Cardiovascular disease and breast cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States for women. Both are associated with inflammation.
Strategies to reduce inflammation may be an effective treatment option to reduce cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
Chronic inflammation leads to the release of inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines contribute to cellular damage, which leads to disease onset or progression. Chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and diabetes all have an inflammatory component.
There are medications to reduce inflammation, such as steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), but all medication comes with side effects and these are no exception. Potential side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weight gain, increase blood pressure, and immune suppression among others.
Alternate treatment options are desirable for treating inflammation, such as dietary interventions. Improving dietary quality with emphasis on specific anti-inflammatory nutrients is a safe strategy for reducing inflammation and disease risk.
Foods high in added sugar that should be avoided or limited include soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, cakes, pastries, donuts, fruit drinks, ice cream, pudding, cookies, candy, pie, and cobblers.
The World Health Organization recommends fewer than 10% of total daily calories come from “free sugars”. The term “free sugars” is defined as all sugar added to foods by a manufacturer, cook, or consumer, as well as sugars naturally found in fruit juice, honey, and syrup.
Added sugars promote inflammation and potentially compromise the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in an anti-inflammatory diet.
Fish high in omega-3’s include salmon, albacore tuna, herring, sardines, rainbow trout, anchovies, and Atlantic mackerel.
Some foods rich in dietary fiber include, oats, brown rice, quinoa, prunes, raisins, blueberries, apricots, cantaloupe, plums, apples, beans, lentils, spinach, corn, and broccoli.
More research continues in this area to definitively determine the effectiveness of a diet low in added sugar and high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids; however, at this time you can safely implement these strategies and monitor your own results.
For further guidance specific to lowering blood pressure to reduce heart disease risk, access the free e-cource 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
Health Pro for HealthCentral
Calder PC, Ahluwalia N, Albers R, et al. A consideration of biomarkers to be used for evaluation of inflammation in human nutritional studies. Br J Nutr. England 2013:S1-34.
Who Study Group on Diet NaPoND, World Health O. Diet, nutrition, and the prevention of chronic diseases; report of a WHO study group. Geneva: Word Health Organization 1990.
Ma T, Liaset B, Hao Q, et al. Sucrose counteracts the anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in adipose tissue and increases obesity development in mice. PLoS One. 2001;6(6)L:e21647.