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Sunday, June 26, 2016

What foods fight inflammation?

Are there foods that can fight inflammation?  In the nutrition classes I teach, students often ask what foods are anti-inflammatory.  Livestrong has a great article on Inflammation-Fighting Foods to Eat Every Day.  Another great resource is WebMD at: 11 Food Do's and Don'ts to Tame Inflammation
Why fight inflammation?  Inflammation isn’t all bad as it is a way for our bodies to respond to an injury or infection.  But chronic inflammation can lead to more serious problems.  Inflamed arteries can make way for heart attacks or strokes.  Others try anti-inflammatory diets for help with arthritis pain. 
What foods cause inflammation?
Just as there are anti-inflammatory foods, there are foods that contribute to inflammation.  According to Livestrong, these foods include:
o   Fried foods, especially foods fried in lard or hydrogenated oils.
o   Foods high in added sugar such as candy, sugared soda.  Limit added sugar foods to lessen inflammation.
o   Processed meats such as bacon, sausage as they have a higher fat content. 
o   Excessive alcohol
What foods fight inflammation? 

  1. Turmeric – also known as Curcumin, is a spice often used in Indian dishes.  It can be added to juice or used in stews or soup.  There are turmeric pills available. Some people are using turmeric to help with arthritis symptoms.
  2. Ginger – another spice with anti-inflammatory properties.   Patients with arthritis have found ginger of help in reducing inflammation.  Can be used in stir-fry dishes, added to juice.
  3. Rosemary – I have the rosemary plant growing on my deck.  Easy to grow and many recipes use rosemary.  Since fresh is best, growing rosemary and always having a fresh supply is easy to do.  Can be added to roasted chicken, roasted vegetables and potatoes.
  4. Paprika – another spice that helps fight inflammation.  It contains, capasaicin, which is an inflammation fighter. Or add chili peppers, red peppers to your diet.
  5. Salmon – this fish is good for your heart but also fights inflammation.  It is a source of the good fat, omega-3.
  6. Olive Oil – a heart healthy oil.  This oil is part of the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet.  Livestrong notes:  “olive oil is considered a powerhouse food because of its ability to lower inflammatory markers in the blood”. When choosing olive oil, go for EVOO or extra virgin olive oil as it is even healthier. EVOO contains, oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Walnuts – Dr. Oz often recommends a handful of nuts a day.  These can be walnuts because they have a heart healthy fat, omega-3’s.  Buy some chopped and add to your morning cereal, to some yogurt at lunch or to some make your own trail mix.
  8. Blueberries – so loaded with antioxidants and so good for your overall health.  They are anti-inflammatory and add some potassium to your diet.
  9. Kale – a dark green leafy vegetable loaded with antioxidants and many vitamins like A and C.  Add to a salad, to smoothies, when juicing.  Panera Bread offers a Romaine and Kale Caesar Salad.
  10. Garlic – When we had the roof replaced on our home, one of the roofers, took a break, pulled a whole garlic from his pocket, peeled it and ate the whole thing.   He said he did it for good health.  And he is right.  Garlic reduces inflammation and can boost one’s immune system. 

 So spice up your foods, buy leaner meats, use EVOO when cooking, enjoy some fresh blueberries and try to grow some rosemary this summer. 

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