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    Inflammaging Part 3: The Inflammatory Diet

      |  Apr 06, 2023

    In earlier posts, we talked about how "Inflammaging" is commonly used to describe the significant impact that chronic inflammation has on the aging process, and that stress is a common driver of chronic inflammation. Another factor that leads to inflammation is a poorly balanced diet.

    Many studies have shown that certain foods trigger the inflammatory response. Sugar and starch are the biggest factors, but refined fat, processed and trans-oils, and occasionally certain dairy foods all contribute to inflammation. It’s also important to note that the types of food that trigger inflammation can differ from person to person - think tomatoes in those with reflux disease, wheat in those with celiac disease, or garlic in those with IBS.

    How can a poor diet impact inflammation and overall longevity?

    Besides triggering the inflammatory response directly, there are two other ways that a poor diet can impact inflammation and overall longevity:

    1. Activating the body’s production of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which further drives inflammation and chronic disease.

    AGEs are harmful compounds that form in the body when blood sugar levels are high or when food is cooked at high temperatures, such as frying, grilling, or broiling. AGEs To reduce the formation of AGEs in the body, it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, avoid high-heat cooking methods, and choose foods that are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against the harmful effects of AGEs.

    2. Altering the gut microbiome and decreasing the amount of protective bacteria that prevent inflammation.

    The gut microbiome plays an important role in regulating the immune system and maintaining a healthy intestinal barrier. When the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted, it can lead to chronic inflammation and a host of health problems.

    Imbalances in the gut microbiome can also lead to alterations in the gut-brain axis, which is the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. This can contribute to chronic inflammation and a range of health problems, including depression and anxiety

    How can you get your inflammation under control?

    There are several foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body. Here are some examples:

    1. Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which can help reduce inflammation. Some examples include berries, leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots.

    2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

    3. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber, which can help reduce inflammation.

    4. Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are high in fiber and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation.

    5. Spices: Certain spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to meals or used in teas.

    We want to try and limit consumption of these foods to help our body heal and re-regulate from chronic inflammation, but we should do this in a realistic and step-wise approach that ensures success. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to get personalized recommendations to manage your hidden inflammation.

    About Michaela Robbins, DNP

    Michaela is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Board-Certified Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. She completed her nursing education at Columbia University with a background in comprehensive wellness and occupational screenings, ENT, Pulmonary and GI medicine. She has completed training through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine to integrate lifestyle recommendations into chronic disease prevention and management. By pulling from different areas of medicine, Michaela offers an individualized approach to achieving highly personalized health goals to feel good inside and out.

    Learn more about all of our Modern Age clinicians here.