Finding Better Health with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
You may have never heard of inflammation, yet it contributes to every major chronic condition from heart disease to cancer to diabetes.
Translation: If your doctor sees big issues brewing—or boiling over—you may be put on medication, such as a statin. “Statins can work wonders, greatly lowering inflammation markers and significantly reducing your risk for a cardiac episode,” says Cannon. However, diet, exercise and lifestyle changes—such as quitting smoking and losing weight—should be the first line of attack, if possible. “Eating well is a really powerful tool against inflammation,” Cannon says. “[An anti-inflammatory diet] is actually not a terribly complicated diet. First, you need to cut back on unhealthy things, such as saturated fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed food.” Think in terms of big-ticket items: don’t eat steak more than once a week, avoid fried foods and limit ice cream to special occasions. “I don’t eat any fried food or drink soda—and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a fast-food chain anymore,” laughs Zeppieri-Caruana. “These changes—along with my meds—have made a world of difference.”
In addition to limiting all the unhealthy stuff, you need to ramp up the healthy foods. Says Cannon: “Add in more foods that help alleviate and prevent inflammation, such as ones high in omega-3s, fruits and vegetables and whole grains.” A healthy diet, plus key lifestyle upgrades (Healthy weight! No smoking!) can make all the difference.