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Inflammation and Diet

Inflammation is a natural and essential response to injury, irritation, and infection. When the inflammatory response does not shut off over time, the condition is considered chronic and can impose harmful degenerative effects on the body. These effects can result in diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia to name a few. Commitment to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is the first line of defense in fighting off inflammation.

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle involves the following:

Healthy fats
Adequate sleep & fluids
Fruits and vegetables
Weight Management
Lean proteins
Whole grains
Stress Reduction 

Healthy fats, specifically, the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have an overall effect of dilating blood vessels, minimizing blood clotting, and reducing inflammation. Good sources of DHA and EPA include cold-water fish, such as albacore tuna, stripped sea bass, and wild salmon. To benefit from the positive effects of these fats, one needs to consume one gram of both DHA and EPA per day or 8 to 10 ounces of fish per week. 

Another type of omega 3 is the plant-based source ALA. When consumed, ALA is converted to EPA and DHA. The only drawback is that the body is not effective at converting all of the ALA to DHA or EPA. Because of this, you must consume 3 to 4 times as much ALA to equal the amount found in a 3-ounce serving of fish. The amount you need is 1.1 grams per day, which comes out to about ½ tablespoon of chia seeds.

Focusing on getting adequate amounts of these beneficial omega 3 fatty acids is a great start to achieving an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Stay tuned for more recommendations toward this dietary approach.

To learn more about inflammation and diet or to set up an appointment with The Houstonian Club's Registered Dietitian, Denise Hernandez please email her at or call 713.865.6894.

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