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Anti-inflammatory food to keep your skin healthy

The word ‘inflamed’ tends to carry a negative connotation, though what we often overlook is the necessity of this bodily response in the healing process. As such, inflammation is both a saint and a sinner, a friend as well as a foe. It is an important bodily response to help protect and heal the damaged area by immobilising it, giving it space to do its thing and get better. This is what is described as acute inflammation and is a necessary step in the journey of healing.

From a skin perspective, there are a broad range of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.

Skin inflammation falls neatly into two categories: acute or chronic. Acute inflammation such as sunburn or acne is typically resolved within 6 weeks. Whereas chronic inflammation such as eczema, rosacea or psoriasis lasts much longer and “results from a sustained immune cell mediated inflammatory response within the skin itself. This inflammation is long lasting and can cause significant and serious tissue destruction.” These skin conditions may result in hot, irritated, itchy, sore, swollen and red skin and can cause quite a lot of discomfort both physically and psychologically.

Although the causation of chronic skin inflammation is complex there is mountable evidence proving the strong relationship between our gut's microbiome and our skin health. Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef succinctly states "The skin is a great barometer of what is going on inside the body. If your skin is irritated, inflamed or congested, chances are high that there may be an imbalance in your gut."

With this in mind, here are 5 anti-inflammatory recipes by Jenya Di Pierro for you to try at home:

Makes 2 – Quick and Easy – Gluten Free

  • Endives contain a phytonutrient called kaempferol which has anti-inflammatory properties and could help protect against heart disease and certain cancers. Endive also packs a variety of vitamins, such as vitamin A, K and B.Bitters in endives stimulate liver function and production of bile, helping breakdown and excrete toxins from the body (this is true of all bitters radishes, dandelions, rocket).
  • Oranges are rich in beta carotene, precursor to vitamin A, which supports skin immunity, speeds up healing and regeneration.
  • Garlic is a great immune and circulatory booster and is a prebiotic.
  • Rosemary reduces inflammation and stimulates liver enzymes to enhance elimination.


2 endives (about 1 per person)
½ orange, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
1 tsp rosemary (dried or fresh)
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp basil (dried or fresh)
½ grated peel of orange

For The Dressing

1 tbsp date, maple or coconut syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
Juice of ½ orange

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C ).
  2. Slice the endives in half lengthwise.
  3. In a little bowl whisk together the syrup, balsamic vinegar, tamari and orange juice. Set aside.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and cut in slices.
  5. Peel and slice the orange.
  6. Place the endives in the oven (side up) and place the garlic cloves on top of the endives. Drizzle the dressing over the endives.
  7. Add the orange slices on top of the endives together with the thyme, rosemary, cumin, and basil. Roast for about 20 minutes or until soft and brown.

Makes 4 – Quick and Easy – Gluten Free

  • Sauerkraut contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria which protect the body from reabsorption of pathogens and toxins from the gut. They also help to break down toxins that haven't been processed by the liver, and synthesise important vitamins like B and K.
  • Carrots are full of beta carotene a precursor to Vitamin A which aids skin health and regeneration.
  • Apples contain quercetin an antioxidant which also has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions on the body. Apples are a great source of fibre to support healthy digestive tract.


2 carrots
1 apple
2 small radishes
2 tbsp sauerkraut
1 chilli (optional)

For The Dressing

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  1. Grate the carrot and apple, chop the radishes and chilli then combine with sauerkraut.
  2. Add the dressing and enjoy with a side of cauliflower mash for extra gut benefits.

Makes 8 – Quick and Easy – Gluten Free

  • All greens are rich in chlorophyll, which is cleansing for the body, and alkalising.
  • Sorrel is high in antioxidants including vitamin C, A and B which fight oxidative stress.
  • Nettles cleanse the lymph, are anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and one of the best herbs for eczema.
  • Dandelion leaves stimulate liver function and improve the bodies ability to detoxify
  • Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 which are anti-inflammatory.


50g blanched nettle
50g fresh sorrel
50g fresh basil
50g fresh dandelion leaves
50g chives
150g toasted pine kernels
50g walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2tbsp nutritional yeast
2tsp maple syrup
2tsp mustard
2tbsp lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste

Blend together in a blitzer.

Makes 4 – Quick and Easy – Gluten Free

  • All greens are anti-inflammatory, alkaline and cleansing due to chlorophyll, bitters are good in particular as they speed up the metabolism and detoxification by enhancing liver function.
  • Fibrous vegetables support gut health.
  • Leafy greens are an abundant source of all vitamins and minerals but should be eaten raw as heat destroys enzymes and vitamins.
  • Broccoli is high in fibre and vitamin C. Vitamin C helps generate collagen and is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals. Broccoli contains sulforaphane that may prevent cancer cell growth by releasing antioxidant and detoxification enzymes that protect against carcinogens.


5-6 leaves dandelion
2 handfuls rocket leaves
2 handfuls steamed broccoli sprouts
You can use other bitters of your choice, such as radish or artichoke leaves.
2 spears shaved asparagus
1 shaved Chioggia beetroot
2 tbsp roasted pistachios

For The Dressing

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp tamari

Combine all herbs, drizzle the dressing, decorate with garlic flowers.

Makes 4 – Quick and Easy – Gluten Free

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene which is converted into vitamin A, an essential vitamin that helps combat UV damage and improve skin's appearance.
  • Chilli powder is anti-inflammatory but often hot ingredients can be triggers for those with rosacea and should be avoided.
  • Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory with the presence of the yellow phenolic compound curcumin, it supports liver function and detoxification and is cancer fighting.
  • Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants.


500g large sweet potato
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne or chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp freshly chopped ginger
200g coconut yogurt

Boil chopped and peeled sweet potato in 750ml of filtered water. When potato turns soft, add all spices and coconut yogurt, boil for 2 more minutes and blend with a hand blender.


Jenya Di Pierro
Herbal Medicine Practitioner, BA, MA, AMH, ANP

Frederika Van Hagen
Holistic Facialist

Tags: Health | Author: Jenya Di Pierro, Herbalist & Naturopath & Frederika Van Hagen, Holistic Facialist

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