Dr. Ann’s Top Tips for Minimizing Inflammation
NRDid you know that one of the most powerful all-encompassing strategies available to guard and protect your health is to keep the level of inflammation in your body low? Indeed, cutting-edge science has shown that inflammation is a key driver of almost all forms of chronic disease.
We have known about the direct relationship between inflammation and heart disease for the longest, but we can now add many other modern-day ills to the list including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, many cancers, asthma, allergies, autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer’s – event the aging process itself.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple dietary and lifestyle strategies you can practice that will keep the disease-provoking ravages of excess inflammation under wraps.
- Minimize the omega 6 oils – corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and soybean oil. Omega 6 oils are pro-inflammatory fats and are frequently found in margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and processed foods. Instead, use canola oil and olive oil, as both are low in omega 6 fats. Extra virgin olive oil is especially beneficial because it contains potent anti-inflammatory plant chemicals called polyphenols.
- Strictly avoid trans fats and oxidized fats. Both are potent drivers of inflammation. Trans fats are found in processed foods containing hydrogenated oils, stick margarine, and shortening. Oxidized fats are lurking in deep-fried foods, smoking oil, and rancid (stale) oils/fats.
- Restrict your intake of foods high in arachidonic acid. Red meat, poultry skin, and whole dairy products are the richest dietary sources of this powerful, pro-inflammatory substance.
- Maximize your intake of omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are the building blocks for your body’s most potent anti-inflammatory agents. You will find these superstar fats in oily fish (salmon, sardines, lake trout, tuna), walnuts, canola oil, whole soy foods, flax seeds, wheat germ, and omega 3 eggs.
- Eat as many and as much of a variety of fruits and vegetables as possible. Fruits and veggies are exploding with a wide array of naturally occurring anti-inflammatory molecules called phytochemicals. The anti-inflammatory, superstar produce brigade includes red onions, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, red bell peppers, garlic, dark leafy greens, red grapes, berries, pomegranates, cherries, oranges, and plums.
- Regularly include the “other” superstar sources of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals: Extra virgin olive oil, freshly brewed tea, dark chocolate, and red wine. (Dark chocolate and red wine in moderation!)
- Spice up your life! Rosemary, ginger, turmeric, and curry are teeming with phytochemicals that border on true “medicinal” anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Exercise regularly the rest of your life. Exercise is one of the most profound anti-inflammatory practices available to you. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week.
- Consider fish oil supplements. If you are not able to consume oily fish at least 3 times a week, you will have suboptimal levels of this all-important anti-inflammatory fat in your body and will most certainly put yourself at greater risk of inflammatory-related chronic disease. Choose high-quality fish oil supplements – look for “pharmaceutical grade” or “molecularly distilled” on the label (If you take prescription drugs or have a chronic health problem talk with your health care provider first).
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