Nutrition Tip October 23 2010

Chronic Inflammation is an enemy of your body.  It is correlated to cell damage, cholesterol plague, hardening arteries, and chronic disease.

To reduce inflammation (as an athlete and for overall health), try to eat foods that are:

  1. Whole-food rather than processed.
  2. If a grain product, choose 100% whole grain rather than refined (for example: 100% whole grain bread, brown rice, 100% whole wheat couscous, etc).
  3. Low in saturated fats (fat from animal products…buy lean meat and/or remove fat)
  4. Low in transfats
  5. High in monounsaturated fats (think Mediterranean diet…olive oil, avocados, nuts, nut butter, etc.)  For maximum health benefits, olive oil should not be heated – its makeup is altered with heat.  Heated olive oil is not bad for you, but you won’t get the same benefits (http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=132#summary)
  6. High in DHA/EPA omega-3s (fatty fish)
  7. A great tool for scoring foods based on inflammation, can be found at www.nutritiondata.com – type in a food…you’ll get the nutrition label, glycemic index, and a inflammation score.  Positive numbers are anti-inflammatory, negative ones are pro-inflammatory (kind of counter intuitive).  If you compare the score of peanuts vs. almonds, you’ll see why I recommend a variety of nuts instead of just peanuts.  You want to end up with a net score of 50 or better for the day.