6 best eating habits to reduce inflammation as you age, dieticians say: eat this, not that

In case you didn’t know, chronic inflammation is believed to be a major risk factor for a wide range of age-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and cancer. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to minimize inflammation as you age, thereby reducing the risk of these health conditions. The first step is to take a look at your diet, second Samantha Cassty, MS, RDnutrition and wellness expert and co-author of Shock sugar.

“Hundreds of published studies link an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern with longer, healthier lives,” he explains. “This means that as you age, you may experience less memory decline and stay in better physical and mental health.”

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 gut microbiome, blood sugar responses, and blood fat responses. As for what not to do, Paulina Lee, Dr.a functional dietitian and founder of Savvy Stummy, says it’s best to avoid overly processed foods and refined carbohydrates.

“These are typically high-glycemic index (GI) foods, which can raise blood sugar more quickly, eventually leading to inflammation,” he explains.

With all of that in mind, here are some eating habits that can help fight inflammation as you age. and for more information on how to eat healthy, don’t miss out on the best No. 1 to drink every day, says science.

salmon on spinach

According to Rima Kleiner, MS, RDfounder of Dish on Fish, the omega-3 fatty acids in some types of seafood, particularly fatty fish, help “turn off” the inflammatory response.

In fact, a 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adults who ate fish regularly 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 in the blood, two factors we now know can affect the inflammatory response,” explains Kleiner. . “I find it easy to achieve these goals by grilling salmon with vegetables for dinner, snacking on canned tuna and whole wheat crackers, and adding shrimp to a lunchtime salad.”

Cassetty recommends cooking your seafood regularly with extra virgin olive oil and / or avocado oil, which also have anti-inflammatory properties.

fruit vegetables berries blueberries spinach for smoothiefruit vegetables berries blueberries spinach for smoothie

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 main concern, consider prioritizing dark-colored products like blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and beets. According to Vandana Sheth, RDNthe author of My Indian Table: Quick and Tasty Vegetarian Recipesthese fruits and vegetables tend to be richer in antioxidants, which can protect cells from free radical damage that triggers chronic inflammation.

bowl of rice with chicken, avocado, vegetables, chickpeas, nuts and seedsbowl of rice with chicken, avocado, vegetables, chickpeas, nuts and seeds

A certain amount of meat and dairy can still be part of a healthy diet, but as a general rule, dieters recommend keeping portions small and focusing more on plant-based foods. Prioritizing plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, and seeds at each meal can go a long way in fighting inflammation, Cassetty says.

“Plant foods provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various types of fiber, which improve gut health,” he explains. “This is important because a diverse gut microbial community is linked to less 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 various nutrients in these foods. For example, for breakfast you could put some peppers and onions in your egg white omelette, add chickpeas and sunflower seeds to a salad for lunch, whisk spinach and bananas into a mid-afternoon smoothie, and fill your plate with quinoa. black beans, avocado and tomato.

woman holding walnutswoman holding walnuts

“Walnuts are an important part of my anti-inflammatory diet strategy,” says Cassetty. “I eat roasted nuts almost every day, in trace mixes, bowls of yogurt, and with dark chocolate for dessert. This is because walnuts are the only nut with a significant amount of omega-3 ALA, a type of good fat that can reduce inflammation. A 2020 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people in their 60s and 70s who regularly ate walnuts had lower inflammatory markers. “

RELATED: Secret Side Effects of Eating Walnuts, Dietitian Says

fermented vegetablesfermented vegetables

You may already know that fermented foods are high in 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 tons of fermented foods to choose from. Whatever you choose to add to your diet, rest assured you’ll do your body a favor – a small 2021 study in Cell found that a diet rich in fermented foods reduced molecular signs of inflammation, with stronger effects from larger portions of these foods.

soft avocado toast with hard boiled eggssoft avocado toast with hard boiled eggs

Eating simple carbohydrates raises your blood sugar, Lee says, and doing it regularly can contribute to inflammation over time. That’s why Lee recommends adding some protein and / or fat to complement the meal. For example, instead of eating plain toast, garnish it with sliced ​​almond butter or avocado and an egg. This will help ensure a slower and more steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, thus keeping inflammation at bay.

Also keep in mind that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Fiber-rich whole grains, like spelled, oats, brown rice, and bulgur, are far less likely to cause those annoying blood sugar spikes than refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice.