Thursday, August 7, 2014

Foods and Inflammation

The role of foods in health is very clear - foods provide the calories we need to "make it through the day", the nutrients we need to be healthy and some might help us fight diseases like osteoporosis or hypertension. Now researchers are looking at how some foods might promote disease prevention through the role they play in inflammation.

Most people know inflammation as the redness that happens around a cut but inflammation also occurs inside the body. This internal inflammation appears to be connected to the development of some types of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer's. While the exact mechanism on how inflammation triggers disease isn't totally clear - and likely is different for each disease - what is clear is that diet can help fight inflammation.

Consider adding the following foods to your meal plan to provide an anti-inflammation boost.

* Tomatoes, red peppers, beets
* Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries
* Soybeans, fatty fish and nuts - especially almonds and walnuts
* Garlic and onions
* Spinach, kale, broccoli and other dark greens
* Olive oil

If you see a theme here, you are correct - consume more plant foods to maximize health, increase enjoyment and possibly prevent disease.

Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD, FADA, FAND
Nutrition Communications Consultant

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