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Got Inflammation? There’s a Diet for That

antiinflammatorydietJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Chronic inflammation may slowly simmer for weeks or years without awareness that the body is inflamed, yet the implications of systemic chronic inflammation are clear. Persistent, low-grade inflammation is potentially damaging to long term good health. Chronic inflammation is the underlying factor in the development of a range of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel, cancer, and cardiovascular, lung, autoimmune and cognitive diseases, as well as allergies, acne, migraines and depression. While genetic predisposition, aging, obesity, stress and lifestyle factors may all contribute to chronic inflammation, dietary choices play a huge role in influencing the inflammatory process.

Healing chronic inflammation begins with not only with food, but with an overall healthy lifestyle. Getting sufficient sleep, exercising regularly, reducing stress, limiting alcohol consumption, and of course, not smoking all go hand in hand with a healthy diet. Although many do lose weight when they follow it, an anti-inflammatory diet is not a diet per se, as there’s no calorie counting or calorie restrictions. What you are likely to discover is a general feeling of wellbeing, improved focus, increased energy, clearer skin, a healthier body image and more restful sleep. Better yet, a dramatic reduction of unhealthy sugar and carb cravings, more balanced hormones, a sunnier outlook and optimized long term health.

Similar to the Mediterranean diet, the anti-inflammatory diet was developed by Andrew Weil, a Harvard-educated doctor and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Based on the belief that certain foods are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, the diet’s goal is to combat inflammation and strengthen physical and mental health, while providing steady energy and reducing the risks of developing age-related chronic illnesses. The diet helps to stabilize blood sugar with low-glycemic meals that place a heavy emphasis on phytonutrient- and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, complex carbs including whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats from olive oil, avocados and nuts and several servings a week of omega-3 rich cold-water fish in lieu of red meat and poultry.

The diet aims to combat chronic inflammation by increasing the intake of inflammation-reducing food components, while decreasing the amount of inflammation-promoting foods. As there are no strict meal plans, the diet is easy to follow and provides plenty of flexibility for cooking at home or dining out. The general goal to is have meals that consist of 40-50% complex carbs, 30% healthy fats and 20-30% lean proteins. Additionally, the diet recommends drinking plenty of water and provides lots of fiber from whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. A moderate amount of alcohol, especially red wine is allowed, but processed, fried and sugar laden foods are not.

Foods to include:

Plant foods contain numerous anti-inflammatory elements including minerals, antioxidants, carotenoids, lycopene, resveratrol and other phytonutrients that discourage inflammation and provide fiber and nutrients for good overall health. Include dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables which tend to have higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

Berries, tart cherries and other fruits are high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Garlic and onions high sulfur content provides immune-boosting nutrients along with anti-inflammatory compounds, including quercetin and allicin that help fight free radical damage.

Baked or broiled fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, high in inflammation-reducing omega-3’s, should be eaten several times a week. Omega-3 fish oil supplements should be considered by those who are not particularly fond of fish.

Whole grains contain fiber, which keeps blood sugar steady and reduces blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

Nuts provide fiber, nutrients, antioxidants and alpha-linoleic acid, an inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acid.

Spices such as ginger, rosemary and turmeric not only add flavor but provide active anti-inflammatory components or immune modulators that help reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses.

Foods to avoid:

High glycemic index foods and drinks, including those high in added sugars and simple refined carbohydrates, such as chips, pretzels and flour-based foods, that increase inflammation along with blood sugar.

Red meat, processed foods and unhealthy partially hydrogenated vegetables oils that are high in pro-inflammatory markers, including omega-6 essential fatty acids that encourage inflammation.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine products to support a normal inflammatory response and overall wellness:

Peak Omega-3 Liquid...Peak Omega-3 Liquid Fish Oil by Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil20% OFF Just one teaspoon provides a concentrated dose of pure, great tasting, liquid fish oil. This 100% American made high quality fish oil is sustainably sourced from wild Alaskan pollock and is naturally preserved with certified Non-GMO mixed tocopherols. Molecularly distilled to ensure purity. Natural lemon flavor. Gluten free with no artificial ingredients.

 

Pro RedsPro Reds by Nutritional Frontiers – Convenient and easy-to-use, this proprietary powdered formula is designed to boost energy and support the body’s antioxidant defense systems. A single scoop of this tasty berry blend provides 5 servings of high ORAC value antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Gluten, dairy and soy free, vegetarian formulation.

 

Advanced Bio...Advanced Bio-Curcumin® with Ginger and Turmerones by Life Extension 15% OFF This potent, bioavailable formula provides BCM-95® curcumin extract along with standardized ginger extract for increased absorption and a healthy inflammatory response.

 

Tart Cherry UltraTart Cherry Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy – This formula provides beneficial antioxidant and anthocyanin anti-inflammatory compounds that may help prevent blood vessel damage and may be useful in fighting chronic inflammation linked to chronic disease. Gluten, dairy and soy free, vegetarian formula.

 

Vitamin C with...Vitamin C with Quercetin by Integrative Therapeutics – This synergistic formula provides enhanced support for the maintenance of proper immune balance. Ingredients include quercetin, citrus bioflavonoids and bromelain. Gluten, dairy and soy free, vegetarian formula.

References:
Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms & Anti-inflammatory Diet. http://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html
Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet. http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/anti-inflammatory-diet
Influencing Inflammation. http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/diets-weight-loss/influencing-inflammation/
14 Foods That Fight Inflammation. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20705881,00.html/view-all#ginger-and-turmeric-0
Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods. https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/
8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation-6.php