By Johanna Hicks
A lot of information comes across my desk every day. Nutrition is constantly evolving, making it difficult to keep up with what’s good for you and what isn’t! As Family and Community Health Extension Agents across the country will tell you, all five food groups are essential for well-being. Moderation is the key! For individuals with diabetes, watching carbohydrate intake is crucial. For those with high cholesterol, watching fat intake and foods high in cholesterol is crucial.
D-Life website indicates that anti-inflammatory eating is right in line with healthy, diabetes-friendly eating. It is the way we all should eat, whether we have diabetes or not: lots of plant foods and moderate portions of animal foods, as unaltered and unprocessed as possible. If we all ate this way, we would see a much larger portion of our population living healthier, longer lives.
Here are the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods from D-Life:
- Salmon: Coldwater fish, including salmon, contain anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s. Wild salmon has more of these super-healthy fats than does farmed salmon. Shopping tip: All salmon from Alaska is wild, whereas Atlantic salmon is usually farmed. Herring sardines, and tuna also contain omega-3s.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, another anti-inflammatory oil. Researchers for the Journal of the American College of Nutritionwrote that those who consume more oleic acid have better insulin function and lower blood sugar. Shopping tip: Opt for extra-virgin olive oil, which is the least processed, and use it instead of other cooking oils.
- Salads: Dark green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and other salad veggies are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that dampen inflammation. Suggestion: Opt for olive oil-and-vinegar dressing (vinegar helps moderate blood sugar), and skip the croutons.
- Cruciferous vegetables: These veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale, are also loaded with antioxidants, but the also provide one other ingredient – sulfur – that the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants.
- Cherries: A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating cherries daily can significantly reduce inflammation. Cherries are also packed with antioxidants and relatively low on the glycemic index. Tip: Frozen cherries are available all year long and make a tasty dessert with a little yogurt or cheese.
- Blueberries: These small fruits are chock-full of natural compounds that reduce inflammation. Blueberries may also protect the brain from many of the effects of aging. Frozen blueberries are usually less expensive than fresh – and just as good for you!
- Tumeric: This spice contains a powerful, natural inflammatory compound, according to a report in the August 2009 Biochemical Pharmacology. Tumeric has long been part of curry spice blends, used in southern Asian cuisines. To use: Buy powdered curry spice (which contains turmeric and other spices) and use it as a seasoning when pan-frying chicken breasts in olive oil.
- Ginger: This relative of turmeric is also known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, and some research suggests that it might also help control blood sugar. Suggestion: Brew your own ginger tea. Use a peeler to remove the skin off a piece of ginger, then add several thin slices to a cup of hot water and let steep for a few minutes.
- Garlic: The research isn’t consistent, but garlic may have some anti-inflammatory and glucose-regulations benefits and may also help your body fight infections. At the very least, it won’t hurt and makes a tasty addition to food!
- Green tea: Like fruits and vegetables, green tea contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds. It may even reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Suggestion: Drink a cup a day – or brew it like sun tea, refrigerate, and serve.
As of this writing, we only have seven spots remaining for the 2019 Skills Camp, to be held July 29, 30, 31, and Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Hopkins County office, 1200 West Houston Street Sulphur springs. This camp is for students who have completed grades 5 and 6 (going into grades 6 and 7 in the fall). The sessions will include baking, pet care, photography, and woodworking. The cost is only $15 per student. Deadline to register is July 5. Call 903-885-3443 for more information.
If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa