Balance Your Omega Fats
Americans are gorging on too many inflammation-promoting omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oils, such as sunflower and corn, and processed and fast food made with them) and not consuming nearly enough inflammation-soothing omega-3 fats (found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola and olive oils). In short: a diet high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s increases inflammation in the body, says Floyd Chilton, Ph.D., director of the NIH-sponsored Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention at Wake Forest Baptist Health School of Medicine. To better balance your omega fats, opt for as much fresh, unprocessed food as possible, swap your omega-6-rich corn or sunflower oil for omega-3-packed canola and load your plate with omega-3-rich foods. “If you eat one healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids every day, you’ll be doing good things for inflammation,” says Christopher P. Cannon, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School. (Omega-3s boost the number of proteins in the body that quell inflammation and also reduce the level of proteins that promote inflammation.) If it proves difficult to get the recommended 1 to 4 grams of omega-3s daily through food (3 ounces of salmon delivers about 2 grams, 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 3 grams), ask your doctor about taking a supplement. A 2011 study out of Ohio State University found that taking fish-oil pills daily (at a dosage of 2.5 grams/day of omega-3s) reduced stress-related production of interleukin-6, a prominent inflammatory marker, by 14 percent.
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