Approved: Anti-inflammatory Diet May Help You Live Longer

Updated: 10/28/2019

Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish philosopher, once said: “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” This quote means that health is very important for us. We cannot do anything without good health. An indispensable way to improve your health is paying attention to the food we eat daily. Instead of consuming bad food, why don’t we start to make a healthy diet to have a longer life? Therefore, in the article today on EffectiveRemedies, we will talk about an anti-inflammation diet and its benefits on lengthening your life. Read more about an anti-inflammatory diet may help you live longer.

Studies’ Evidence: An Anti-inflammatory Diet May Help You Live Longer

I. What Is An Anti-inflammatory Diet?

Let’s start with the term “anti-inflammatory.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary Online, “anti-inflammatory” is an adjective to define the benefit of drugs, which may help soothe the pain and swelling[1]. Therefore, an anti-inflammatory diet is a diet containing food, which reduces inflammation in the body and improves your body’s ability to work.

II. Benefits Of An Anti-inflammatory Diet

anti-inflammatory diet - benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet

An anti-inflammatory diet helps you lengthen your life by reducing the risk of getting diseases such as:

1. Diabetics

Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods has a major effect on diabetes and blood sugar levels. According to a study in 2017, food which contains anti-inflammatory properties may act as the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes[2].

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2. Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world. One factor of a higher chance of having a heart attack is high levels of inflammation. According to an article published in Johns Hopkins Medicine, having anti-inflammatory food gives you a healthy heart[3]. Additionally, a study published in 2018 concludes that people should consume anti-inflammatory foods to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease[4]. Especially, having an anti-inflammatory diet can help you decrease the risk of death caused by heart disease. For example, according to a study after 13.3 years, breast cancer survivors have a 56% lower risk of dying from heart disease when consuming the most anti-inflammatory diets[5].

3. Cancer

The rate of cancer is growing more and more, which makes it become an important issue all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, globally, 1 in 6 people died because of cancer[6]. The bad diet causes around one-third of deaths from cancer[6]. According to the report after an average of 26 years by the American Institute for Cancer Research, men and women following the most pro-inflammatory diets have a higher risk of colorectal cancer, in comparison with people who eat the most anti-inflammatory diet[7]. To be specific, men have 44% more and this figure in women is 22%. This institute also estimates that if people change their diets, 47% of US colorectal cancer cases can be prevented per year[8]. An anti-inflammatory can also prevent other types of cancer such as gastric cancer[9] and lung cancer, especially in current and former smokers[10].

4. Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a common problem, especially in older people. According to the Alzheimer's Association, in the United States, Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death[11]. Albert Einstein College of Medicine nutrition scientist Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., R.D. concludes that foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties may lower the cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease risk[12]. Mediterranean diet which emphasizes on a diet rich in anti-inflammatory properties help people reduce the rate of Alzheimer’s disease[13]. For instance, adults who follow this diet most rigorously had a reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%, in comparison with those who follow it the least. Even for people who use this diet moderately, the reduction is 35%. In addition, according to Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, to prevent Alzheimer’s and memory loss, it is essential to avoid food rich in trans fat and saturated fats such as fast food and red meat because these fats are the reasons for inflammation and free radicals, which can kill brain cells.

5. Obesity 

Obesity is an alarming issue in the world. Obesity can appear from children to older people. For example, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2014-2015, almost 2 in 3 Australian adults suffer from obesity[14]. In Vietnam, according to Nguyễn Thị Lâm, the Deputy Head of the National Institute of Nutrition, in 2016, 40% of children at primary schools in Hanoi were obese[15]. A study in 2017 shows the benefits of anti-inflammatory food which can be found mostly in fish in preventing and reducing obesity[16].

III. What To Eat In An Anti-inflammatory Diet?

anti-inflammatory diet - what to eat in an anti-inflammatory diet

According to Harvard Medical School, an anti-inflammatory diet contains: green leafy vegetables, including collards, spinach, and kale,  nuts such as almonds and walnuts, fruits such as cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and oranges, fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and olive oil[17]. Besides, following an anti-inflammatory diet means that you have to avoid or limit these types of food such as fast food like KFC and French fries, sugary drinks like soda, red meat, processed meat like hot dogs, canned food, refined carbohydrates like white bread, margarine, etc[17].

