From leafy greens to root plants, vegetables are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Packed with important vitamins and minerals, these superfoods can help strengthen immunity, fight inflammation and boost overall health.
But veggies have a lot more to offer than they let on. When paired with the right foods, they become more nutritious and healthful for your body. Check out the following kitchen hacks to enhance veggies' anti-inflammatory benefits: (h/t to MindBodyGreen.com)
1. Toss with spices and herbs
Spices and herbs not only add flavor to meals but also boost their nutritional value. Superfoods like turmeric, chili pepper and rosemary contain powerful natural compounds that help reduce inflammation. When used as seasonings, they make your meal even more healthful.
Toss your veggies with spices and herbs. If you're using turmeric, be sure to sprinkle with black pepper to boost absorption. Besides being nutritious, these superfoods can also turn a basic veggie soup into a gourmet meal. Simply saute a diced yellow onion in avocado oil or olive oil. Once the onion is translucent, add a generous pinch of sea salt and peeled, chopped fall squash or any root veggie you like. Pour veggie broth and cook until the veggie is easily pierced by a fork, then mix with your spice of choice until smooth.
Moroccan seasonings like harissa complement the sweet warmth of butternut squash while cayenne pepper and cinnamon go well with acorn squash. Try various seasonings — your meal is yours to play around.
2. Deglaze with bone broth
Bone broth is commonly used to deglaze the caramelized bits stuck on your pan. But as it turns out, it can also enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits of veggies. Nutritionists have said that glucosamine in bone broth can reduce pain and swelling, stimulate the growth of new collagen and repair damaged joints.
Take advantage of bone broth's healing powers. You can use it for stuffing and soups on top of deglazing veggies. To make sure you always have some on hand, freeze bone broth in an ice cube tray. When it's completely frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a large, freezer-safe bag. (Related: The 5 health benefits of homemade bone broth.)
You can pop out a cube or two when flavoring stir-fried veggies. When deglazing, be sure to do it right with this step-by-step guide:
Remove your main ingredient from the pan.
Immediately add the bone broth.
Bring the broth to a boil and stir.
Keep stirring until the broth is reduced by half.
3. Cook with anti-inflammatory fats
Some fatty foods are rich in beneficial unsaturated fats that are important for good health. Choose anti-inflammatory cooking oils like olive oil and avocado oil when stir-frying your veggies. You can also add nuts and seeds to enhance your meal's nutritive value. Rich in healthy polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds help lower inflammation and boost overall health.
Add pistachios to salads or top roasted veggies with pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts. For a unique texture, sprinkle a generous amount of nuts into your favorite soup. Healthy and delicious, nuts are great in both desserts and savory dishes.
Veggies are nutritious on their own, but mixing them with other superfoods makes them even better for your body. Next time you're making a veggie meal, be sure to apply these easy culinary tips to make the most out of your favorite produce.