diet and inflammation

inflammation-blog-photoDo you or someone you know suffer from inflammation such as chronic joint, muscle or digestive pain?  Inflammation can wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, even depression, based on a recent study by Rice University.  The good news: you can take control and counterbalance inflammation’s assault on your body by what you choose to eat.

Foods that Cause Inflammation:

Foods that are linked to an inflammatory response include:  saturated fats which are found in animal products, such as red meat and whole fat dairy products, trans fats which are found in fried foods and baked goods such as pastries, pizza dough, pie crust, cookies and crackers, omega-6 polyunsaturated fats which are found in corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils, and are often found in many packaged foods and sugar; which is the biggest enemy in the inflammation battle.

Foods that Combat Inflammation:

Olive oil, peanut oil, nuts and avocados contain monounsaturated fats and possess anti-inflammatory properties.  A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2015 looked specifically at the benefits of oleocanthal [a compound found in extra virgin olive oil] for rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers found that this compound had a significant impact not only on chronic inflammation but also on acute inflammatory processes.  Fish, canola oil, and walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 rich foods help neutralize inflammation.  Tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, herring and sardines are excellent choices.  Fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E as well as phytonutrients.   Yellow and orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes contain the phytonutrient carotenoids.  The phytonutrient flavonoids are found in red and purple fruits, such as berries, grapes and apples. The produce with the deeper and brighter colors generally contain the most antioxidants.  Herbs, spices and teas also contain anti-inflammation antioxidantsdill, oregano, cinnamon, curry, garlic, ginger, tumeric and rosemary.   The majority of teas including green, black and white also contain a concentrated amount of inflammation fighting antioxidants.

“The goal is to consume a diet high in antioxidants which can help prevent free radical damage in the body.  Unfortunately in our country there are still many heavily processed foods being offered and consumed. With nutrition education, awareness, and by making healthy substitutions, we can focus on making the small changes that can improve the nutrition quality we eat and our health. Focus on eating what comes from the earth, rather than what comes from a box,” said Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis MS, RD, CDN, Bariatric Dietitian, Medical Weight Management Program.