Spinach + blueberries
Whip up a smoothie with spinach and blueberries and drink it before and after your workout. In one study, athletes who ate blueberries every day for 6 weeks reduced post-workout inflammation, while other research shows spinach can improve breathing and the flow of oxygen during a workout. The nitrate present in spinach helps muscles work more efficiently during exercise, while blueberries help decrease muscle soreness after exercise. Bring on the smoothie!
Lentils + lemon
If you’re a premenopausal woman, you’re at risk for iron deficiency anemia (having too few healthy red blood cells due to too little iron in the body). According to the Iron Disorders Institute, this reaction results from an inflammatory response, and it can limit the amount of iron available to the rest of your body. Eating iron-rich foods, such as lentils and beans, together with citrusy foods high in ascorbic acid and carotenoids, like lemon, substantially increases the amount of iron absorbed.
Leafy greens + olive oil
Who says fat is the enemy? Research shows that combining vegetables and a source of healthy fat enhances absorption of antioxidants like lutein and beta-carotene. Lutein, an antioxidant in leafy greens, is known to diminish inflammation in the eyes, therefore helping prevent neurodegenerative disorders like age-related macular degeneration. Beta-carotene, another antioxidant, has been shown to lower all-over inflammation in older adults. Drizzle some olive oil over your next salad to ensure you get more bang for your buck.
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