THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET AND AGING

The new buzz in medical research is the role inflammation is playing in aging and its link to diseases of aging. Inflammation is a normal metabolic process when the immune system is activated in response to an infection, irritation or an injury. Think of a bug bite, characterized by an influx of white blood cells that results in redness, heat, swelling, and pain. This is the body’s attempt to “clean up” the site of injury or irritation. Much like a slow burning fire, when inflammation persists, the immune system is always activated and creates chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation produces chemical agents, such as cytokines, that contribute to degenerative changes leading to chronic disease and aging of our cells.

Ongoing medical information suggests that chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases associated with aging, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Diet is key and determines whether you initiate inflammation or stop it. One culprit of inflammation in the diet is unhealthy fats. Foods such as highly processed food, sugar, fast food, dairy and red meat containing unhealthy fats, especially trans fats and saturated fats. These fats are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided.

Eating a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods can be a vital key to reduce inflammation and its associated risks. An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in “colors of the rainbow” vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, good quality proteins, whole grains, and plenty of water. Follow the tips below to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle that reduces free radical damage. Lower your risk of disease and slow down the aging process.

TIPS FOR ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET & LIFESTYLE

  • Avoid sugar, candy, deep fried and fast food, overly processed package foods, and red meat
  • Have the foundation of your diet come from vegetables and fruit. Choice “color of the rainbow” foods, such as green, orange, red, purple and yellow fruits and vegetables
  • Eat whole and cracked grains rather than overly processed breads. Cook pasta al dente (slightly firm) as it less likely to increase your blood sugar
  • Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables throughout the day instead of cookies and candy
  • Eat more fish containing healthy fats such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, and black cod
  • Add healthy fats by cooking with olive oil and eating walnuts and avocados
  • Cook with anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, curry, ginger and garlic
  • Eat good sources of protein such as low fat yogurt, cage-free chicken, and omega-3 enriched eggs
  • Drink plenty of water, fresh 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal and green tea
  • Avoid grilling your food until it is burnt. Eating charbroiled foods. These contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can contribute to oxidative stress.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol increases your levels of cytokines which are inflammatory molecules that are linked to oxidative stress
  • Reduce Stress. Stress and the stress hormone cortisol increase inflammation, which further increases free radical production
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation increases oxidation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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