Anti-Inflammatory Diets: What are they?

Individual fruits, vegetables, and spices rich in antioxidants have also been shown to counteract the mild inflammation associated with excess intra-abdominal or visceral fat. Fish oils from ocean -caught fish and fish oil supplements rich in long-chain  omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapenatanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid have been shown to counteract the inflammation associated with an imbalance in subtypes of polyunsaturated fats in the modern Western Diet. Processed foods and vegetable oils primarily contribute pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids to the diet. For example, corn is 60% linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid.  While the original Mediterranean Diet such as that eaten in Greece prior to the second World War had a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 1 to 3, the modern American diet has a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of between 17 and 30.  An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in colorful fruits and vegetables and also includes fish oils or ocean-caught fish.

Based on literature reviews, a Dietary Inflammatory Index is used in some research studies. Foods are scored as +1 or -1 depending on their anti-inflammatory capacity. While these mathematical values applied to a dietary pattern have benefits for research, they are too complex to be used in giving dietary advice.

In addition to recommending a diet rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, and spices, as well as ocean-caught fish or fish oil supplements, a combination of resistance exercise designed to increase muscle mass and selecting foods that minimize increases in blood sugar after meals can be useful in reducing inflammation. Therefore, not only the diet, but body composition and a healthy active lifestyle are important in countering inflammation associated with excess body fat and a Western Diet.


Categories: Nutrition

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