6 top picks for anti-inflammatory action

RGBstock photo -anitasweb

RGBstock photo -anitasweb

Calming the fires of inflammation in your body is a key component of  promoting good health.  Inflammation is emerging as a major culprit  in the early stages of a growing list of diseases.

Making enlightened food choices provides an arsenal of  disease-fighters and among those are selections with anti-inflammatory action.

Here are six top actions to boost your anti-inflammatory weaponry.

•    Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially colourful ones
Besides providing an assortment of antioxidants, colourful produce also offers anti-inflammatory action.  Eating five or more servings per day is linked to reduced lower reading of inflammatory compounds in the blood such as C-reactive protein (CRP).

Having a variety of fruits and vegetables allows you to consume assorted anti-inflammatory substances. For example, berries contain different ones than are found in brassica vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.

But don’t skip paler options such as celery or  apples and onions, both of which contain quercetin, another compound which counters inflammation.

•    Up your omega-3 fat intake
Omega-3 fats from both plant and animal sources can fight off inflammation. Go for flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil along with cold water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel. And while you’re at it, aim for less in the way of omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil as they are thought to be pro-inflammatory. (I’ll have more on omega-6 and omega-3s in the coming weeks.)

•    Love your legumes
Besides having a low glycemic index (which is linked to anti-inflammatory action), these foods supply a range of compounds that can also act to calm down inflammation.

•    Go for pro and prebiotics
Friendly bacteria, besides supplying an assortment of health perks, also counter inflammation in the gut leading to a lower risk of diseases such as colon cancer.

•    Enjoy some java or green tea
Both coffee and green tea appear to possess anti-inflammatory power. In a recent German study, researchers analyzed the blood of coffee drinkers during periods of abstaining from the beverage as well as when they were consuming it regularly and found reduced readings of inflammatory compounds in the blood during the coffee drinking phase. It’s speculated that this effect may be partially responsible for the observed protective effect of coffee in the development of diabetes.

Scientists also speculate that it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee that are responsible for the protective link of coffee to the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

What’s your take on anti-inflammatory eating? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Research Roundup

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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6 Comments on “6 top picks for anti-inflammatory action”

  1. Paulette Gougeon
    January 29, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    As I do think the food we eat has a great bearing on our well being, and considering the amount of research linking chronic inflammatory states to many chronic diseases, I have been gradually modifying my diet in ways that make sense from a scientific and nutrition perspective. Specifically I have been modifying my diet over the years, with an eye to inflammatory and non-inflammatory foods (as more information emerges from studies). I haven’t been able to take hard measurements, but I do find my general feeling of well being is better than it was say 10 years ago. My overall diet now (as compared to 10 years ago) is much heavier in a broad mix of vegetables and legumes, lighter in animal protein (proportion in a meal) and is more recently incorporating more probiotics in the form of vegetable ferments (this is a very new area for me), where previously my dietary probiotics would only have been from a probiotic plain yogurt. I appreciate that you are going to bring out more information on Omega 6`s and I would appreciate if you could also provide some information on the omega 9`s which are also beginning to garner attention.

  2. January 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks for your comments, Paulette! It sounds as though you’ve made great strides towards healthy eating and are reaping some of the rewards! I will definitely include omega-9s in my upcoming discussions on the various omega fats.

  3. February 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Can you tell me which foods to avoid on an anti inflammatory diet or maybe you have a post on this.. I have been recommended to eat this way for an Auto immune disorder.. I am doing all the above but still eat a little dairy and bread??? Thanks

    • February 13, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      There are a number of issues and foods to consider if you are trying to cut out those foods which boost inflammation in your body. For one, being overweight can increase the inflammatory compounds in your blood stream. In addition, foods which contain trans fats are also culprits. Also check out my posts on glycemic index and omega-3 fats as well as my probiotic and prebiotic ones for more anti-inflammatory options. Keep well!

  4. Rosie
    February 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    I completely agree that inflammation is one of our worst enemies. I wonder what your thoughts are regarding dairy? I absolutely love drinking milk, but at different times various people have told me that it causes painful joints, is linked to breast cancer, is good for strong bones, it should be skimmed, it should only be whole milk, etc etc. it’s very confusing. Thank you!

    • February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Rosie,

      Thanks for your comments! You bring up quite a few issues surrounding dairy products and ones that I know many people wonder about. Instead of just a short reply – as it would take so much more to really answers or clarify the issues, I will do a post on your questions. Stay tuned!

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