5 Hacks for a Healthy Inflammatory Response

  May 17, 2020  |    Blog

If your goal is to live a long and healthy life, one of the best things you can do is take simple steps to promote a healthy inflammatory response. A healthy inflammatory response supports your heart and vascular system, brain health, a healthy immune response and more. That’s why we’ve been taking the below measures for as long as we can remember, and we’ve been helping our clients to take them too.

One thing we know (and it didn’t take our 15+ years as registered dietitians to learn this!) is that for a healthy lifestyle habit to stick, it needs to be easy. Today we’re sharing our 5 effortless ways to promote a healthy inflammatory response and with it, optimal, long-lasting health.

1. Add canned fatty fish to your pantry (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc.)

Promotes a healthy inflammatory response: Fatty fish (fresh & canned) contain DHA & EPA omega-3 fatty acids that have incredible health benefits. They promote heart health, help maintain healthy vascular function, support cognitive health, help inhibit inflammatory factors to support joint comfort and much more.1

Effortless: Canned is OK! The new style resealable pouches, too, for that matter.  In fact, both are great because neither spoil in your fridge or require turning on the oven. Say “adios” to the “fish smell” that penetrates the house when you cook it! Turn to your pantry two times a week for a protein-packed meal in minutes. Simply keep a lemon on hand. It revolutionizes any canned fish and adds antioxidant benefits. For a satisfying protein source, simply toss drained, canned fish in:

  • salads
  • eggs
  • sandwiches
  • casseroles

Mediterranean meal: combine ¼ cup diced tomatoes, ¼ cup diced cucumber, ¼ cup diced avocado and ½ can of any fatty fish. Spritz with olive oil and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Add to a green salad or make a sandwich.

Note about mercury in fish: Albacore tuna and other large fish have higher amounts of mercury because they prey on other fish that contain mercury too. Limit canned albacore tuna to a maximum of 4 ounces/week2. Choose other fatty fish more regularly. Fish high in mercury like shark, swordfish, marlin and king mackerel typically aren’t canned.

How The Nutrition Twins do it:
When it comes to canned fish, Tammy is wild about wild pink and wild red canned salmon.  Lyssie, well, she’s got a love affair with sardines. We both just pop open a can and enjoy them in so many ways—and many times straight from the can, animal (well, fish) style. 😉

2. Take a trusted, high quality fish oil supplement.

Not a salmon or sardine lover like us, but want to reap their benefits? Worried about eating too much fish due to mercury concerns? No worries! Taking an EPA/DHA Fish Oil is a good option and is a great way to fill in the gaps if you’re not regularly consuming at least two, 3.5-4 ounce servings of fatty fish a week.

Promotes a healthy inflammatory response: See tip #1 about the incredible benefits of DHA & EPA omega 3-fatty acids in fatty fish.

Effortless:  If you struggle to get your weekly fish servings, depending on your needs, you can take 2-4 capsules of Life Extension’s Clearly EPA/DHA Fish Oil daily for an easy way to get pure, potent doses of EPA and DHA omega-3s in convenient softgels—with no fishy after taste!

Here’s why we take a fish oil supplement:
While we’re all about food first, even being the fatty fish lovers we are, we can’t always eat in our kitchen or get quality fish when we’re on the go.

The research on the benefits of fish oil supplementation, including promoting a healthy heart, helping maintain healthy vascular function, supporting cognitive health and eye health, supporting brain health during pregnancy, inhibiting inflammatory factors to support joint comfort and so much more, is convincing.3, 4  And with heart health being an important topic in our family, we want every advantage for healthy longevity we can get!

Which fish oil do we take (and recommend)?
We learned about Life Extension® brand supplements about a year and a half ago and thoroughly investigated the brand. We learned how each Life Extension supplement is extensively researched and meets the strictest standards of quality. For us, this is super important because it makes all of the difference between receiving optimal health benefits, or none at all.

So we did something we never do…we switched away from our reputable, go-to fish oil as we were convinced by Life Extension’s Clearly EPA/DHA Fish Oil. Quality and freshness are everything, because if fish oil isn’t fresh, the oil becomes oxidized and loses its health benefits.

Once you have a fresh product and it’s packed with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, like Clearly EPA/ DHA, then you know the magic can happen to support optimal health.

Pssst… How do we test fish oil to see if it’s fresh?

