Author: Elsie Weisskoff

When the body ages, it can easily fall victim to disease, injury, or infection. When this happens, the natural bodily response is inflammation. While this type of inflammation is good, chronic inflammation can be harmful to your health.

According to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases are the number one threat to human health. These chronic inflammation diseases are common elderly health issues. They include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis and joint diseases, and strokes.

Diet can have a large influence on these inflammatory diseases. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods to your diet and avoiding inflammatory foods is an attainable way to offset any negative inflammation.

Foods to Avoid

1. Refined Carbohydrates

This includes foods like white bread, pizza dough, and pasta. Try swapping these refined carbohydrates for whole wheat or whole grain options.

2. Processed Fats and Oils

This includes fried food and the oils they are made with such as canola or vegetable oil. Try reducing the amount of fast food you’re consuming as it’s typically made with these inflammatory oils.

3. Processed Foods

This includes foods that are canned, frozen or packaged. These foods typically contain unhealthy preservatives. Try incorporating more fresh produce into your diet.

Foods to Incorporate

1. Berries

Acai, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi berries, raspberries and blackberries are all high in antioxidants which target inflammation. Add these to your breakfast or snack on them for dessert.

2. Avocados

Avocados contain healthy sugar that helps block the pro-inflammatory response in your body in addition to being a source of healthy fats. Avocado toast isn’t just for millennials. Add it to you weekday breakfasts.

3. Grapes

Another healthy fruit, grapes contain anthocyanins and resveratrol which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation. For a summer treat, freeze your grapes and snack on them to cool off.

4. Cherries

One study showed that eating 45 cherries a day significantly reduced inflammation in patients. Add cherries to yogurt for a delicious breakfast.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in selenium, the B vitamins, copper and phenols which all provide anti-inflammatory protection. However, be sure not to overcook them, as they lose these nutrients if overcooked.

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain vitamin C, lycopene and potassium which are antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. You can add tomatoes to nearly any dish, from pasta to salads.

7. Kale

This leafy green is packed with phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins that combat inflammation. Next time you go to make a salad, try swapping your romaine for some kale.

8. Peppers

Chili peppers contain antioxidants and vitamin C which have anti-inflammatory effects. Try incorporating them into your next Mexican dish.

9. Broccoli

This superfood is a great source for sulforaphane, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. There are many ways to enjoy this vegetable. You can eat it raw, steamed, baked or sautéed.

10. Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish that’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid and DHA. Enjoy salmon for lunch or dinner with a side of veggies.

11. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Incorporate this spice into your dishes or enjoy it in tea.

12. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Enjoy some dark chocolate and berries for an anti-inflammatory dessert.

13. Chia seed

Chia seeds contain an omega-3 fatty acid which has anti-inflammatory effects. Add chia seeds to your hot cereal or smoothie.

Diet is an important part of healthy aging. If you’re a senior, consider adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to offset any harmful inflammation.