Put Brakes on Inflammation Through Diet and Lifestyle Strategies
Sharon Palmer, R.D.
Recent nutrition research paints a picture of how inflammation can fuel the major chronic disease killers of our age. Acute inflammation -- your body's natural reaction to an assault -- is a good thing, when it's not a chronic condition. It's your body's way of kicking in to neutralize insults like a splinter in your finger or a bacterial infection. During this process, blood leukocytes report to duty to guide a series of biochemical and cellular events in the body.
But when inflammation becomes chronic, this body reaction fails to shut off or activates when there is no real trigger. Inflammation can last for days, months or years -- becoming the root of many diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological degeneration.
"There is evidence that the diseases of aging like cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disease appear to have a common root of inappropriate levels of inflammation," reported
Fighting inflammation with diet
A body of evidence indicates that what you put on your plate can have an impact on inflammation. Both epidemiological studies and intervention trials support a link between diet and the reduction in risk of many chronic diseases; it appears that creating a pro-inflammatory milieu might be one way that unhealthy diets are linked with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In a state-of-the-art study published in the
"In the 1940s, people ate mostly whole foods cooked from scratch," Weil notes. "Food has changed over the past 50 years. People eat chips, cookies and soft drinks now." Indeed, researchers are finding that a focus on whole-plant foods that possess an abundance of anti-inflammatory compounds may cut down on inflammation. Studies have indicated that high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), one of the acute-phase proteins in inflammation and considered to be a marker of inflammation, are linked with obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers; lower levels of CRP are associated with moderate alcohol consumption, high physical activity and high consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Lower inflammatory markers have also been linked with the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes whole-plant foods, healthy fats like olive oil, fish, moderate alcohol consumption and lower intakes of red meat.
Picking the right foods
According to Weil, your best-odds diet for limiting inflammation is to make healthy food choices within the major nutrient groups.
Evidence suggests that a diet high in saturated and trans fats promotes inflammation, but it doesn't stop there. An overabundance of omega-6 fatty acid-rich oils, such as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oil, a common fat in processed and fried foods, can throw the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids out of balance, a condition that can be pro-inflammatory, according to researchers from the
"In the traditional diet, people ate carbohydrates in the form of tubers, nuts and seeds that are low-glycemic carbohydrates. Now people have big gulps and candy bars, and we have ballooned in our obesity, hypertension and diabetes rates. The principal culprit is carbohydrate foods and how we eat them," says Weil.
The majority of your carbs should be in the form of unprocessed, low-glycemic foods, which do not produce a rapid, quick rise in blood sugar levels. Highly refined carbohydrate foods (such as those made from refined flours and sugars) that produce a spike in your blood sugar may aggravate inflammation, according to a
Dietary patterns low in red meat, such as found in the Mediterranean diet, are linked with lower levels of inflammation. In a
Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition in clear, concise English.
Available at Amazon.com:
- Is the H1N1 Flu Pandemic Over?
- 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
- Surviving Cold Season: How Not to Get Sick
- 7 Healthy Habits in 7 Weeks
- Sleep More and Live Longer
- 4 Dangerous Health Emergencies: What to Do
- Heartburn-friendly Diet with Your Favorite Foods
- Put Brakes on Inflammation Through Diet and Lifestyle Strategies
- The Vibrant and Healthy Flavors of an Authentic Latin Diet
- Is It Hunger or Just Appetite?
- Stay Healthy the Easy Way
- The Importance of Dreams
- Boost Your Energy: Hour by Hour
- Stop Information Overload
- Breathe Like a Baby
- 5 Healthy Foods That Wreck Your Teeth
- Are You Falling for Dental Myths?
- Is Heart Attack Going Out of Style?
- Flu Season
- Preventive Care & Electronic Medical Records Guidelines Set
- Stone Age Diet Surprisingly Good For a Healthy Life Today
- New Tools Fuel Progress on Development of Genetically Engineered Farm Animals
- Beat Your Afternoon Energy Slump
- Small Healthy Habits With Big Health Benefits
- Relieve Stress and Uplift Spirits with Aromatherapy
- New Things To Try That Lift Your Spirits and Relieve Stress
- 5 Fast Breakfasts That Boost Your Health
- Much to Consider When Looking for a Primary Care Physician
- Apples Are the New Fish
- Watermelon: Summer's Antioxidant
- Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco?
- Are All Omega-3 Fats The Same?
- Sample a Semi-Vegetarian Lifestyle With a Flexitarian Diet
- Milk: When the First Food May Be the Best Food
- Foraging is Green Eating at Its Purest
- How to Lose Weight Safely
- Colleges Joining Effort to Turn Around Skyrocketing Obesity Rates
- Medical Claims for Marijauna - Just Blowing Smoke?
