Inflammation is a major component of most cardiovascular diseases as well as the painful component of arthritis. Remedies for this ubiquitous nuisance range from Rx medications to over-the-counter pills to well-guarded family secrets. What about certain foods? Can changing our diet really have an impact on the way our body feels?
The answer is yes, but the relief gleaned from these dietary changes range as widely as the desire and motivational level of the person making the changes. Eating a healthy snack on Monday won’t have the same effect as incorporating daily healthy snacks for the rest of your life.
Spending time shopping along the perimeter of your grocery will help in your selection of healthy, anti-inflammatory foods.
Omega 3 fatty acids, also known as essential fatty acids (because our body cannot produce them) can be consumed as a meal or as snacks. Find them in cold water fish like salmon, raw nuts, avocados and olive oil.
Raw fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, all of which control inflammation. Choose your fruits and vegetables by color. Your goal is to consume a full rainbow every day.
Protein sources that may have anti-inflammatory effects are lean meats, fish, soy foods (tofu. Temphe. etc…), legumes, nuts and seeds.
Beverages can add or reduce symptoms of inflammation in the same way as food sources. Alkaline water, fruit juices, herbal teas and fresh raw vegetable juices reduce risk factors while canned energy drinks, soda and alcoholic beverages increase them.
One final note is that recent studies are relating total body weight with signs and symptoms of inflammation. Don’t worry, by incorporating the above mentioned healthy foods, your body weight will return to a healthy level.
Dr. Steven M. Newman, O.D., C.N.S.
Board Certified Nutrition Specialist