6 ways pizza can help reduce inflammation
Pizza is one of those foods that calls to you —in happy times and sad times. Pizza is always there to celebrate a milestone or soothe your tears it seems. Despite its delicious taste, pizza is known for it’s considerable carbohydrate count, even higher calorie count and all around unhealthiness. When it comes to neck or back pain, the ingredients in pizza can some times increase inflammation and worsen chronic pain. What can we do if we still want to enjoy one of our favorite foods?
Ditch white bread. Pizza crust is still white bread, even though it comes in a disc shape. Instead, try whole wheat, cauliflower or zucchini as your crust.
Get clever with garlic cloves. Add a few cloves of garlic to your pizza sauce for flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits. Crushing, chopping or pressing the garlic and letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes allows the enzymes to react and give you the most allicin. This compound has many health benefits, including immune-boosting capabilities, improving cardiac health and preventing the common cold.
Reduce dairy. If you can’t imagine going without cheese on your pizza, try using less cheese. Low fat cheese and organic or grass-fed cheese can help reduce inflammation.
Skip pepperoni. Unfortunately this classic topping increases inflammation. Most processed meats have preservatives that turn increase inflammatory reactions. Instead, try using other types of meat on your pizza such as ground turkey or lean chicken.
Veg out. Adding broccoli, arugula or kale to your pizza is a great way to reduce inflammation and add nutrients. Leafy greens are an unexpected source of calcium. Adding bell pepper slices, onions or asparagus doesn’t hurt either. Don’t be scared to get creative with your vegetable choices.
Spice things up. Adding crushed red pepper flakes to your pizza is a great way to add a kick. Not only do peppers offer anti-inflammatory benefits, hot red peppers also have a pain relieving property.
Now you can eat your pizza and not feel guilty. Adding veggies also opens new doors as to what a pizza topping can be. Any one of these changes can help reduce your inflammation, mix and match or go for the anti-inflammatory gold and do all six.