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Inflammation and Food
Inflammation is a sign of injury or illness. Increase inflammation in your body can be a risk factor for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Your diet and lifestyle can increase or decrease the amount of inflammation in your body.
To decrease the amount of inflammation in your body:
- Avoid overeating: More food than you need causes your body to make more fat cells. Studies have shown that eating 20-30% less food can decrease inflammation in your body.
- Lose weight: A weight loss of 10% or more makes a significant reduction in the amount of circulating inflammatory markers.
- Moderate carbohydrate intake: Foods that are low in fiber and high in sugar are inflammatory. Limit your intake of sweetened drinks, snack foods, processed foods and desserts.
- Avoid trans fats: These fatty acids are mostly found in store-bought baked goods, snack foods, frostings, shortening and fried foods.
- Limited saturated fats: We need some saturated fats but too much can increase the risk of chronic disease. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal fat, dairy products, butter, lard and eggs.
- Increase your fruits and vegetables: Try to eat 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Look for ones that are deep green, orange, yellow, and purple.
- Use olive oil when you can: Oil is very dense in calories but the fats in olive oil are anti-inflammatory.
- Increase your intake or walnuts and salmon: All nuts and fish are healthy but walnuts and fatty fish have the most heart-healthy fatty acids.
- Eat whole grains: Increase your intake of oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice. These are good replacements for bread and most cold-cereals.
- Eat more lentils and beans: These super foods are a good source of fiber, protein, carbohydrate, and many vitamins and minerals. Consider few vegetarian meals a week.
Inflammation in your body is a great example of “we are what we eat”. Small changes you enjoy are your best bet for long-term success. Enjoy! mk
Adapted from Today’s Dietitian Vol. 16 No. 2 p 44-51