We’re all about small tweaks that can make a big difference in your health. With that in mind, we asked some of the country’s best functional doctors and nutrition experts the single ingredients they add to their dinner to maximize the meal’s anti-inflammatory effects. The answer? They rely heavily on herbs and spices (both dried and fresh) and lean into all things green. Here’s what their meals look like, so you can up-level your own:
I use a lot of herbs in my cooking, fresh in season, dried when not. Oregano, thyme, basil, cilantro—the list goes on. Not only do herbs make everything taste more flavorful and vibrant, but they have numerous health benefits from supporting healthy weight to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects. Start with a few seasonings from your favorite cuisine: If you love Italian, emphasize basil and oregano; if Asian is your favorite, try ginger and garlic; if you love Mexican, try oregano, chilies, cilantro, and cumin. For fresh herbs all year round, try growing chives, oregano, thyme, and cilantro as houseplants in a sunny windowsill!
—Aviva Romm, M.D., holistic women’s hormone expert
Dinner is not dinner in my home if there is no garlic. Not only do I love the way it smells when it starts cooking, but I also love the way it adds such a powerful flavor to everything. The bonus is that it has so many health benefits, including fighting inflammation. If I’m actually following a recipe (which is rare!), I’ll always double the amount of garlic it calls for. As I think about it, I must always end up with garlic breath, but it is so worth it, and luckily my husband doesn’t mind!
—Allison (Aaron) Gross, M.S., RDN, CDN, founder of Nutrition Curator