How to Keep Inflammation at Bay

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Photo credit: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/fighting-inflammation-at-the-meal-table

Inflammation is meant to be a positive aspect of our body’s natural way of protecting itself. If something is wrong, for instance, when you fall and scrape your knee, inflammation shows up at the site of the injury, which causes pain and/or swelling, and that gets your attention. This is an example of a normal inflammatory response. Inflammation is not normal when you have it consistently and you are in constant pain, have irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue or if your doctor tells you your blood shows that you have high inflammation in your body via your C- Reactive Protein lab value (CRP).  More info on why your doctor may want to test your CRP to screen for heart disease here.

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Photo credit: https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/the-role-of-c-reactive-protein

What you should eat to help decrease inflammation:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Most fruits brightly colored vegetables contain high levels of natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
  • Nuts and seeds: Studies have also associated nuts and seeds with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Fish and healthy oils: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, oysters, mussels, halibut, catfish and tuna help decrease inflammation.
  • Whole grains: These grains contain all three parts of grain—germ, endosperm, and bran. Not all whole grains are high in fiber, but they are all good at reducing inflammation because they also contain other inflammation-fighting substances—vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Try: amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and millet (all gluten-free grains).
  • Beverages: The polyphenols in coffee and the flavonols in cocoa are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is rich in both polyphenols and antioxidants.
  • Spices: Turmeric with black pepper (black pepper has been shown to enhance the absorption of hydrophobic turmeric).

What you should avoid (inflammatory foods):

  • Beverages: Sodas, alcohol, energy drinks, and refined carbohydrates (sugar-sweetened beverages).
  • Meat: Red meat and processed meats (sausage, bacon, roast beef, ham).
  • Processed foods: For example: emulsifiers added to products like ice cream may have independent effects on inflammation. Read more about emulsifiers and gut microbiome disruption here.
  • Foods with refined grains: White bread, white rice, white pasta, white flour. These foods spike blood sugar, which can cause inflammation.
  • Foods with added sugar: Juices, soda, cake, candy, cookies, jarred sauces, salad dressings. These foods also raise blood sugar, which can cause inflammation.
  • Foods with trans fats: Most stick margarine, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, deep-fried fast foods, and most commercial baked goods.
  • Foods with saturated fats: Whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, red meat, and coconut products. These fats also raise cholesterol and increase inflammation in your body. Limit these to no more than 7% of your daily calories.

For Anti-Inflammatory Recipes: Click here 

For Anti-Inflammaroty Recipe Videos: Click here

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/fighting-inflammation-at-the-meal-table Published January 2017. 

Published by MajorLeagueNutrition

Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Simmons College while working as a Personal Trainer at Boston Sports Clubs and Gold's Gym. While at Simmons College, she competed in crew, ice hockey and cheerleading. She went on to earn her master's degree in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Fitness from Northeastern University. Between undergraduate school and graduate school, Nicole completed one year of service under the auspices of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a Wellness Coordinator at a K-12 public charter school. Nicole completed her Dietetic Internship through Wellness Workdays to gain experience in Clinical Dietetics, Community Nutrition, Long Term Care Nutrition, Food Service Management, Corporate Wellness, Private Nutrition Counseling, and Sports Dietetics. Nicole worked as a Research Assistant at Tufts University for a Preliminary Investigation of Civic Engagement as a Novel Approach to Behavior Change and Body Weight Improvement in African American Females: The Change Club Study. Nicole recently launched the clinical and fitness nutrition programs for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital's Home Base Program. For the past few years, Nicole has increased wellness programs at the John Nagle Co. in Boston's Seaport District, bringing in fitness instructors, yoga instructors, the American Heart Association, healthy restaurant options, and health screenings to a diverse population of fisheries workers. More recently, Nicole worked on the Framingham State Food Study with Boston Children's Hospital and is currently working on the Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study with Dana Farber. Nicole continues to help deployed service members and their spouses and partners find and create new avenues for healthy lifestyles before, during, and after deployment. Nicole has experience counseling veterans, professional, adult and college athletes, and individuals and families looking to make changes in their routines to better their health. Nicole lives an active lifestyle and this year completed the Boston Marathon injury and cramp-free. Nicole enjoys educating individuals and groups. Some of the topics she teaches include: Choosing Foods to Improve Your Mood, Eating for Exercise, How to Navigate the Grocery Store, Eat This not That, Building a Balanced Meal, How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, and Finding Health Sources You Can Trust.

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