Health

Don’t Be So Inflammatory

Smart foods for better health, maybe even longer life

If you take the advice of Hippocrates and “let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine,” it may be time to stock your pantry and fridge with nuts, berries, ginger and leafy green veggies like kale. 

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We all know that a steady intake of high-fat, high-calorie and low-nutrient processed food is bad for our energy levels, waist lines, and our overall health. (After all, have you ever felt ready to take on the world after downing a diet soda, a cheeseburger and a large helping of salty french fries?)

What you put in your mouth can fuel (red meat, fried foods and sodas all fit into this category) or quell inflammation, according to Harvard Medical School. And this is good to know if you want to live to 100. A new study, published in the journal EBioMedicine, suggests that the key to longevity may be keeping chronic inflammation low. 

Inflammation is a health buzz word lately, but inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. After all, inflammation is your body’s response to injury and infection. But persistent inflammation can take a toll on your health. Research has linked chronic inflammation to many serious health issues, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.  

An anti-inflammatory diet “can actually help heal the body and reverse some chronic diseases,” said Paulette Lambert.

So, can the key to fighting inflammation be in your refrigerator and not your medicine cabinet? Should you seek out certain foods to help fight that bad-for-you chronic inflammation?

The answer appears to be yes. 

“Changing your diet to be anti-inflammatory can change the inflammation state that you may be in,” Paulette Lambert, a registered dietician and certified diabetes education, told LifeZette. “It can actually help heal the body and reverse some chronic diseases.” 

Lambert is director of nutrition at the California Health & Longevity Institute in Westlake Village, California.

Take the advice of medical experts and add more of these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet: 

Get green: Eat more leafy greens like kale, spinach and collard greens. Leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses, full of vitamins and minerals. 

Related: Kale Does Not Fail Moms

Go nuts: Snack on almonds and walnuts. They’re also linked to lower risks of heart disease and diabetes. 

Berry nice: Strawberries and blueberries are sweet treats and powerful anti-inflammatories. Cherries and oranges also do wonders. 

Embrace the sea. Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines – all can help with inflammation, as well as being a healthy source of protein. 

Spice it up. Ginger, turmeric, and garlic are among the herbs and spices that add a zest of flavor while helping ward off inflammation. 

Related: The Mighty Onion

Drizzle with olive oil. The heart-healthy benefits of olive oil are well-known, thanks to its good monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats help cool down inflammation. Nut oils and canola oil can do the same thing. 

Top it with tomatoes. Not only is the tomato an anti-inflammatory food, it’s rich in the antioxidant lycopene. 

Perk up with coffee. Here’s another reason to cherish your morning java. In addition to that much-needed boost of caffeine, coffee has compounds that may help with inflammation.

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