Acute short-term inflammation in the body plays an important role in how the body heals itself against bacteria, viruses and other invaders. But chronic inflammation can be dangerous.
"We know now through research that this can put us at higher risk of cancer, various kinds of cancers, diabetes, coronary artery disease-- which gives us heart attacks and strokes-- even certain types of dementia," explained Maryann Ludlow, a dietitian at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
So to fight that chronic inflammation, Ludlow offers an easy four-step approach through your diet. First, she suggests eating berries every morning for breakfast because their antioxidants blunt the body's inflammatory response to fat. She says you can also throw certain spices into your soups and other meals for the same reason, especially garlic, ginger and turmeric. And eating fish twice a week helps the heart. Finally, the two don'ts: Ludlow says you should not consume sugary drinks and you should keep refined carbohydrates to a minimum-- those include white bread, white rice and french fries.
"Even if you can only do one, you know pick one. I picked berries at breakfast. That what I did after I did this research. I started eating berries every morning for breakfast. If you do drink sugary soft drinks, cut it out. Drink water, drink seltzer," Ludlow said.
Ludlow also said that pro-inflammatory foods have become a big part of the American diet and that's why it's critically important to try to provide balance by consuming foods that fight it.
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