4 Nutrient-Packed Snacks That Fight Inflammation

Young woman snacking on a cereal protein bar.
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Health

When you're in the mood for a snack, the first thing you probably think of is something sugary, a piece of pastry, or a morsel of savory meat. Most people don't know this, but these are exactly the type of foods that trigger inflammation in the body.

Inflammation is the natural process that typically occurs with injury, infection, or toxin contamination, through which blood flow is increased to the affected area in order to deliver antibodies and proteins where they're needed.

When it occurs occasionally -- for example, in the case of a bruise or a swollen ankle that only lasts a few days -- it is known as acute inflammation and signifies a positive response that leads to healing, explains Real Simple.

"But when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and stroke."

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks you can choose from in order to avoid inflammation and keep that mid-day hunger at bay. Check them out below!

1. Veggies & Hummus

 Veggie and hummus platter.
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One of the best anti-inflammatory snacks of all time is an assorted veggie pack. Go for a combination of carrots, bell peppers, radishes, cucumber, mushrooms, and snap peas -- the more colorful your plate is, the better!

As nutritionist and mediterranean diet dietitian, Ale Zozos explains, veggies and fruits in vibrant colors are filled with antioxidants, which help the body fight off oxidative stress caused by free radicals and reduce inflammation.

This "is why it's so important to eat in color," Zozos says.

Pair your fresh veggies with hummus for a protein kick and enjoy a filling, nutritious snack that will keep you satiated and healthy!

2. Plain Yogurt Topped With Blueberries & Walnuts

Woman holding a bowl of plain yogurt topped with strawberry slices, blueberries, and nuts.
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Healthy fats are another anti-inflammatory ingredient you should be adding to your snack rotation. Perhaps the easiest choice here is yogurt -- it's excellent as a stand-alone snack and also great for breakfast!

The trick with yogurt is to go plain -- avoid sugary varieties at all costs. If you have a sweet tooth, add some fruit to your yogurt for a bit of taste and flavor. Go for colorful, antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries or strawberries, and sprinkle a handful of walnuts on top.

"The yogurt provides fat and protein, while the blueberries and walnuts are considered anti-inflammatory superfoods," registered dietitian Brynn McDowell tells Real Simple. "Plus the walnuts provide Omega-3s which help the body restore balance after inflammation."

3. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toast

Smoked salmon and avocado on a piece of toast.
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Speaking of healthy fats, fatty fish, such as smoked salmon, is a terrific option for when you're looking for a healthy afternoon eat or need a quick, good-for-you bite during the workday, Real Simple points out.

For one thing, smoked salmon is a dependable source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lessen inflammation in the body. At the same time, it's also rich in protein, making for a super-filling snack that will last you a good while.

Combine it with smashed avocado -- another good source of healthy fats -- and a piece of whole-grain toast for some much-needed fiber.

4. Protein Power Balls

Protein power balls in a bowl, with almonds and dried fruit.
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Whole grains should be a big part of your diet if you're trying to avoid inflammation. The main reason for that is that unlike refined grains (white flour, white bread, white rice), which have been extensively milled and are known to cause inflammation, whole grains contain the entire grain kernel and are, therefore, packed with nutrients.

For your snacking purposes, go for whole grain and seed bars -- particularly those with pumpkin seeds and cinnamon, which are also anti-inflammatory ingredients -- or mix a batch of homemade protein power balls that you can combine with your favorite dried fruits.

"They can be the perfect bite of protein and fiber, and they're filled with anti-inflammatory ingredients," says McDowell.