- The Hidden Health Benefits of Adult Braces
- 5 Things Your Dental Insurance Will Not Cover
- 4 Effortless Steps to Whiter Teeth
- 5 First-aid Tricks You Need to Know
- Heat Can Beat the Heart
- Eating for Your Blood Type -- Truth or Fiction?
- Salt Sensitivity Issue: Salt Restriction
- 5 Tips to Bulldoze a Bad Mood
- Genetically Engineered Foods Update: More Common Than You Think
- 5 Celebrity Trends That Could Harm Your Health
- Should You Travel Abroad for a Dental Procedure
- Super Foods to Boost Your Dental Health
- The Fight Escalates Against Fake Drugs
- Fermented Foods Are Making a Comeback
- Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps
- An Update on Soy: It's Just So-So
- Is it OK to Take Ibuprofen P.M.?
- Colonoscopy: Is It Time to Go Virtual Colonoscopy
- Sleep Better Tonight (Fight Fatigue Tomorrow)
- Do-it-yourself Sunburn Remedies
- Take the Germ Quiz
- Healthy Mouth Equals Healthy Body
- 5 Biggest Flossing Mistakes
- Health Threat of Nitrates: Nitrites in Cured Meats
- Stop Dry Mouth Now
- Best Ways to Keep Your Teeth
- 5 Instant Ways to Stress Less and Smile More
- Be Suntan Savvy
- 4 Ways to Sneak in Sunblock
- Can Aspirin Do That, Too?
- A Natural Approach to Sweet Slumber
- Boost Your Brainpower
- Seeds of Life: Chia, Flax, Hemp and Pumpkin
- Microgreens Become Macro Trend to Follow
- Eat Your Way to a Healthy Smile
- Why and How to Get More Vitamin D
- Better Alternatives to Silver Fillings
- 5 Beach Safety Tips
- Traveling Light: Healthy Eating for Business Junketeers
- Healthy Snacks for Energy
- Shape-Shifting 'Tube Robot' Could Aid Heart Surgery
- Better Ways to Get Your Produce
- Cutting-Edge Cuisine Engages Senses Beyond Taste
- Eat for Your Eyesight
- Is It Better to Stop Smoking Abruptly or Gradually?
- Relieve Stress in 5 Minutes or Less
- Best Ways to Soothe Sensitive Teeth
- Turn a Clean Home Into a Healthy Home
- Largest Ever Cell Phone Cancer Study is Inconclusive
- Treating Early-Stage Esophageal Cancer
- TNF Inhibitors Offer Relief to Those With Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Advances in Breast Cancer Screening Helping to Fine-Tune Diagnosis
- First Aid for Summer
- The Microscopic World of Food Nanotechnology
- Screening Plays Key Role in Detecting Polyps Before They Become Cancerous
- Learn How to Read Supplement Labels
- Compression-Only CPR Can Replace Conventional CPR in Many Circumstances
- Diabetes: Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It
- Fighting Inflammation with Food
- Bad Health Habits Rob Years From Life Span
- Beating Back Pandemics is a Cooperative Crusade
- The Importance of Decreasing Dietary Sodium
- Chocolate Reduces Inflammation Associated with Heart Disease
- Healthy Eating Tips for a Busy Lifestyle
- Olive Oil and Health
- Push for Healthier Diets Means Big Changes for the Food Industry
- How to Identify Suicide Risk Before It's Too Late
- Tips for Natural Allergy Relief
- Inflammation May Play Role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Longevity Revolution Will Restructure Life Around the World
- Maximum Fitness: CrossFit Training
- Tests to Optimize Treatment of Breast Cancer
- Enjoy the Health Benefits of Tea
- Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?
- Sunscreen Facts You Need to Know
- When does Knee Replacement Surgery Make Sense
- Is Hefty the New Healthy?
- Best Way to Take Heartburn Medication
- Aerobics Without Heartburn
- Stress Less: Ten Strategies That Work
- Paralyzed Limbs Revived by Hacking Into Nerves
- Take the Work Out of Workout
- Cultivate a Nutrient-Rich Approach to Eating for Life
- Treadmill Test Can Reveal Hidden Problems in Heart
- Researchers Break Through to Unconscious Patients
- Key Factors Related to Heart Attack Risk
- Type 2 Diabetes Increases Risk for Cardiovascular Problems
- Middle-Age Spread and How to Avoid It
- Fiber and Weight Loss: Learn the Secrets
- Hypochondria: The Impossible Illness
- Get the Lead Out: The Less Exposure to This Toxic Metal the Better
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sugar
- Cultivate a Healthy Brain Lifestyle As You Age
- Regular Exercise Helps Protect Aging Brains
- Surgeries Can be Combined But May Not be Necessary
Copyright © 2010 Environmental Nutrition. All rights reserved.