Nutrition and Control of Chronic Inflammation

Chronic, low grade inflammation is at the root of many health problems, such as cancer, digestive problems, and chronic pain. Inflammation is our body’s response to constant irritants including smoking, lack of exercise and diets that are high in fat, calories, and processed foods. As we approach the holiday season, eating healthy is a great way to reduce inflammation and promote better healing and overall health.

1: Choose foods that Decrease Inflammation & Support the Immune System:

Foods That Fight Inflammation (EAT)                             Foods That Increase Inflammation (LIMIT)

  • Omega- 3 Rich Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Oysters)
  • Red Meat
  • Whole Grains (Wild Rice, Oatmeal)
  • Processed Carbs
  • Beans and Legumes (Black Beans, Lentils)
  • Sugar
  • Nuts and Seeds (Walnuts, Almonds, Flaxseed)
  • Soda, Fruit Juice, Sports Drinks
  • Fruits and Vegetables (Berries, Leafy Greens)
  • Full Fat Dairy
  • Spices (Garlic, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger)
  • Trans Fats Found in Processed Food and Pastries
  • Cocoa and Dark Chocolate 70% or Higher
  • Excessive Alcohol
  • Olive Oil and Green Tea
  • Aspartame (Artificial Sweetener) and Sodium

2: Maintain Blood Glucose Levels: Foods with high GI rating increase glucose rapidly, and then fall quickly. This spike in blood sugar leaves you feeling hungry sooner. Foods with low GI help you stay fuller longer.

Low GI Foods (EAT)                                                     High GI Foods (Limit)

  • Whole Grains
  • White Bread
  • Most Vegetables
  • White Rice
  • Dairy- Milk, Yogurt, Cheese
  • Corn
  • Most Fruits
  • Most Cereals
  • Nuts and Barley
  • Pretzels and Popcorn
  • Whole and Sprouted Wheat Bread and Pasta
  • Rice Cakes
  • Slow Cook Oatmeal
  • Some Fruits and Fruit Juice
  • Brown Rice and Quinoa
  • Sugar

3: Drink More Water!!  

4: Decrease Sugar Intake: Sugar has shown a significant impact on inflammation in the body. The AHA recommends daily intake not exceed 37g for men and 25g for women.

List of Words Meaning Added Sugar to LIMIT:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Raw Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert Sugar
  • Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • White Grape Juice
  • Lactose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

5: Decrease Sodium Intake: The DASH eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) bases its diet on 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day and suggests further lowering salt intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. 2,400mg of sodium equals 6gm or 1 teaspoon of table salt.

Lower Sodium Options:

  • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned with no salt-added vegetables
  • Choose low or reduced-sodium versions of foods when available
  • Limit cured foods (such as bacon/ham), foods packed in brine (pickled vegetables, olives)
  • Choose fresh salsa instead of ketchup or barbeque sauces

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!!!