Anti-Inflammatory foods to buy at your local St. Louis markets
The St. Louis, Missouri, area is home to more than 30 distinct farmers’ markets that draw thousands of visitors each year. While the best known is likely the Historic Soulard Farmers’ Market, which was started in 1779 and is now the largest farmers’ market west of the Mississippi River, others include the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, the Clayton Farmers’ Market and the Farmers’ Market of Wildwood.
Virtually all of the fresh produce offered at these markets can benefit your health, but if you’re looking to help address neck or back pain through an anti-inflammatory diet, keep an eye out for the following five foods:
- Kale, spinach or chard — Dark, leafy greens are extremely rich in antioxidants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume three or more servings of dark green vegetables per week, and with so many options to choose from, that’s an easy goal to accomplish! Sautéed with a hint of lemon and garlic or eaten raw in a salad, kale, spinach and chard are among the best anti-inflammatory foods that can be found at a farmers’ market.
- Beets — These root vegetables contain phytonutrients called betalins, which help reduce inflammation throughout the body. However, the longer that beets are cooked, the more betalin they will lose. For the maximum benefits, try steaming a batch of beets for 15 to 20 minutes, then tossing them in a simple dressing of fresh herbs, orange zest and olive oil.
- Olive oil — On the topic of olive oil, why not pick up a bottle from one of the artisan booths at a local market? Olive oil contains an enzyme called oleocanthal, which works very similarly to ibuprofen in terms of stopping the production of inflammatory enzymes within the body. To double up your anti-inflammatory benefits, try drizzling a few tablespoons of olive oil over other antioxidant-rich farmers’ market finds, such as broccoli.
- Broccoli — Rich in several key nutrients, including vitamins A and K, broccoli also contains abundant antioxidants to help reduce inflammation in the body. The traditional cooking methods of steaming and roasting are always classic stand-by options, but for a bit more flair, try braising your broccoli in vegetable broth with shallots, red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of sun-dried tomatoes.
- Blueberries — No list of anti-inflammatory foods would be complete without blueberries, which have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of all foods. Not only are they wonderful additions to fresh fruit salads, but they can also be frozen for several months without losing their nutritional profile. And, if your local market offers organic blueberries, they’re worth the splurge – a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a scientific journal, showed that organically grown blueberries have higher concentrations of select antioxidants as compared to their conventionally grown counterparts.
While a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet can help many individuals who have neck or back pain, there are situations where additional medical treatment is required. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine procedures that are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open spine surgery. To learn more about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures for neck and back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today.