Let's take a deep look in the ingredients in an anti-inflammatory diet to understand why an anti-inflammatory diet can make you live longer.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

This kind of vegetables contains a lot of vitamin A, K, C, E, manganese, calcium, etc.which are power medicinal properties. A study in 2013 shows the link between intake green and leafy vegetables and reduced risk of mortality among older adults[18]. Vegetable consumption is also beneficial for preventing mortality from specific diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular[18]. Moreover, according to medical consultant Dr. Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow, diet with cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of many cancers and heart disease, and then helps you live longer[19].

2. Nuts

Another good food you have to add to daily meals is nuts. Nuts are one of superfoods, which are rich in nutrition, including healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, several B group vitamins, vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidant minerals (selenium, manganese, and copper). Thanks to the appearance of good compounds, nuts help prevent many diseases. Besides, “some other studies show that eating walnuts may help improve sleep quality because they are high in the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. Moreover, the fatty acids in these nuts can contribute to better sleep” (Medically reviewed/fact checked by Julie Freeman, MA, RD, LD, RYT. Read more at here). According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, consuming nuts weekly can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Moreover, a study in 2010 concludes the relationship between eating nuts and a lower risk of coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac death, diabetes in women as well[20]. Furthermore, nuts play an important role in improving mental health. The researchers at Loma Linda University Health points out that regular diet with nuts improves learning, memory, cognition, healing, and other key brain functions[21]. According to Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, people who eat nuts every day will have a healthier and longer life[22]. If people eat nuts often, their risk of premature death may be reduced [22].

3. Fatty Fish 

An indispensable ingredient in an anti-inflammatory diet is fish. According to the American Heart Association, you should eat meat twice a week to have a healthy diet. When talking about the good nutrition of fish, we have to mention about omega-3 fatty acids. According to Washington State Department of Health, the source of omega 3 fatty acids in fish helps us have good health because it lowers blood pressure and reduces heart problems such as heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes[23]. Moreover, this type of fatty acids can prevent depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, diabetes, and arthritis. A large study points out that men who consume the most fish have a lower mortality risk by 9%, compared with those who eat the least. Besides, a study 2013 conducted with elderly people, the highest levels of omega-3 fats in their blood helps them lower 27% their risk of dying from all causes[24].

4. Fruits

An effective way to add years to your life is eating fruits daily. Regular consumption of fruits may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity[25]. According to researchers of University College School, consuming seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day helps people have a 42% lower risk of death, compared with people who eat less than one portion[26]. Moreover, a study of more than 65,000 adults over 7.7 years claims that fruit and vegetable consumption may lower all-cause mortality[27]. People who eat the most fruits and vegetables will reduce the risk of dying of any cause by 33% during the follow-up period, in comparison with people who consume less than one serving per day[27]. To be specific, they also reduce their risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 31% lower and risk from cancer by 25%.

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a good choice for your life because it contains monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Extra-virgin olive oil possesses the chemical oleocanthal, which works similarly to ibuprofen. Using olive oil protects your body from some diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart diseases, etc. According to a study of Harvard University published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, people who consume servings of unsaturated fat which can be found in fish and vegetable oils regularly can have a chance to live longer by about 20%[28]. Moreover, many studies conclude that large amounts of olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, and oily fish may help you live between 11 and 19% longer[28].

In conclusion, according to the evidence in studies, you should follow the anti-inflammatory diet to improve your health and prevent some diseases. From now, it is advisable to add fruits, vegetables, nuts, and good fats to your daily meals to create a healthy diet. Besides, it is essential to have enough sleep, drink enough water, exercise, and have a health examination regularly.

We hope that this post is useful for you. All content provided is for informational & educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine your health condition to have a suitable diet and have the treatment for your diseases if you have.

We are very welcome your comments and questions about this topic. Please let your suggestions and opinions in the comment box below.

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