By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
The foods we eat can literally make or break our health. Since inflammation is a major factor in the development of many degenerative diseases, we want to (1) eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods and (2) avoid inflammatory foods.
(1) Eat anti-inflammatory foods:
Those that contain healthy sugars and fats, and have hopefully been organically cultivated, i.e. without pesticides, insecticides, or growth hormones. As a rule, non-inflammatory sources of sugar will still be in their most natural states by the time they reach our plates. Eat plenty of organic fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and moderate amounts of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and rolled oats. These unrefined carbohydrates supply our bodies with necessary nutrients, glucose, and fiber, without causing inflammation due to the chronic release of excess insulin into the bloodstream. Fruits and vegetables also contain valuable nutrients and antioxidants which fight inflammatory free radical damage.
(2) Avoid inflammatory foods:
Generally, processed foods, or any foods containing refined sugars that your body digests quickly, are inflammatory (cookies, candies, sodas, white bread, pastas, etc.). Processed foods also tend to be loaded with trans fats, which contain inflammatory chemicals that increase shelf life.
Is a very low-fat diet your best bet for heart health?
Ideally, we want to make the healthiest dietary choices possible each day. Realistically, however, eating well is sometimes easier said than done. Remember that any steps toward a non-inflammatory diet are better than none. If you ate that greasy burger and fries or ice-cream sundae yesterday, or had a few too many alcoholic beverages, decide today to create positive change through something as simple as a healthy lunch and dinner.
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