In case you haven’t heard, chronic inflammation is thought to be a major risk factor for a wide range of age-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and cancer. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to minimize inflammation as you age, reducing your risk of these health issues. The first step is to take stock of your diet, according to Samantha CassetteMS, RDnutrition and wellness expert and co-author of sugar shock.
“Hundreds of published studies link an anti-inflammatory diet to a longer, healthier life,” she explains. “This means that as you age, you may experience less memory decline and stay healthier physically and mentally.”
A 2021 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that anti-inflammatory foods help fight systemic inflammation in several ways, including improving the gut microbiome, blood glucose responses, and blood lipid responses. As for what not to do, Paulina Lee, Dt.P.functional dietitian and founder of Smart Stummysays it’s best to avoid overly processed foods and refined carbs.
“These are usually foods with a high glycemic index (GI), which can raise blood sugar more quickly, possibly leading to inflammation,” she explains.
With all of that in mind, here are some eating habits that can help fight inflammation as you age. and for more on how to eat healthy, watch The Best Juice to Drink Every Day, According to Science.
In fact, a 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adults who regularly ate fish had 33% lower biomarkers of inflammation than those who did not eat fish.
“Seafood is also high in protein, which helps us feel full longer and has a positive impact on blood sugar and fat levels, two factors that we now know can have a impact on the inflammatory response,” says Kleiner. “I find it easy to achieve these goals by grilling salmon with veggies for dinner, snacking on canned tuna and whole grain crackers, and adding shrimp to a lunchtime salad.”
Speaking of omega-3s, Cassetty strongly advises cooking your seafood regularly with extra-virgin olive oil and/or avocado oil, which are also rich in these fatty acids and have properties anti-inflammatories.
It’s no secret that when it comes to health, the more fruits and vegetables you load on your plate, the better. But if reducing inflammation is your primary concern, focus on dark-colored produce like blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and beets. According Vandana ShethRDNthe author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipesthese fruits and vegetables tend to be higher in antioxidantswhich can protect your cells from free radical damage that triggers chronic inflammation.
Some meat and dairy can still be part of a healthy diet, but as a general rule, dietitians recommend limiting portions and focusing more on plant-based foods. Making a point of prioritizing plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes and seeds at every meal can go a long way to fighting inflammation, Cassetty says.
“Plant foods provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various types of fiber, which improve gut health,” she explains. “This is important because a diverse gut microbial community is linked to lower inflammation and better health.”
In fact, a 2018 study in the journal mSystems found that people who ate 30 or more different plant foods per week had a healthier microbiome than those who ate ten or fewer plant foods each week.
Ideally, you also want to aim for diversity so that you can reap the benefits of all the varied nutrients in these foods. For example, you can mix bell peppers and onions into your egg white omelet for breakfast, add chickpeas and sunflower seeds to a salad for lunch, mix spinach and bananas into a smoothie in the middle of afternoon and fill your plate with quinoa, black beans, avocado and tomato.
“Nuts are a big part of my anti-inflammatory diet strategy,” Cassetty explains. “I eat roasted nuts almost every day – in trail mixes, yogurt bowls, and with dark chocolate for dessert. That’s because walnuts are the only nuts with a significant amount of ALA omega-3s. , a type of good fat that may reduce inflammation.A 2020 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people in their 60s and 60s who regularly ate nuts had lower inflammatory markers.”
You may already know that fermented foods are packed with probiotics that improve gut health. What you may not realize is that, according to Lee, there is a strong link between gut microbiota diversity and inflammation.
From kimchi and kefir to sauerkraut and tempeh, there are many different fermented foods to choose from. Whatever you choose to add to your diet, rest assured you’ll be doing your body a favor: A small study from 2021 in Cell found that a diet high in fermented foods decreases molecular signs of inflammation, with stronger effects with larger servings of these foods.
Eating simple carbs raises your blood sugar, Lee says, and doing it regularly can contribute to inflammation over time. That’s why Lee advises adding protein and/or fat to round out the meal. For example, rather than eating plain toast, top it with almond butter or sliced avocado and an egg. This will help ensure a slower and more steady release of glucose into your bloodstream, thus preventing inflammation.
Also keep in mind that not all carbs are created equal. Fiber-rich whole grains — like farro, oats, brown rice, and bulgur — are much less likely to cause these blood sugar spikes than refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice.