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February 2016

Foods to Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is usually associated with swelling and pain from an injury such as a sprained ankle or even from a sinus infection. This is considered to be acute inflammation and is usually of short duration. There is another form of inflammation that is low-grade and is generally not associated with pain. Low-grade inflammation is linked to several health conditions that include: cancer, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. Research is emerging relating diet and inflammation and how it may effect these issues.

Foods that May Help Fight Inflammation

  • Omega-3 Fats - these fats are converted into substances that may decrease inflammation. Foods rich in omega-3s include: salmon, sardines, halibut, herring, mackerel and flax seed meal.
    • ✓ Eat a variety of seafood at least twice a week.
  • Probiotics - are found in foods that are fermented and may reduce inflammation in the gut. Foods rich in probiotics are: yogurt, kefir, acidophilus milk, buttermilk, sauerkraut and kimchi.
    • ✓ Beware of added sugar, calories and salt in these foods. Have Greek yogurt with fresh berries for a snack.
  • Herbs and Spices - play a role in reducing inflammation and are rich in antioxidants. Rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. 
    • ✓ Use herbs & spices instead of salt. Try adding nutmeg to oatmeal.
  • Antioxidant-Rich - foods quiet the immune system and reduce inflammation. Colorful fruits & vegetables, onions, garlic and olive oil are excellent sources of antioxidants.
    • ✓ Add a variety of colorful vegetables to soups & pasta dishes. Choose different fruits daily as well.
  • Healthy Carbs - are minimally processed and fiber rich such as: vegetables, legumes, fresh whole fruit and whole grains. These will minimize spikes in blood sugar which may help reduce inflammation.
    • ✓ Use garbanzo beans or lentils in salads or add berries to oatmeal for a quick and easy breakfast.

MINIMIZE Foods that Fuel Inflammation

  • Fried or grilled foods
    • ✓ Choose baked or broiled instead
  • Highly processed foods and fast foods
    • ✓ Have minimally processed fresh whole foods
  • Refined sugars and grains
    • ✓ Choose yogurt and fresh fruit instead of ice cream
  • Excessive omega-6 fats - [found in refined vegetable oils including corn and soy oil]
    • ✓ Use olive, avocado or peanut oil
  • Partially hydrogenated/trans fats [found in processed baked goods and margarine.]
    • ✓ Try herbs & spices along with olive oil on vegetables instead of margarine.

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