Anti-Inflammatory Diet: What It Is & How Seniors Can Benefit

We hear in the media every day about this diet or that “superfood” and the benefits that they can have on our health.

We know that aging takes a toll on our body and mind and it is likely that our diet plays a role both positively and negatively.

As more scientific research finds that major medical diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, and lung ailments such as asthma are potentially caused by a chronic inflammatory process in our bodies, it makes sense to focus our attention on foods that may be contributing to inflammation.

Foods That Belong in Seniors’ Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  • A rainbow of fruits and vegetables that provide essential nutrients, flavonoids, antioxidants and phytochemicals essential for health and reduced inflammation; don’t avoid the cruciferous kinds like cabbage and broccoli.
  • Foods containing fiber that not only aid elimination but also maintain healthy GI bacteria; be sure you are including sources of soluble and insoluble fiber; look for intact whole grains and cereals, beans, as well as the fresh fruits and vegetables already listed
  • Choose foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids such as fat found in salmon, tuna, nuts, flaxseed, canola oil, and some spices such as cloves and oregano.
  • Remember variety is the key, be sure to eat different foods each week and choose fresh sources.
  • Include some soy products such as soy protein or soy milk unless told by your doctor otherwise.
  • Try some green or white tea instead of coffee.

Foods Contributing to Inflammation in our Seniors

  • Food items that are processed with numerous ingredients such as preservatives and other items not present in the raw food.
  • Trans fats or those that have been hydrogenated such as in tub margarine; read the labels to be sure they are trans fat free. Limit saturated fats primarily found in meats.
  • Those who are susceptible should avoid foods that create a reaction or intolerance, since that can set off the inflammatory process.
  • Avoid excessive calorie intake; eat the amount of food you need without excess calories leading to obesity to prevent harmful inflammation.

It is true that risk factors such as smoking, stress, obesity and lack of physical activity also play a role in our inflammatory and immune processes, but diet is one way we can make changes quickly for a positive impact.

Some of these meal changes are easy while others may take some time to  incorporate into our daily menus, it is worthwhile trying an anti-inflammatory diet to improve our senior’s and our own health. You might want to check out this selection of anti-inflammatory diet cookbooks (affiliate link) for meal preparation assistance.