because an anti-inflammatory diet can help you minimize unhealthy chronic inflammation, this type of diet can help you improve important aspects of your physical and emotional health.
Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Anti-inflammatory food is generally full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. There are many benefits that come from eating such nutrient-dense foods, such as:
- Prevention and management of chronic disease
- Slower signs of aging
- Increased skin protection
- Promotion of gut health
- Reduction of uncomfortable autoimmune symptoms
- More consistent hormonal balance
Before digging straight into the anti-inflammatory salad recipe, read a more in-depth look at some of the many benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Anti-Inflammatory Salad Ingredients
Way more than just your average fish!
Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. This is important because these fatty acids, in particular, strike gold when it comes to reducing inflammation.
Salmon also helps to improve brain function, protects the skin’s natural barrier, and is an excellent source of protein filled with all nine essential amino acids.
In contrast, the standard American diet is filled with the omega-3’s sister molecule: omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 is not inherently bad in moderation, when it’s over-consumed, it can actually cause inflammation throughout the entire human body.
With America’s increased reliance on heavily processed foods, omega 6 (not to be confused with omega 3) is being consumed in epic proportions.
The key to fighting inflammation is to eat more omega 3-rich foods and less that have omega 6.
The Miracle of Miso
Miso is a fermented paste made out of soybeans (or another similar bean), a grain, salt, and a mold called koji.
Miso is special in that the fermentation process creates probiotics, which are good for gut health.
As scary as it sounds to actively ADD bacteria into our diet, these probiotics are like strong knights in shining armor, valiantly battling markers of inflammation to protect the entire human body.
As innovative as this may sound for the U.S., Asian countries like Japan and Korea have been leveraging the health benefits of fermented foods for centuries.
Other benefits of fermented foods include more consistent bowel movements, improved immunity, ability to more comfortably digest fibrous foods, clearer skin, reduced risk of autoimmune disease, and of course, protection against chronic inflammation.
While there is always the option to pop a probiotic supplement, why not try adding it more naturally into your everyday eats?
Cinnamon is nothing short of amazing.
Its remarkable antioxidant properties actively protect the body from damaging free radicals and oxidative stress.
In fact, in one study, cinnamon outperformed 26 other spices in terms of its antioxidant capabilities — even those famously healthy ones like garlic and oregano.
Cinnamon has some real clout in the medical community, as it also helps battle infection, repairs tissue damage, and assists in reducing levels of age-related chronic inflammatory diseases.
Just a sprinkle a day can go a seriously long way!
The Savvy Sweet Potato
The bright orange color of a sweet potato isn’t just about having good looks (although that is a nice touch); there is also some serious functionality behind it.
Sweet potatoes get their vibrancy from the carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, which reduce inflammation and perk up the skin for a youthful glow.
Furthermore, they are also a great source of vitamins C and E, micronutrients well known to have strong antioxidant properties that protect us from damaging levels of inflammation.
Such a sweet AND functional food to try!
Not So Blue with Blueberries
Not only are blueberries brimming with beneficial fiber and the antioxidant vitamin C, but they also contain little superheroes called anthocyanin and ellagic acids — phytochemicals that fight inflammation.
The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Salad
The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Salad
- 5 oz salmon fillet
- 1/2 Tbsp white miso paste
- 1/2 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans drained
- 1 avocado oil spray
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups kale shredded
- 1/2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 cup blueberries optional
- Apple cider vinegar optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper – one for the salmon and the other for the sweet potato and chickpea combo.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the white miso paste and coconut aminos.
- Add the salmon filet to one baking sheet, and slather it with the miso and coconut aminos paste. Set aside.
- Cut the sweet potato into chunks. Place on the second baking sheet with the chickpeas. Spray with avocado oil, and sprinkle with the cumin, cinnamon, and salt.
- Place the vegetables in the oven. After 20 minutes, place the salmon and bake for additional 20 minutes.
- While the salmon and veggies are cooking, rinse and dry the kale. Add kale to a large bowl, then generously spray it with olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice over and massage it all together.
- Once the salmon and veggies are done, assemble the rest of the salad. Place salmon on the kale, and sprinkle the roasted sweet potato and crunchy chickpeas over the top.
- Optional: light drizzle of apple cider vinegar on top.
1. Amino Acids. Cleveland Clinic Web site. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22243-amino-acids. Accessed August, 2022
2. 12 Foods That Are Very High in Omega-3. Healthline Web site. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-omega-3-rich-foods. Accessed August, 2022
3. Eat these fruits for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Harvard Health Publishing Web site. https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/eat-these-fruits-for-their-anti-inflammatory-benefits#:~:text=Berries.,antioxidant%20and%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20activity. Updated 2021. Accessed August, 2022
4. Shan B, Cai YZ, Sun M, Corke H. Antioxidant Capacity of 26 Spice Extracts and Characterization of Their Phenolic Constituents. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2005;53(20):7749-7759. doi:10.1021/jf051513y
5. Shoda S. Seeking Prehistoric Fermented Food in Japan and Korea. Current anthropology. 2021;62(S24):S242-S255. doi:10.1086/715808
6. Moosavian SP, Arab A, Mehrabani S, Moradi S, Nasirian M. The effect of omega-3 and vitamin E on oxidative stress and inflammation: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. 2020:553-563. 10.1024/0300-9831/a0005997. Wastyk HC, Fragiadakis GK, Perelman D, et al. Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status. Cell. 2021;184(16):4137-4153.e14. doi:S0092-8674(21)00754-6 [pii]
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL. She is passionate about helping women over 40 live their best lives through healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Su-Nui is a doctor in clinical nutrition, able to translate complicated evidence-based science into practical advice. Su-Nui is the former spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.