Osteoporosis affects approximately 200 million women worldwide, making bones brittle and fragile from loss of tissue. New research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet could boost bone health and prevent fractures in some women.
We have asked our experts for their top anti-inflammatory foods to help us eat our way to a stronger structure….
“Where there is pain, there is nearly always inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process that’s necessary for healing and for fighting infection in the short term. What we don’t want is for inflammation and pain to become chronic and long-lasting, as this can have a negative effect on our wellbeing.
“Long-lasting inflammation and pain can have various contributing factors. But we can make a difference with the foods that we eat,” explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com the online shopping destination for health & wellbeing.
“Most types of berries are rich in compounds called anthocyanins, which give them their red and purple colours. Anthocyanins have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are the primary reason that blueberries in particular are known as a ‘superfood,’ explains Shona.
2. Oily fish
“Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and herring contain the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. These omega-3s aren’t just good for our heart; they also have known anti-inflammatory activity.
“What’s more, oily fish are one or our best food sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for a balanced immune system, which helps to prevent unwanted or chronic inflammation,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
To make sure you’re getting your daily dose try Vega Vitamins Everyday-D 10mg (from £5.95 www.vegavitamins.co.uk), which is available in a tasty orange spray, or as blackcurrant chewable tablets (100s and 500s).
3. Orange vegetables
“Orange vegetables including carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are extremely high in carotenoids, another family of substances that have anti-inflammatory properties. Some of these carotenoids (such as beta-carotene) can also convert to vitamin A in the body, which is vital for regulating and balancing our immune system,” says Shona.
“If you are struggling with your 5 a day, try Natures Plus ageLoss First Day Healthy Inflammation Response (revital.co.uk, £47.45), a complex of antioxidant-packed botanicals, including grape seed, bilberry and blueberry,” suggests Cassandra.
“Pineapple contains a substance called bromelain, an enzyme (actually a complex of enzymes) that has anti-inflammatory properties”, explains Shona.
5. Leafy greens
“Green vegetables such as Swiss chard, kale and spinach are high in carotenoids (like those in orange vegetables) and in flavonoids. They are also rich in minerals including magnesium, which supports our muscles and bones, and may help us to manage pain.
“I’d recommend taking KalmAssure Magnesium Magnesium Powder, by Natures Plus (£24.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk). This is a naturally chelated magnesium which is very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues,” explains Cassandra.
6. Chia Seeds
Chis seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty caids and can help to reverse inflammation. “Chia seeds can also help with weight loss by absorbing 10 times their weight. This slows digestion, keeps you feeling fuller longer and reducing sugar cravings,’ addssays Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar, www.marilynglenville.com.
“Beetroot contains yet another set of anti-inflammatory compounds called betalains. They have been found to have protective effects for the heart too,” says Cassandra.
8. Red cabbage
“Red cabbage is high in anthocyanin pigments similar to those found in berries. It is also among the top vegetables for its vitamin C content. Eat some of your red cabbage raw to better preserve the content of these nutrients,” suggests Shona.