Top 7 anti-inflammatory foods

Nutrients which reduce chronic inflammation

The biggest single risk to your long term health is what’s called ‘chronic sub-clinical inflammation’. It’s a continuous, damaging level of inflammation of body tissues that tends to build up as we age, but is normally not noticeable. So it’s an insidious, but major threat.

How major? VERY major!

“Inflammation is an underlying contributor to virtually every chronic disease … along with major killers such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.”

Scientific American

“Inflammatory factors predict virtually all bad outcomes in humans … having heart attacks, having heart failure, becoming diabetic … becoming fragile in old age … cognitive function decline, even cancer to a certain extent.”

Russell Tracy, Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine

“… we can now seriously start thinking about inflammation as a potential driver of accelerated ageing and how we might be able to delay it.”

Institutes for Ageing and Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University

Chronic versus acute inflammation

We are normally familiar with inflammation as the sign of a good immune response. We suffer a cut or sting and the area becomes inflamed – which is a sign that your immune system is working to bring healing white blood cells like neutrophils and macrophages to cure the problem.

But that type of inflammation is called acute inflammation. The cause and the cure are both short term.

The problem arises when damage occurs within your body’s tissues, but that damage is not completely cleared by the immune response. That sets up a low level of continuous, long term chronic inflammation that damages cells and tissues.

This type of inflammation is a key driver of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and indeed any diseases ending in  ‘itis’ – which means inflammatory.  So arthritis, colitis, sinusitis and many, many, more.

It also creates an environment that more easily allows the spread of cancerous cells.

Top 7 Anti-inflammatory foods

Therefore lowering the level of inflammation is a vital contribution to your long term health. So make sure the following feature regularly in your diet:

  1. Salmon (or other oily fish)

    Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that people who have a higher intake of Omega 3 suffer fewer heart problems because Omega 3 reduces inflammation and helps lower cholesterol . The American Heart Association suggests you eat oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout and herring at least 2-3 times a week.

  2. Broccoli

    Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, part of a group including cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. They are high in a plant compound called glucosinolates, which are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Population studies show that eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables is linked to a lower risk of cancer.

  3. Blueberries

    Blueberries contain significant amounts of polyphenols and carotenoids.It is the polyphenol and carotenoid content of plant foods, not just their vitamins and minerals, which makes fruits and vegetables so valuable to your health.

    Carotenoids are largely concentrated in the skin and colouring of fruits like blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and strawberries – and they and polyphenols have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which researchers strongly believe helps prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    The carotenoids lutein and lycopene are known to prevent and repair the DNA and cellular damage done by free radicals – which, unchecked, can trigger cancer.

  4. Kale

    Kale is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Kale, like broccoli, contains glucosinolates, plus the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids have been shown to protect vision and lower your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. A similar anti-inflammatory superfood is spinach. It too contains lutein, vitamin K2 (which is heart healthy), folic acid, and beta carotene. Research shows that people who eat a largely plant based diet, including these leafy green vegetables, have a significantly reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.

  5. Carrots and sweet potatoes

    Carrots of course contain the carotenoid beta-carotene which your body can convert to vitamin A as needed. Carrots also contain other carotenoids (zeaxanthin and lutein), and these antioxidants help reduce your risk of cancer by shielding your healthy cells from free radical damage. They are also a good source of fibre.

    Sweet potatoes, like other orange-coloured vegetables, are also high in vitamin A and beta-carotene antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They are also high in fibre and high fibre consumption is linked to lower cancer risk.

  6. Almonds, walnuts and other nuts

    Nuts are very healthy, and you should try to incorporate a handful each day into your diet – either as a snack or on cereals. Eating almonds, walnuts, pecans and Brazils is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Walnuts are a great source of protein, vitamin E, minerals and phytochemicals called sterols. They also contain monounsaturated fatty acids (as does olive oil) and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

  7. Avocados

    Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, plus they’re a great source of magnesium, fibre, and potassium – all cardio-healthy nutrients.

The combination of the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and polyphenols in these top 7 (ish) foods is the basis of a highly anti-inflammatory diet.

You really are – and will become – what you eat.

Reduce pro-inflammatory foods

But you must also aim to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory foods in your diet.

Your body uses fatty acids from the food you eat to make the outer membranes of cells and also certain important hormones. Omega 6 fatty acids – found in polyunsaturated plant oils like safflower, sunflower and corn oil and in very many ready meals and processed foods  – are used by the body to produce hormones that promote inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids (from oily fish) have the opposite effect – they are used to produce hormones that reduce inflammation.


All this is why University College London recently joined the American Cancer Society in recommending 9-10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Plus the 2-3 portions of oily fish.

Of course it is rather a challenge for most people – so an anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement like NutriShield that includes a range of polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids plusOmega 3, as well as an optimised level of vitamins and minerals, can be a good choice to ‘fill in the gaps’.

If you want to read more about this topic you can download a free e-book called “Inflamm-ageing” below.

 


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Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthbutton-2 supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores.

