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Anti-Inflammitory Foods

Anti-Inflammitory Foods

July 31st, 2009  |  Published in Pilates

You may think of inflammation as something that happens when you sprain your ankle or get a sore throat. But did you know that low-level inflammation (which you may not feel at all) can be a significant risk factor for heart disease?

Many experts now recognize that an anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful tool for reducing your risk of heart disease. As a bonus, the same approach can help lower your risk of many other conditions as well, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.

Here are some tips on creating an anti-inflammatory diet:

Use olive oil, nuts, and avocodo as your primary sources of fat.
These foods are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help to quell inflammation.

Increase your intake of omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 fats, especially the EPA and DHA forms, are powerfully anti-inflammatory. Good sources include fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, fish roe (caviar) and fish oil supplements.

Decrease your intake of omega-6 fats.
A diet high in omega-6 fats can lead to the over-production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Vegetable oils such as corn oil are the primary source of omega-6 fats in the diet.

Eat loads of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables, especially the brightly-colored ones, are packed with antioxidants that help quell inflammation and repair inflammation-related damage. Aim for five servings of vegetables and up to four servings of fruits every day. Excellent choices include spinach, red and green peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, berries, citrus fruits, and melons.

Limit your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Foods made with sugar and/or white flour create high blood sugar levels, which can aggravate inflammation.  To keep blood sugar levels steady and inflammation at bay, limit your intake of foods with a high glycemic load, such as candy, pastry, cakes, cookies, soda, juice, breads and other baked goods.

Spice it up.
Vibrant spices like ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garlic, and onions all have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporate these ingredients into your meals and recipes as often as possible.

Use the IF Rating system.
The IF Rating system shows you the inflammatory (or anti-inflammatory) potential of foods you eat. Foods with a high IF Rating are considered anti-inflammatory. Foods with a negative IF Rating are considered inflammatory. It’s not necessary to eliminate all foods with negative IF Ratings. The goal is to balance your choices so that the the total iF Rating for all the foods you eat in a day is in the positive (anti-inflammatory) range.

BY: Monica Reinagel, M.S., LD/N

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