It’s not glamorous, but it works for us…we do a “bite test.” We’re not shy about it. As registered dietitians, companies send us samples of all types of foods, supplements, etc. frequently. As soon as we get a fish oil supplement from a trusted quality brand, we test it ourselves. We don’t swallow it; we take a bite. If it tastes fishy, we toss the bottle because this means it has oxidized. Life Extension’s Clearly EPA/ DHA Fish Oil tastes super fresh and…pleasant! [We know, a fish oil tasting pleasant seems unimaginable, but it does!]

A few weeks after switching to Life Extension’s fish oil, we noticed a difference in our skin and felt it was smoother and not as dry. And we have been thrilled that this fish oil seems to help support eye health! We love it and recommend it to our clients!

Here are more reasons we fell head over fins for Life Extension’s Clearly EPA/ DHA Fish Oil

  • It has an IFOS™ 5-star rating, which means it meets the strictest standards for quality, EPA and DHA omega-3 content, purity and more.
  • Purity you can see
  • Clearly EPA/DHA is refined using an advanced, state-of-the-art purification processing technology, in a facility strategically located next to a rich, ocean-friendly fishing ground in the Pacific. This ensures the fish oil is fresh, because “catch-to-capsule” time is minimized to help maximize freshness.
  • It contains potent omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart, mind, joint and immune health.5-9

How The Nutrition Twins do it: Tammy and Lyssie each take 2 Life Extension’s Clearly EPA/DHA Fish Oil capsules each day with their dinner.

Taking a high-quality supplement can easily become a habit:

Click here for $5 off $50 or more and free shipping on your first supply! Set an alarm reminder on your phone to take it every evening—simply swallow it with water!

Always check with your physician, pharmacist or dietitian before starting something new as supplements may not be for everyone, especially those on medications.

3. Follow ‘The Nutrition Twins’ Red, Green and Orange Rule’ for two meals a day

We’re not much for rules. But this is an exception. This rule makes promoting a healthy inflammatory response feel effortless. Simply focus on color for 2 of your daily meals by including red, orange, or green colored produce (that’s plants) on your plate. Your plate will look more appealing, you’ll fill up with fiber rather than heavy foods and doing this will flood your body with antioxidants and compounds that promote a healthy inflammatory response.

Promotes a healthy inflammatory response: Colorful fruits and vegetables, especially, contain potent phytonutrients that promote a healthy inflammatory response by mopping up free radicals and supporting optimal cell health.

Effortless:  Here are some easy ways to do it

At Breakfast:

  • Toss spinach, bell peppers, broccoli and zucchini in omelets
  • Top cereal with strawberries, nectarines, mangoes and sliced cherries
  • Stir berries and orange slices into yogurt
  • Blend frozen berries with nut butter, Greek yogurt or protein powder for a smoothie
  • Mix pureed canned pumpkin into oatmeal

At Lunch & Dinner:

  • Sprinkle seaweed over salads, chicken or fish in sandwiches and in soups. It’ll add crunch and texture, as well as vitamin C and vitamin A
  • Stack sandwiches with sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Make a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich or burrito & ditch the bread
  • Grab an apple, pear or clementine and enjoy it with a meal
  • Toss pomegranate arils, sliced plums and avocado on a salad
  • Use nori or lettuce for traditional sandwiches or wraps rather than carb-rich bread
  • Toss veggies in soups (We do this at salad bars to get some extra antioxidants)
  • Top pizza and pasta with peppers, broccoli and extra tomatoes

How The Nutrition Twins do it: At lunch, we each have a side of a raw crunchy veggies, like red bell peppers. We both toss at least 2 cups of veggies in whatever we’re eating at dinner.  At restaurants we order a side of steamed veggies and dump them right in the main meal. As a bonus, we end up eating less of the heavy stuff.

4. Make your food taste better!

Simply add spices and herbs—think oregano, turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and so many more!

Promotes a healthy inflammatory response: Each spice and herb contains powerful phytonutrients that calm your body from the inside. If you want to promote healthy joints, spices are secret weapons that you should keep in your pantry.

Effortless: Simply sprinkle your favorite fresh or dried herbs & spices on your meals. Combine your favorite ones in shakers and keep them on the table.

