Naturopathic Nutrition

Anti Inflammatory Diet – Allium Family

If you follow me on Instagram then you will know by now that I am pretty much following an anti inflammatory diet as a form of treatment for my fibromyalgia, and I thought it would be both interesting and useful to break this down into different foods, looking at what makes them useful and how to use them in every day cooking. For this post we will be looking at the allium family.


There aren’t many dinner times in our house that don’t feature a member of the incredibly versatile allium family. The most dominant member of the allium clan for me has to be the humble onion, while he isn’t much to look at he certainly gives much flavour to pretty much all our dinners.


A close second comes the competitive brother of the onion, Garlic. He also works his way into many of our dishes and adds a subtle yet tasty tone to a dish when added in the right amounts, and of course they keep vampires away.


In the peloton we have leeks, shallots and scallions, which we use mostly in soups and stews, and as leek is pretty much a winter staple they don’t feature as much no we are moving into the spring and summer, but are still pretty awesome. Shallots are what I use in my cooking when I want a slightly sweeter onion taste, or if I’m feeling posh when expecting guests. As for scallions, they are definitely a summer flavour for me and I particularly enjoy growing them as the grow so quickly. I have a bit of a thing for quickly griddled scallions, or even better, barbecued.


Bringing up the rear in our house, but certainly not to be overlooked is the chive. There oniony flavoured greens and oh so pretty flowers added a delightful punchy flavour to salads and stir fries, when I leave out raw onion which typically gives me heartburn.

 

So why are alliums so good for you? Well I’ll tell you!

The reason alliums are so good for us is because of their wide array of sulphur compounds. Not only does this give them their characteristic pungent smell and their ability to make us cry (think mascara smeared blubbering mess in my case), but it delivers many health benefits including –

  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Anti-cancer activity
  • Lowering levels of cholesterol
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Antibacterial and antiviral properties – particular garlic

Alliums also contain a pretty awesome compound called Quercetin which along with the other sulphur compounds have been shown to have a great anti inflammatory effect, which is very useful in fibromyalgia and many other chronic conditions. Onions are the kings in this department but all of the other alliums are also high in Quercetin, and should not be ignored.

Many people find that alliums can exacerbate symptoms of IBS, and I must say, I don’t eat raw alliums. They are always well and truly cooked, but I do leave them to rest a little after chopping and crushing, perhaps half an hour, to reap maximum benefits when cooked. By leaving to rest the anti inflammatory properties as activated and will have a greater effect.

As I have already mentioned I use alliums pretty much every day in my cooking. Here are a few examples of when I have use alliums as part of an anti inflammatory diet. I have provided brief instructions as will be sharing this recipes in more detail on the blog soon.

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Stir fried winter vegetables with lemon quinoa – Simply stir fry any finely chopped winter vegetables in half a tablespoon of olive oil for 5-6 minutes, add a little vegetable stock (about 100ml), crushed garlic, a teaspoon of tomato puree and sun-dried tomatoes to lift the flavour. Simmer until liquid is absorbed and vegetables tender. I particularly enjoy using onions and leeks in this dish. Shallots would work well too. I personally serve this with quinoa, but rice would work equally as well.
IMG_0728
Chicken and white bean stew – gently fry off some onions, garlic and carrot, in olive oil for about 10 minutes, until tender and glossy, add chopped chicken breast until just coloured. Add enough chicken stock to cover and can of white bean of your choice. I personally like haricot beans. Simmer until chicken and beans cooked through. Served on a chilly day to warm the cockles.
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Leek and butter bean stew – you can find this recipe on the BBC good food website here

I hope you have found this post useful and feel inspired to use alliums more in your cooking. Next time we will be looking more closely at apple/cider vinegar.

As always please feel free to leave any comments down below or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for daily updates on fibromyalgia and chronic illness. You can find links to these site to the right of this post.

Happy Eating!

As with everything on my blog, I am writing from personal experience and research. What I find beneficial may not be the same for everybody and so please experiment carefully and monitor your symptoms while trying any new change to your health routine.

 

 

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