September 26, 2020

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Leads to Longer Life

Ali Webster, PhD, RD, associate director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, described it as a kind of diet that focuses on foods high in nutrients — especially antioxidants —that have been tied with “lowering the markers of inflammation in our bodies.”

“Its key players are foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats — like those that come from olive oil and avocado — fish, nuts, and dark chocolate,” Webster told Healthline. “Red wine is sometimes considered to be a component of an anti-inflammatory diet, though it should be consumed in moderation.”

If you’re thinking that sounds a lot like the popular Mediterranean diet, you’re right.

Webster explained that an anti-inflammatory diet is basically an “on-trend term that describes established recommendations for eating healthy.”

Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, added that anything that’s “nutrient dense” with “a lot of vitamins and minerals and color, from a natural source” would be an ideal component of this diet.

However, an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t just about what you eat, but what you don’t eat.

Webster stressed that foods high in salt, saturated fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates should be limited or avoided.

She said that when these kinds of foods are consumed in excess they’re linked to higher markers for inflammation — which is tied to almost every kind of chronic disease — and presents a greater risk for cancer and diabetes.

“Inflammation is a complicated process that even the most knowledgeable scientists don’t completely understand,” Webster said. “But there is some research to support that eating recommended amounts of foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can reduce risk for chronic diseases that have an inflammatory component, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.”

So, what makes these foods so inherently healthy?

“Primarily, it’s the antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, but it’s better… in whole form than in a supplement. Fruits and vegetables are packaged nuggets of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories,” Hunnes told Healthline. “Our ancestors ate a primarily plant-based diet that was completely unprocessed, [and] that’s what, evolutionarily, we are supposed to be eating for good health.”

This content was originally published here.

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