See the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Combined 3 courses strip

Prevent and repair DNA mistakes that lead to cancer

Cancer is the result of DNA mutations

These mutations (mistakes) initiate cancer because even a tiny error in DNA can make cells multiply out of control.

When a cell divides, it copies its DNA, so that each new cell has its own version of your genetic material. But each time this copying occurs, it creates an opportunity for a mistake to occur.

In some cases, these mistakes can lead to cancer. Considering you make about 25 MILLION new cells a second – that’s a lot of opportunity for mistakes.

Damaged DNA

The reasons for DNA mistakes

A recent study from the Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University confirms that mistakes can be caused by:

  1. Environmental factors like pollution and solar damage
  2. Lifestyle factors – like poor diet and inactivity
  3. Inherited mutations (genetic disorders)

Or the mistakes simply occur randomly.

Random mistakes account for up to 50% of some cancers

The good news was that only about 5% of cancers are due to inherited mutations.

A further 45% are due to environmental and lifestyle factors. You can significantly cut the risk of them through a largely plant-based diet plus regular servings of oily fish – the combination providing you with the anti-oxidants that help prevent the free radical damage that triggers DNA mutation.

What’s new from the Johns Hopkins study is that they calculated that random mistakes may account for as much as 50% of cancer-causing DNA damage – which explains why a passionate vegetarian like Linda McCartney might still succumb to breast cancer.

Other cancers where random mistakes are a major cause are prostate cancer and brain cancer.

What can you do against cancer?

So, when statistically 50% of us will have to cope with a cancer, is it all largely chance – and are you therefore vulnerable whatever you do?

NO! There’s a lot you can do.

You can support your body’s own natural DNA repair mechanism through your diet.

And you can also give a boost to your immune system, which can ‘tag’ rogue cancer cells at an early stage and eliminate them.

NUTRIENTS THAT SUPPORT DNA REPAIR

Humans have extensive DNA repair mechanisms, but these begin to weaken with age, so that DNA damage can accumulate in more and more cells. This not only accelerates ageing, but increases the risk of cancers and, for instance, the irreversible eye disease AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration).

Cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, as in Simply Red Soup from the Health Defence Cookbook.

The carotenoids lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to assist DNA repair and reduce damage, as have the minerals selenium and zinc.

Lycopene especially appears to have protective ability against both prostate and breast cancer.

Grapeseed extract – rich in plant polyphenols called anthocyanins – has also been shown to block breast cancer cell DNA damage.

Oxidation or excess free radical action is a known factor in DNA damage and vitamin Cvitamin E and CoQ10 are all powerful antioxidants at the right level.

NUTRIENTS THAT SUPPORT IMMUNE FUNCTION

Your immune system not only defends you against outside pathogen invaders like viruses and dangerous bacteria, but against internal ‘rogue’ cells that become cancer.

Foods that support the immune system include mushrooms (especially shiitake and maitake), dark berry fruits (which are high in polyphenols), leafy green vegetables, green tea and garlic.

Supplement nutrients that support the immune system include vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, curcumin, green tea extract, selenium, zinc and lycopene.

There is also a purified natural ingredient called 1-3,1-6 beta glucans derived from the cell walls of yeast that is proven to boost your immune system – see www.immunoshield.com

Cancer protection from fruits and vegetables

The American Cancer Society has for some time recommended NINE portions of fruits and vegetables a day – and that was recently echoed in a London University report that called for TEN portions a day.

The reason for these high recommended levels is not just that fruits and vegetables contain plenty of anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E and minerals selenium and zinc.

Fruits and vegetables also contain highly protective plant compounds called flavonoids and polyphenols. These are both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory (which is also heart-protective).  In some cases they trigger beneficial  ‘gene expression’ – turning off genes that predispose you to cancer and turning on genes that help repair DNA.

So boost your daily intake of dark coloured berry fruits (dark red, blue and black ones like blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, loganberries, bilberries, blackberries, chokeberries) and leafy green and cruciferous vegetables. These include kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spinach.

Cancer protection from plant-extract supplements

Consider, too, a supplement that includes the carotenoids lutein and lycopene and powerful polyphenols like curcumin, green tea extract, bilberry and grapeseed extract.

A supplement doesn’t, of course, replace fresh fruits and vegetables – but the right, comprehensive product is a realistic way to increase your daily intake of polyphenols and carotenoids as well as an optimum intake of vitamins and minerals.

Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Health at the Royal Society of Medicine, has advised on the formulation of a supplement called NutriShield – www.nutrishield.com that includes these elements.


If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily headline health tweets.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Youtube

CTA Register NewsletterAnd register now for a free monthly e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.


Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthbutton-2 supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores.

See the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Combined 3 courses strip


References:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008857521992

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15894655

newsatjama.jama.com/2012/12/06/study-finds-lycopene-most-effective-carotenoid-in-reducing-breast-cancer-risk-2/

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/81ed/1787751c25a6f7866ddf7a01529eddf0bc9e.pdf