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Best and Worst Inflamation Foods
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10 Best and Worst Foods for You!
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Recently, scientists proudly announced their creation of an index to rank how particular foods encourage or discourage inflammation -- a well-known contributor to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia. This is great in theory, but scientists being scientists, it?s all obscure algorithms and formulas -- hardly a useful list to take to the grocery store. Let us go to contributing medical editor and nutrition expert Andrew L. Rubman, ND, to give us his easy-to-follow list of foods that reduce inflammation -- making us healthier -- along with the most inflammatory foods that should be avoided. But first, the latest findings by researchers...
How Do Foods Spark Inflammation?
Philip P. Cavicchia, MSPH, a PhD student in the department of epidemiology at the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, helped design this new inflammatory index. He and his colleagues scored 41 foods and food components thought to positively or negatively affect levels of inflammation, based on a review of all the English language, peer-reviewed studies relating to diet and inflammation that were published between 1950 and 2007.
Carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol were among the food components most likely to encourage inflammation, while magnesium, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B-6, C, D and E, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, turmeric and tea were the strongest anti-inflammatories.
Next, using data from the Seasonal Variation of Cholesterol Levels Study (SEASONS), they examined the records of 494 men and women (average age 48), looking specifically at the relationship between the inflammatory index (what they ate) and their blood levels of C-reactive protein (typically called CRP). Manufactured by the liver, CRP predicts vulnerability to inflammation and is also elevated in people with obesity, allergies and immune disorders -- a lower CRP is thought to translate to reduced risk for heart disease, cancer and other inflammation-related chronic health conditions.
After factoring in variables such as age, weight and smoking status, Cavicchia and his team found that there is indeed a relationship between an anti-inflammatory diet based on the inflammatory index and a reduced level of CRP.
These findings appeared in the December 2009 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
Now, here are Dr. Rubman?s picks of the best and worst foods if you want to reduce inflammation in your body...
10 BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
* Wild salmon, mackerel and other omega-3-fatty-acid-rich fish.
* Green, leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach and kale).
* Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.).
* Deeply pigmented produce, such as sweet potatoes, eggplant and pomegranate... along with carrots, plums, oranges, peppers, peas and red grapes.
* Whole grains.
* Tea -- specifically black, green and white teas.
* Cold-pressed fresh oils, including avocado, flaxseed and olive oils in particular.
* Spices (specifically, garlic, ginger, turmeric, saffron).
10 WORST INFLAMMATORY FOODS
* Desserts made with lots of sugar (cookies, candy, ice cream and so on).
* Sweetened cereals.
* "White" carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, white potatoes, English muffins, etc.).
* Non-diet soft drinks.
* Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup.
* Processed meats (bologna, salami, hotdogs, sausage and others made with preservatives and additives).
* French fries, potato chips and other fried snack foods.
* Fast foods, most specifically the ones that are high-fat, high-calorie, high simple carbohydrate -- which describes most of the inexpensive offerings at quick-serve restaurants.
* Margarine, because it contains processed sterols called stanols that have been implicated in both atherosclerosis and various fatty-deposit diseases.
* Organ meats such as liver, because these often contain undesirable products including antibiotics, fertilizer and other unwanted residues.
How to Feel Better Fast
While on the topic, Dr. Rubman urges us to add one more bit of information to this "highly inflammatory" list. "It should also include almost any food eaten quickly, especially if
you drink a lot of liquid while eating," he said, noting that this is all the more true for people who then end up soothing their predictable digestive distress by taking anti-heartburn
medication. His advice is to eat slowly... chew thoroughly... avoid liquids during a meal so that you don't dilute the stomach acid and reduce its ability to help digest food... and
include items from the "best" list in every meal, every day, while eliminating those from the "worst" list or at least reserving them for an occasional treat. "Within weeks, you will
decrease your risk for disease, improve your digestion, enjoy more energy and feel better overall," he promised.
Source(s): Philip P. Cavicchia, MSPH, student in the department of epidemiology, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
Andrew L. Rubman, ND, director, Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicines, Southbury, Connecticut. www.southburyclinic.com.
Valerian Root Powder
Valerian is a calmative and tranquilizer. It has been used at least since the time of Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.E.) for treating headaches, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, menstrual problems, nervous stomach, and hysteria.
Clinical trials have confirmed the use of valerian for treating insomnia, especially the insomnia that accompanies menopause. The advantage of valerian over tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax is that it reduces sleep latency, the time required to fall asleep, without a period of bedtime drowsiness and without creating a "hangover" or grogginess the next morning.
Valerian has greatest effect in treating chronic insomnia, rather than short-term sleeplessness. It also soothes the digestive system and may prevent cramping caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
Melon Lowers Blood Pressure
As though anyone needs an excuse to indulge in a cool, juicy slice of melon on a hot summer day, these popular fruits -- including watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and casaba melons -- are a rich source of potassium and a host of other nutrients as well. Refreshing and delicious, they also are a healthy, natural way to help lower your blood pressure, notes Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, LD, an assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org).
Shake Off Blood Pressure Worries.
If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, you probably know already that you should watch your sodium intake. Too much salt -- both from the salt shaker and from processed foods -- causes fluid retention and blood vessel contraction that contribute to hypertension. What you may not know is that potassium also plays an important role in this equation. A study published last year in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that people with a low sodium-to-potassium ratio -- that is, those who made a point of both consuming less salt and eating more potassium-rich fresh produce than is typical for the American diet -- were less likely to experience high blood pressure. Because it is a vasodilator and helps get rid of sodium and water, potassium helps curb fluid retention and blood vessel contraction.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 milligrams. Many people don?t normally consume this much potassium, but melons provide a tasty solution. Two cups of cubed melon contain more than 1,000 mg of potassium, or nearly one-fourth of your daily requirement.
Other rich dietary sources of this mineral include apricots, artichokes, avocados, bananas, beans, kiwis, oranges, peas, potatoes, prunes, raisins, tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard and other green leafy vegetables.
Melon at Every Meal?
Melons are much more versatile than most people realize, and you can easily incorporate them into a wide variety of dishes. Instead of reserving them for breakfast or a snack, take advantage of the season?s bounty and put melons on your family?s summer menu of soups, salads and salsas...
* Melon soup: Puree chunks of ripe honeydew and cantaloupe with orange juice and chill.
* Luscious melon salad: Combine small chunks of your favorite melon with raspberries, strawberries or orange sections and drizzle with honey and lime or lemon juice.
* Fish or chicken with melon: Serve the grilled or broiled meats on a bed of diced ripe melon. Or make a melon salsa to accompany the main dish -- combine finely diced honeydew and cantaloupe, diced tomatoes, minced red onion, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro and salt.
* Grilled melon: Cube honeydew, and toss in lemon juice, brown sugar and ginger. Thread onto skewers and grill for three to four minutes or until slightly soft and beginning to brown.
Note: Potassium affects the balance of fluids in the body, so too much can be a problem for older people and those with heart or kidney disease. If you take a diuretic drug or have issues with
fluid retention, talk to your doctor before adding significant amounts of melon to your diet.
Source(s): Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, LD, assistant professor, department of clinical nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. Sandon is a National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. www.eatright.org.
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