Fighting inflammation with dairy products

WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center is a grass-roots organization that provides nourishing environments where women can rebuild their lives and self-worth through peer mentorship, life skills trainings, empowerment groups, and essential community support.

(Nancy Chang demonstrating how to make a Greek yogurt macaroni and cheese at WomenFirst)

In collaboration with OHSU’s Antiracism and Equity Coalition, OHSU Dietetic Interns, Amy Puccini and Nancy Chang, created and delivered a 3-part workshop on managing inflammation with nutrition as part of the life skills training. This workshop focused on defining inflammation and the relationship between the pain we feel and the food we eat. Each workshop ended with a cooking demo highlighting specific foods that could help reduce inflammation.

One cooking demo consisted of Greek yogurt mac and cheese recipe to highlight low-fat dairy foods. Everyone indicated it tasted delicious and healthy while still being cheesy. Following each demo, participants were able to take home a free bag of groceries with anti-inflammatory recipes to try at home with their families.

Education about dairy included what types of foods contain dairy and the best dairy foods to support an anti-inflammatory diet, such as lower-fat dairy products. Many of the participants were surprised that dairy was included in the neutral or anti-inflammatory list of foods. Through group discussion, we were able to relieve misconceptions and build a better foundational understanding that dairy is an important component to healthy diets, and anti- inflammatory diets as well.

Nancy Chang is a graduate student enrolled in OHSU’s Dietetic Intern Program at ODNC.

Amy Puccini is a Dietetic Intern enrolled in OHSU’s Graduate Program in Human Nutrition.