A Plant Based Diet for Inflammation of Aging

“Inflamm-aging” does not have to be an inevitable part of growing older.

This video was originally published on NutritionFacts.org and republished with permission. NutritionFacts.org

We know that as we age, our bodies begin to stop working as smoothly as they did in youth. Flexibility and dexterity list off, we ache more, and our immune systems stop functioning as well. The latter is what usually ends up being our downfall, and it may all be linked back to the inflammation of aging, or “inflamm-aging” as it is being called. Studies have shown that while our immune systems fail to successfully fight off specific threats, markers for non-specific responses in the immune system results in inflammation. This chronic state of being inflamed is what causes the body to fall victim more readily to disease.

The goal then becomes bolstering the immune system without aggravating the chronic, non-specific immune response. As usual, this is can be accomplished with proper nutrition. A staple of the Western diet, meat products may, in fact, be a contributing factor to this unfortunate aging issue. Another study looking at the connection between proteins and inflammation saw that a consumption of meat was directly related to higher levels of inflammation markers in the participant’s blood plasma. This happens because animal fats contain the chemical arachidonic acid, which our bodies convert into inflammatory chemicals, which can also be used by cancerous cells to promote their own growth.

If animal proteins and fats are the problem, the the solution should be obvious. Indeed, a plant-based diet has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Though almost all plant foods will help the body reduce the immune system’s tendency to inflame, not all area equal. Be sure to add more leafy greens, grapes, and grapefruit to your diet and don’t rely too heavily on common plant foods with lower inflammatory-reducing qualities like potatoes, leeks and apples, keeping in mind that even these foods are still beneficial for the inflammation of aging.

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