As a dancer, chances are your joints and muscles have experienced the painful effects of inflammation. But many foods have been found to either worsen or fight these effects (not surprisingly, fried foods, sugary sodas and refined carbs like white bread are among the inflammatory culprits). Here are a few foods with anti-inflammatory benefits, to help you power through rehearsals and performances more comfortably:
- Foods rich in omega-3s: Think fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel; walnuts; or flaxseeds.
- Cherries are a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound that can help with pain management. Tart cherry juice has also been found to reduce muscle pain and weakness after intensive strength training or long-distance running.
- Turmeric, a spice found in many Indian dishes, has known anti-inflammatory benefits, and it's easy to sprinkle onto your salad for a dash of extra flavor. Alessa Rogers of Atlanta Ballet says she turns to turmeric to help reduce inflammation during hectic Nutcracker seasons.
- Green tea's anti-inflammatory properties help reduce muscle and joint aches, and—bonus—the soothing drink can also calm nerves and decrease heart rate.