the anti inflammatory diet

The anti inflammatory diet is not a specific diet, but rather a diet that includes foods that are considered anti inflammatory, that will help your body function more efficiently, which is especially important to us women over 50.

There are a number of popular diets that are based on foods that are anti inflammatory:

  • The Zone Diet
  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • The South Beach Diet
  • The Hamptons Diet

All 4 promote healthy eating habits and reduced consumption of unhealthy fats and carbohydrates, but each one has a slightly different approach.

What is inflammation?

When we think of inflammation, swelling and redness usually comes to mind. These are signs that the body's immune system is responding to an invasion of a foreign body, such as a virus, infection or an irritant, attempting to heal the site of the injury. This response is immediate and temporary.

Chronic inflammation is inflammation that has gone out of control. Immune cells search for bad cells to destroy, but instead, attack and destroy good cells.

Rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease,various skin disorders, lupus, cancer, and allergies are examples of disorders that are related to chronic inflammation.

What factors contribute to inflammation?

  • The modern diet – most chronic inflammation begins in the digestive system. Gas, constipation and diarrhea can be early signs of inflammation in the digestive tract .
  • Menopause – changing hormone levels have an affect on inflammation in aging women
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Environmental toxins
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep

Anti inflammatory foods

The anti inflammatory diets consist of foods that reduce inflammation.

  • Fruits and vegetables - Eat lots of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, red apples , broccoli, green leafy vegetables, red onions, have especially high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Protein - Consume fish several times a week. Choose cold water fish such as wild salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, anchovies, mackerel. Canned fish should be packed in water or olive oil. Eat more chicken and turkey and less red meat.
  • Carbohydrates – Choose whole grains, such as brown rice, wild rice, oats , bulgur, spelt, millet, quinoa , and barley. Eat a variety of dried beans (white, red, black), lentils, garbanzos.
  • Fats and oils – Extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, and other cold pressed oils. Avocado, almonds, walnuts and seeds
  • Spices – ginger, garlic, chili peppers, black pepper, turmeric, paprika

Additional anti inflammatory diet tips

  • Limit or better yet, avoid the following foods:

    • Deep fried foods

    • White flour and white sugar

    • Processed oils, saturated fats and trans fats

    • Red meat

  • Read the ingredients. You may be getting a lot more then you asked for when buying packaged foods. Ingredients such as preservatives, colorings, taste enhancers and artificial flavors are dangerous and should be avoided as much as possible. Read more in Living A Healthy Lifestyle.

  • Drink lots of water. Water is an essential factor in all body functions.

  • Green tea has anti-inflammatory agents. Drink 1-2 cups a day

    • Regular exercise
    • Reduce stress
    • Get 6-8 hours of sleep nightly
    • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
    • Reducing inflammation requires a healthy diet and can be aided by taking supplements to make sure you're getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Discuss the addition of supplements with your doctor.

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