New Lifesaving Foods: The Anti-Inflammation Diet
Sample Meal PlanThe Anti-Inflammatory Diet
How can you incorporate foods that fight inflammation into your daily eating plan? Linda Antinoro, RD, and Julie Redfern, RD, dietitians at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, offer the following healthier alternatives to the typical American diet:BREAKFAST
Typical Choice: Large bagel with cream cheese and a 20-ounce coffee with cream and sugar
Better Choice: A cup of oatmeal with skim milk, two tablespoons of raisins, and one tablespoon of walnuts; a half cup of blueberries; a cup of green tea
Why: Oatmeal contains flavonoids and has no saturated fat, unlike the cream cheese and light coffee's 13 grams. Raisins are among the most powerful antioxidant foods, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service; blueberries come in second. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids; green tea is rich in antioxidant polyphenols but isn't linked to increased inflammation the way moderate-to-heavy coffee drinking is.LUNCH
Typical Choice: Cheeseburger with fries and a 20-ounce soda
Better Choice: Turkey sandwich with 3 ounces of meat, 100 percent whole wheat bread, red leaf lettuce, tomato, and 1 teaspoon mayonnaise; 6 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice.
Why: The sandwich has 10 to 15 fewer grams of saturated fat than a cheeseburger and fries, while the tomato, lettuce, and whole-grain bread contain antioxidants lycopene, anthocyanins, and lignans, respectively. Fruit juice provides antioxidants as well, unlike sugary soft drinks, which some research links with markers of inflammation in women. And the small amount of omega-6 in mayo's soybean oil is okay if the rest of your diet is healthy.SNACK
Typical Choice: Three chocolate chip cookies
Better Choice: Two tablespoons mixed nuts and 3/4 cup grapes
Why: Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat; grapes contain anthocyanins.DINNER
Typical Choice: Six-ounce steak, packaged white-rice side dish with powdered cheese and seasonings, and green-bean casserole
Better Choice: Three ounces of baked wild salmon sprinkled with oregano; 1/2 cup brown rice; steamed asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil; salad with 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves tossed with sliced red peppers, red onion, 2 tablespoons avocado cubes and dressing made with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar; 6 ounces red wine.
Why: Salmon is a top source of omega-3. Oregano, asparagus, red peppers, and onions all contain various antioxidants. Spinach does too, along with a small amount of omega-3. Brown rice is high in lignans, unlike packaged white rice, and that powdered sauce also contains omega-6. Avocado is a source of monounsaturated fat, as is olive oil, which may have additional unique anti-inflammatory properties. Wine contains polyphenols and has been linked to lower rates of inflammation.DESSERT
Typical Choice: One cup of chocolate ice cream
Better Choice: One cup of sliced fresh peaches sprinkled with cinnamon
Why: Peaches contain carotenoids and flavonoids instead of the saturated fat found in ice cream; cinnamon packs polyphenols.Total calories
Typical American Diet: 2,583
Anti-Inflammation Diet: 1,543
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2006.
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