Tackling Inflammation to Fight Age-Related Ailments – The New York Times

Posted: December 24, 2019 at 2:44 pm


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Lets start with what to eat and the foods to avoid eating. What follows will likely sound familiar to aficionados of a Mediterranean-style diet: a plant-based diet focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and cold-water fish and plants like soybeans and flax seeds that contain omega-3 fatty acids.

A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin E and selenium that have anti-inflammatory effects, and its high-fiber content fosters lower levels of two potent inflammatory substances, IL-6 and TNF-alpha.

Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, strongly recommends limiting or eliminating consumption of foods known to have a pro-inflammatory effect. These include all refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and pastries; sugar-sweetened beverages; deep-fried foods; and red meat and processed meats. They are the very same foods with well-established links to obesity (itself a risk factor for inflammation), heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

In their stead, Dr. Hu recommends frequent consumption of foods known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. They include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines; fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, grapes, oranges and cherries; nuts like almonds and walnuts; and olive oil. The recommended plant foods contain natural antioxidants and polyphenols, and the fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, all of which counter inflammation.

Coffee and tea also contain protective polyphenols, among other anti-inflammatory compounds.

The bottom line: the less processed your diet, the better.

At the same time, dont neglect regular exercise, which Dr. James Gray, cardiologist at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, calls an excellent way to prevent inflammation. He recommends 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 10 to 25 minutes of weight or resistance training at least four to five times a week.

Although exercise is pro-inflammatory while youre doing it, during the rest of the time it leaves you better off by reducing inflammation, and after all you live most of your life not exercising, Stephen Kritchevsky, professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, told me. Independent of any effect on weight, exercise has been shown to lower multiple pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines.

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Tackling Inflammation to Fight Age-Related Ailments - The New York Times

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December 24th, 2019 at 2:44 pm