OCW helps with Alzheimer


Anti-Inflammatory Foods


Ever had a crème-filed donut or pizza and soda – only to find that a few minutes later it’s harder to breathe through your nose? That’s probably evidence of an immediate inflammation response.

The tissue and blood vessels in your nose are very sensitive, so it’s easy to tell when a certain food triggers that kind of inflammation. But when inflammation happens elsewhere in your body over time, the symptoms may be harder to pinpoint – and their results can be more severe – like the leptin resistance that leads to obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Your cells make both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals. How much of the various compounds are produced depends a lot on the foods you eat.

Certain foods lead your body to produce more compounds that are inflammatory. Other foods lead your body to generate anti-inflammatory compounds. When you know which foods are which, you can use this to your advantage.

The worst offenders include sugar, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, and farm-raised fish, especially salmon.

So stay away from high-fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and fried foods. And eat only wild-caught fish.

You can also follow a low-inflammation diet.

It’s easier than you think.

Foods that promote inflammation

Replacements to reduce inflammation

Refined carbohydrates. These include anything made with flour or sugar (white bread, pasta, rolls, pastry, cakes, cookies, sweets, candy, soda and juice drinks, breakfast cereals, etc.).


Natural carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and legumes.


Saturated fats, including fatty cuts of grain-fed meat, and commercial dairy products.


Mono-unsaturated fats, including olive oil and canola oil.


Trans fats, which are found in fried foods, snacks, margarine, mayonnaise, and any packaged food that contains “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.


Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild-caught salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel.


White produce and processed foods, which tend to be antioxidant-poor.


Brightly colored vegetables and fruits, which tend to be high in antioxidants.



The IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating system is a tool created by noted nutritional researcher Monica Reinagel. This system, which evaluates 20 different nutritional factors that have an impact on inflammation, makes it easy to stay on an anti-inflammatory diet.

Foods with a negative rating are inflammatory, and foods with a positive rating are anti-inflammatory. The higher the number, the stronger the effect.

The following table shows some of the best-rated foods:




Pink Grapefruit


Chili Peppers


Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
Low-Fat Milk





Salmon (Not Farmed)


Pot Roast
Beef Shank
Top Blade
Eye of Round
Flank Steak


Carrot Juice
Tomato Juice
Black or Green Tea
Herbal Tea


A perfect resource for Anti-Inflammatory foods is also provided by Dr. Weil who created an Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid.

Other Resources:
   1.  Dementia” accessed 12/23/09 http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9090
   2. Lieb, W., Beiser, A. “Association of Plasma Leptin Levels With Incident Alzheimer Disease and MRI Measures of Brain Aging.” JAMA. 2009;302(23):2565-2572.
   3. Whitmer, R. A., Gustafson, D. R., et. al. “Central obesity and increased risk of dementia more than three decades later” NEUROLOGY 2008;71:1057-1064