Let food be thy medicine

unnamedA trio of dietitians who specialise in working with patients with a wide range of rheumatological conditions have released an innovative cookbook aimed at encouraging people to cook with foods that help reduce inflammation.

And they are hoping that Australians – many of whom have been inspired to get back to basics in the kitchen thanks to a never-ending stream of reality cooking shows – will see that food can be much more than just fuel.

Chloe McLeod, Monica Kubizniak and Kate Bennett, accredited practicing dietitians and sports dietitians, and accredited nutritionists with BJC Health spent about a year researching and writing the book, Anti-Inflammatory Eating – Recipes From Your Dietitian’s Kitchen.

“A lot of people don’t really know how to prepare vegetables well, so that they are appealing, and a good example of that is Brussel sprouts,” Ms McLeod told the limbic.

“People need to be educated that there’s so many different ways to prepare vegetables to make delicious and healthy meals.”

“The perception of how long it takes to cook a healthy meal is another barrier,” she said.

But this book takes a step beyond just healthy and delicious, creating more than 50 recipes based on eating whole, real foods with scientifically-based evidence that can actually help treat inflammatory conditions, in particular osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout, as well as any other health issue that may result in or from inflammation, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The book doesn’t just offer recipes, but also rates them as suitable for vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and FODMAP-friendly. Recipes cover mains, salads, deserts and snacks, and include mouth-watering delights such as Pumpkin and Cashew Nut Curry, Whole Roasted Atlantic Salmon, Turmeric-marinated Kangaroo, Pomegranate Salad, Hazelnut & Banana Smoothie, Nutty Chocolate Slice.

Among the commonly used herbs and spices is turmeric. According to the authors, research indicates that use of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, reduces the effect of TNF- alpha which is a central mediator of joint inflammation that characterises the disease.

“The dose required to optimise this effect is yet to be determined and the degree of clinical benefit has yet to be established,” they wrote.

Ms McLeod pointed to a randomised, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, published in the Phytotherapy Research journal in 2012.

“It’s really showing promise,” she said.

But it’s not all good news and yummy recipes in the book – research shows that only 8% of the Australian population eats enough vegetables on a daily basis.

“It’s really quite scary I think,” Ms McLeod said. “If you learn how to prepare vegetables and plan ahead it doesn’t have to be difficult.”

She said clients were often  surprised  about the  volume  of  food  they  can  eat  when  following  an  anti-inflammatory  diet  that  contains an adequate amount of vegetables each day.

“You never go hungry,” she said.


Turmeric Snapper


  • 1½ tsp of turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 snapper fillets (approximately 120-150 g each)


  1. Combine turmeric, crushed garlic and olive oil in a bowl to form a paste.
  2. Coat snapper fillets with paste.
  3. Pan fry in a hot pan (no extra oil is necessary) for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with mixed salad or vegetables.

Note: A delicious alternative is adding finely chopped basil, coriander or parsley to the paste.

Per serve provides: Energy:1202kJ; Protein: 24.6g; Fat: 20.5g; Fibre: <1g

Source: Anti-Inflammatory Eating – Recipes From Your Dietitian’s Kitchen, BJC Health The Bone and Joint Clinic Pty Ltd trading as BJC Health, 2016. The book can be downloaded from the BJC book shop for $9.99.

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