Eat to Defeat Inflammation
It's a common misnomer that inflammation is only present in the body if you feel pain. This form of inflammation is called acute inflammation. And while acute inflammation is no fun to experience, silent inflammation is the more pressing matter. Although silent inflammation isn't felt (hence the name), the body undergoes a bounty of internal stress that can cause serious health implications over time.
And if you don't think you need to worry about inflammation, think again. Scientists predict that one in three Americans will have an inflammatory disease within the next two decades.
Silent inflammation is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, cancer, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Parkinson’s disease, and many more. The many expressions of inflammation bring over 100,000 excess deaths adding an annual incremental health-care cost exceeding $200 billion.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of certain nutrients, a healthful diet can help you fight off inflammation. (Regular exercise, not smoking, and losing weight are powerful tools, too.) Start by eating less of the “bad stuff”— fast food, French fries, and soda, as well as sweets such as cookies, cakes, and pies. These highly processed foods loaded with fat, sugar, and salt promote inflammation, while eating more of the “good stuff”—yes, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts—inhibits and protects against inflammation.
my top 10 anti-inflammatory foods:
1. Wild-Caught Fish. Salmon and tuna are great sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. These foods help offset the pro-inflammatory effects of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pervasive in our diet.
2. Flaxseeds. Flaxseed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Grind flaxseed to release the oils, and then add a spoonful of it to your salad, oatmeal, or yogurt.
3. Raw Walnuts. Walnuts are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Top a salad with a handful of walnuts or eat raw walnuts as a snack.
4. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (cold pressed). Studies suggest consuming a Mediterranean-style diet—a diet high in plant foods and olive oil—helps decrease joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The compound oleocanthal, which gives olive oil its taste, has been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers in the body.
5. Leafy Greens. Greens are not only high in chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, but they're also a great source of magnesium, helping the liver manufacture enzymes to properly digest food.
6. Dark Chocolate (80% cacao or higher). The consumption of dark chocolate has been linked to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation in the body.
7. Turmeric. Spice up your life. Turmeric, also known as curry, is a traditional spice of Indian cuisine. In a recent pilot study, supplemental turmeric helped reduce joint tenderness and swelling in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Ginger. Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level. In fact, a University of Miami study concluded that ginger extract could one day be a substitute to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
9. Pineapple. This tropical fruit contains the enzyme bromelain, which can help treat muscle injuries like sprains and strains.
10. Organic Tart Cherries. According to the latest research, tart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. In a recent study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for several weeks experienced a significant reduction in important markers of inflammation. Note: Cherries are one of the most contaminated foods with pesticides, so invest in organic to eliminate the toxic residues that may spark inflammation.
Try adding 1-2 of these ingredients to your daily regimen to keep inflammation at bay.
Along with anti-inflammatory foods, I often get asked which supplements can help the body fight inflammation. While it's important to obtain vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients by eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, it's true that the body sometimes needs extra support. Supporting a healthy diet with certain supplements can aid your body in defeating inflammation. Here are some of my favorites:
OmegaGuard: Omega-3, in doses of 3 grams or more per day, has been found effective for those with rheumatoid arthritis, reducing morning stiffness and the number of joints that are tender or swollen, according to a review of the research on omega-3 fatty acids and health in American Family Physician. OmegaGuard™ delivers a full spectrum of ultra-pure, pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy heart, joint and brain function. It is made with a proprietary multistep molecular distillation process for the utmost purity and potency of omega-3s fatty acids, including EPA and DHA.
Vitamin C: Your body is capable of many things, but it can’t make vitamin C. This formula offers a proprietary sustained-release system that delivers the vitamin C equivalent of one-and-a-half oranges every hour for five hours.
Vivix Liquid Antioxidant: This phytonutrient blend harnesses the powerful antioxidant properties of rare muscadine grapes and has been shown to be 10X more powerful than resveratrol alone in slowing a key mechanism of cellular aging.
Joint Health Complex: This formula contains a fast-acting form of Boswellia extract, a concentrated form of glucosamine and other key joint nutrients to help bring joint comfort and mobility. Helps joints feel better in less than 5 days.
Here's to living younger longer!