As a Discovery Health Report reader, you probably know that inflammation is linked to many of the so-called “diseases of aging.” Your risk of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease – and many more – skyrockets in the presence of inflammation.
Similarly, anti-inflammatory nutrients lower your risk. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are known to lower levels of inflammatory molecules.
So following an anti-inflammatory diet is a great idea. Plus, you now have another good reason to get more anti-inflammatory nutrients. New research from The Ohio State University shows it could help keep your bones stronger for years longer.
Let’s take a quick look at the study. Then I’ll show you an easy way to calm inflammation – and potentially slow aging to a crawl.
Anti-inflammatory Foods Preserve Bone Mass
The new study looked at data for 10,290 women aged 50 – 79. The Women’s Health Initiative – a large study of post-menopausal women – provided years of data on the volunteers.
The study’s authors grouped their subjects by the foods they ate. Those who ate the most pro-inflammatory foods… those who ate the most anti-inflammatory foods… and several steps in between.
Diets were ranked by the Dietary Inflammatory Index. The index ranks nutrients based on their anti- and pro-inflammatory activity.
Over time, the group who ate the most anti-inflammatory foods lost less bone tissue than the others. And the difference was significant compared to women eating diets higher in pro-inflammatory foods.
This held true, even though the anti-inflammatory group had less bone mass to begin with. (The authors think this was related to the pro-inflammatory group being heavier in general at the start.)
So, what should you eat – and what should you avoid – to take advantage of this bone-sparing benefit?
Dietary Dos (and Don’ts) For Better Bone Health
There are lots of food lists out there. But memorizing long lists of “good” and “bad” foods can drive you crazy. And who really wants to tote a booklet around with them to look everything up before you order a meal?
Here’s a simpler idea. It’s not perfect… but almost anyone can remember six simple items, right?
Eat plenty of these three types of food…
- Leafy green vegetables. Chard, spinach, kale… The darker green, the better.
- Fruits – especially berries. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries… They’re all loaded with antioxidants.
- Fatty fish. Mackerel, tuna, salmon… These “oily” fish provide lots of healthy Omega-3s. Shoot for three servings a week.
On the other hand, try to avoid these three food types…
- Fried foods. Most frying is done in vegetable oil – high in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats.
- Refined carbs. Most breads, pastas, and sweets should be off your list.
- Added sugars. Manufacturers add sugar to thousands of packaged foods. Stick to fresh foods whenever possible.
Again, this list isn’t perfect. You could add items to either list. But if you focus on just these six simple items, you’ll be well on your way to beating inflammation. And that’s the simplest way I know to slow the aging process.
Even for your bones.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
Simonopoulos, A.P., “Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases,” J Am Coll Nutr. Dec 2002; 21(6): 495-505.
Crane, M., “Anti-inflammatory diet could reduce risk of bone loss in women,” The Ohio State University. Jan 26, 2017.
“Foods that fight inflammation,” Harvard Health Publications. Jun 2014.
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