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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Slowey, MA,RDN

Nutrition and Immunity

When there is an injury to the body the white blood cells gather to help protect us from infection. Certain diseases or disorders may trigger this response without there being an infection. This inflammation of body tissues leads to increased swelling and pain in the body.

Many patients with diseases affecting the immune response such as IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis struggle every day with painful symptoms and have looked towards nutrition and alternative therapies for solutions. An anti-inflammatory diet has been advised in an effort to decrease the inflammation in the body. It is also advisable to keep a food diary to determine food sensitivities and eliminate certain aggravating foods.


Anti Inflammatory Protein Sources:

salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines

If you are not able to consume these fish 3 times per week a Fish Oil supplement may be beneficial(ie: Fish Oil EPA, DHA 2-3 mg/day.)


pineapple, orange vegetables and fruits, berries, spinach, kale collard greens


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), pecans, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts


turmeric,ginger,onions, garlic

1 tsp of turmeric will provide 200 mg curcumin. To achieve the anti-inflammatory benefits you will need 500-1000 The curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties to help with joint pain. Other ways to increase your turmeric intake are to add to egg salad, scrambled eggs, smoothies, or to a shrimp or vegetable stir fry.

Packaged turmeric teas, turmeric or curcumin supplements may be an option also.

Probiotics :

yogurt, kefir, fermented foods; kombucha, sauerkraut


There are also certain foods that may initiate the inflammatory process and should be limited or avoided. They are the following:

Animal protein

Alcohol (1 glass of red wine per day is OK )



Processed foods

Vegetable oils


The following are 3 simple and delicious recipes using some of the recommended anti-inflammatory foods.

Easy Salmon Salad: Serves 4


1 1/2 lbs wild caught salmon with skin on

1 avocado

1 tbsp glazed pecans

1/3 cup EVOO

1/3 cup raw honey

1/3 cup coconut aminos

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp ground or fresh grated ginger

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 lemon

black pepper

himalayan salt

Salad Prep:

To make it simple use a packaged salad that includes carrots, kale, and spinach. For the dressing combine 1 tbsp of EVOO and white balsamic vinegar plus the juice of 1 lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced avocado and pecans.

Preparing the Salmon:

Whisk white balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and coconut aminos sauce together

Add minced garlic, ginger, smoked paprika, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Season with black pepper and himalayan salt.

Marinade the salmon in the above ingredients for 1-2 hours

Top with sesame seeds before placing in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Serve salmon with salad.

Vanilla Turmeric Tea:

Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10 min while whisking all the ingredients:

1 cup of almond milk, 1tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp coconut oil, vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Add a sprinkle of black pepper to help increase the absorption of the Curcumin.

Pour and enjoy

Strawberry Spinach Salad:


2 cups strawberries (halved)

2 bunches of fresh spinach (chopped)

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1/3 small red onion thinly sliced

1/4 cup EVOO

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp raw honey

2 tsp poppy seeds

2 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Place strawberries, spinach, feta cheese, and onions together in a large bowl.

Whisk olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds together in a bowl; drizzle over salad and toss to coat evenly.

Sprinkle slivered almonds on top.

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