Step up the health promoting power by replacing the salt-shaker with the spice shaker. You’ll promote a healthy inflammatory response in two ways:  1) You’ll slash unhealthy salt and 2) you’ll add health promoting spices — S-C-O-R-E!

  • Sprinkle cinnamon in oatmeal, coffee, yogurt or popcorn
  • Add garlic, black pepper, oregano and cayenne to pasta, pizza, fish, chicken or eggs
  • Liven up eggs, tea, veggies, salad or milk with turmeric
  • Add ginger and turmeric to tea, soup, stir-fry or rice

How The Nutrition Twins do it: We add spices to everything. A few notables: Tammy tops stir-fry and cauliflower with turmeric; Lyssie makes ginger tea and zests it on veggies. Actually, who are we kidding? The girl eats ginger straight up and adds it to everything!

5. Have dessert. Yessssssss! (ones that promote a healthy inflammatory response, of course).

Really! You actually can satisfy a sweet tooth and promote a healthy inflammatory response in one fell swoop. The key? Choose desserts that contain foods that naturally taste sweet, like fruit and spices like cinnamon and use them to replace desserts that get their sweetness from refined sugar. Foods that contain components like cacao (dark chocolate is made from this!) and nuts promote a healthy inflammatory response, too.

Promotes a healthy inflammatory response: While refined sugar can be an inflammatory factor (and spikes your blood sugar), eating fruits can inhibit TNF-alpha, a marker of inflammation, which in turn supports whole-body health. Plus, fruit tastes sweet and contains antioxidants that help mop up free radicals.

Brightly colored fruits like berries and cherries contain anthocyanins, known to be powerhouses that promote a healthy inflammatory response. Research has shown that nuts help inhibit markers such as TNF-alpha to support heart and vascular health. Spices, cacao and dark chocolate contain compounds that promote a healthy inflammatory response.

Effortless:  Who forgets about dessert? These twins don’t! Now you’ll keep guilt-free, waistline-friendly, healthy options on hand and trade out other treats—and you’ll know how much to have.  An ounce of dark chocolate? Hook a sista up!

Simply stock your kitchen with frozen and fresh fruits so they’re easily available and ready to eat. If portion control is difficult, just pre-portion the chocolate in advance.

What’s easier than swapping your typical dessert for one of these 100 calorie or less, waist-line friendly options that promote a healthy inflammatory response?

  • ¾ ounce of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  • 5 dark chocolate covered almonds
  • A baked apple or pear with cinnamon and 1 tsp crushed walnuts
  • One cup of frozen berries sprinkled with cinnamon or cacao powder
  • Blended frozen fruit. Place in ramekins, cover and store in freezer. Remove 5 minutes before eating
  • Baked Apple(89 calories, no sugar-added)
  • Skinny Speedy Walnut Oatmeal Cookies(55 calories)
  • Easy Healthy Strawberry Mint “Ice Cream”(40 calories)
  • Lyssie’s daily obsession: Apple “pie”(just the inside of the pie—no crust)

Make spiced hot chocolate: In a saucepan, heat 1 cup almond milk until warm. Stir in ¾ tablespoon cacao powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg and cloves and ¾ tsp honey (or 1-2 drops stevia) until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.

How The Nutrition Twins do it: We may be small but our sweet tooth is large. We satisfy it daily with a bowl of frozen blueberries, frozen banana slices—and who are we kiddingdark chocolate. Typically, dark chocolate covered almonds, hot spiced chocolate or a few organic dark chocolate chips. We measure out our portions in advance and enjoy!

If you’re looking for more support, we would love for you to apply to our Transformation Jumpstart program! It is a super easy process to ensure that we can support you to the best of our abilities. You can apply here.

Thanks to the team at Life Extension® for sponsoring this post! All opinions are our own, as always.

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14505813
  2. https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish
  3. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.013543
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509593/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29884191
  6. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/8/1032
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26718417
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26353789
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25149823


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

2 responses to “5 Hacks for a Healthy Inflammatory Response

  1. Young people between the age of 20 to30 are normally advised to eat as much as they want, unless over weight, should follow this food tips as well ?

    1. Hi Chris!Thanks so much for your question! The anti-inflammatory diet is a very healthy diet that is recommended for longevity for everyone. For portion control, if you are active and weight is not an issue, you may not need to stick to the portions that we recommend. Hope that helps! xox

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