I'm a dietitian—here are the products I always add to my cart when I shop at Aldi.
Aldi is the first place I head for groceries each week. Their organic produce, pantry staples and minimally processed meal shortcuts make it easier—and a lot less expensive—to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Here are some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods at Aldi.
Cherries and berries are packed with anthocyanins and antioxidants that help to tamp down both existing and future inflammation in the body. Frozen produce is often as nutritious as fresh—sometimes more! My daughter uses this frozen mix of tart and sweet cherries, strawberries and blueberries in her morning smoothie.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great source of anti-inflammatory nutrients. These are a great snack, but are also delicious sprinkled on salads or on top of soups. Also known as pepitas, these seeds contain vitamin E and carotenoids which are antioxidants and key minerals for your immune system. In fact, a one-ounce serving of pepitas provides 20% or more of the DV for iron and magnesium.(Read more about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds here.)
Kale and other dark leafy greens like baby spinach and arugula are top anti-inflammatory foods because of their combination of antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Research suggests that eating a cup of leafy greens a day may reduce risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's and other inflammatory-related conditions. If you're not a kale fan, choose one of Aldi's other organic leafy green options.
Beans provide complex carbs and fiber. Plus, they tend to have a much lower impact on blood glucose than refined complex carbs, which can help minimize inflammation. A serving or two of this bean salad that also contains corn, cucumber, bell pepper and a light olive oil dressing is filling enough for a light lunch, but it can also be used as topping on grilled fish or chicken or as a dip or condiment.
Catechins are anti-inflammatory compounds found in green tea leaves that stop free radical damage, and research suggests they may inhibit cancer cell formation, promote growth of good bacteria and reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease. These dried green tea leaves also contain lemon peel, lemongrass and ginseng root. You can serve the tea hot or try it iced for a refreshing summer pick-me-up.
Not only are eggs an inexpensive source of high-quality protein, but they're one of the best sources of two anti-inflammatory nutrients—selenium and choline. In fact, two eggs provide 50% of daily needs for both, along with B vitamins. Boil a few eggs to keep refrigerated during the week for an easy, nutrient-dense snack or scramble two eggs with veggies like baby spinach and cherry tomatoes for a quick meal.
Spices and dried herbs like turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, cumin and ginger have been used medicinally in other cultures for years for their anti-inflammatory effects. Aldi's large, inexpensive selection allows you to add to your spice drawer inventory, so you can experiment with new flavors and cuisines while also getting anti-inflammatory perks.
Unlike other cooking oils, olive oil contains an anti-inflammatory called oleocanthal that research suggests suppresses inflammation to reduce risk of heart disease and cancer and protect joint and brain health. Extra-virgin varieties contain the highest amount of oleocanthal, and ALDI usually has two to three options to choose from—including this Simply Nature one.
Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa contain more fiber and protein than refined carbs. They also have a lower glycemic index, which minimizes inflammatory effects that are seen with extreme glucose fluctuations. Whole grains often require longer cooking times, so keeping ready-to-heat pouches on hand (like this one or Aldi's Simply Nature 90-Second Quinoa and Brown Rice) will help simplify meal prep.
Healthy frozen meals that taste good can be hard to find, but this Aldi one is a winner! The hearty bowl contains quinoa, chicken breast, spinach, red bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. On busy days, a prepared meal like this that's made with whole grains, lean protein and vegetables is a great anti-inflammatory choice. For a touch of extra flavor, add a sprinkle of feta cheese.
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, a phytochemical that research suggests reduces inflammation associated with cancer and heart disease. This is one case where fresh isn't necessarily better because tomato products packaged with heat processing provide up to five times more lycopene per cup compared to fresh. Look for canned and jarred tomato products like diced tomatoes and tomato sauces with minimal added ingredients like this organic version made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices and no added sugars. Try it on pasta, over meatballs or on homemade pizza!
A good source of fiber and protein, hummus is the perfect dip for raw veggies like baby carrots, bell pepper strips and sugar snap peas. This makes it easy to eat your veggies, which is important since getting at least five produce servings in daily is one of the best eating approaches when it comes to reducing inflammation. Choose from one of Aldi's four hummus varieties: Classic, Roasted Red Pepper, Cilantro Jalapeño or Roasted Garlic.
The raw cacao bean is a source of anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which means dark chocolate is a good choice when you need a sweet treat. The higher the chocolate's cacao percentage, the more polyphenols it has, so choose a dark chocolate with 70% or more. This Aldi brand offers two options: one with 70% cacao and another with 80%.
Salmon and other fatty fish are considered a top anti-inflammatory food because they contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. These fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory effects that calm inflammation to reduce heart disease and dementia risk, but the average American intake of omega-3s is low. Incorporating fish like this wild-caught salmon one to two times per week is a delicious way to get in adequate amounts.