Inflammation in the body can make many chronic diseases that are common in older adults worse. Some of the conditions affected by inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, diabetes, and heart disease. While there is no cure for these diseases, making dietary changes can help to improve them. One dietary change that some experts recommend is eating foods that fight inflammation and avoiding those that promote it.
Foods that May Reduce Inflammation
The good news about an anti-inflammatory diet is that the foods included on it are the same ones that experts recommend as part of a regular healthy diet. In general, an anti-inflammatory diet involves a focus on vegetables, plants, whole grains, fish, and plant-based proteins. More specifically, some foods older adults should eat more of to fight inflammation are:
Fruits and Veggies: Make fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colors a part of the older adult’s diet. Experts recommend eating lots of dark leafy greens like kale and spinach and berries, such as raspberries and blueberries.
Whole Grains: Read the ingredients list on products and make sure a whole grain is toward the beginning of the list. Choose whole-grain bread, like whole wheat.
Beans: Beans are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory substances.
Nuts: Nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fat. However, they are high in calories, so should be eaten in moderation.
Fish: Make fish a regular part of the older adult’s diet, serving it twice per week. Choose fatty fish that contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, and sardines.
Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices are an excellent way to add flavor to food without excess salt. Certain spices, like curcumin and garlic, are believed to be particularly good at fighting inflammation.
Foods that Could Increase Inflammation
The foods that should be limited or avoided as part of an anti-inflammatory diet are the same ones that experts suggest avoiding in other types of diets. Some foods to avoid are:
Sweets: Avoid foods that contain added sugars, such as candy, cakes, and sugary drinks. They have little nutritional value and promote obesity, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol, all problems that are linked with inflammation. In fact, some experts on the subject of inflammation recommend cutting out all types of added sugar, including agave and honey.
Full-Fat Dairy: Butter, cheese, and whole milk are all high in saturated fat. Instead of full-fat dairy products, choose that are low-fat, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt.
Fried Foods: Fried foods contain omega-6 fatty acids. Getting too many omega-6s impacts the balance of omega-3s and leads to inflammation.
Trans Fats: Trans fats are responsible for raising LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind).
Home care can help your aging relative to reduce inflammation by preparing meals that focus on healthy foods included in the list of foods that fight inflammation. Home care providers can even help the older adult to plan their meals, ensuring they make good choices and get meals they enjoy. Home care providers can also take the older adult grocery shopping, helping them to push the cart, reach items on the shelf, and carry heavy grocery bags.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Homecare in Buford, GA, and surrounding areas. Call (770) 965.4004 for more information.