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Following a diet packed with foods and supplements that lower the markers of inflammation in our bodies can lower our risk for an early death.

An anti-inflammatory diet may reduce your risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. If you’re hoping to live a long and healthy life, you might want to embrace an anti-inflammatory diet.

New research published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggests that a diet that includes foods like fruits and vegetables, and mostly steers clear of processed foods, is associated with a lower risk of death at an early age.

The research was led by Joanna Kaluza, DSc, an associate professor at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland. It looked at 68,273 Swedish men and women between the ages of 45 and 83. The study followed people for 16 years, and those who stuck with a mostly anti-inflammatory diet had an 18 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, 13 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, and 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

This kind of diet focuses on foods high in nutrients — especially antioxidants —that have been tied with “lowering the markers of inflammation in our bodies.”

Its key players are foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats — like those that come from olive oil and avocado — fish, nuts, and dark chocolate. Red wine is sometimes considered to be a component of an anti-inflammatory diet, though it should be consumed in moderation.

If you’re thinking that sounds a lot like the popular Mediterranean diet, you’re right. An anti-inflammatory diet is basically an on-trend term that describes established recommendations for eating healthy. Anything that’s “nutrient dense” with a lot of vitamins and minerals and color, from a natural source would be an ideal component of this diet. However, an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t just about what you eat, but what you don’t eat, foods high in salt, saturated fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates should be limited or avoided. When these kinds of foods are consumed in excess they’re linked to higher markers for inflammation — which is tied to almost every kind of chronic disease — and presents a greater risk for cancer and diabetes.

Inflammation is a complicated process. There is some research to support that eating recommended amounts of foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can reduce risk for chronic diseases that have an inflammatory component, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

So, what makes these foods so inherently healthy?

Primarily, it’s the antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Fruits and vegetables are packaged nuggets of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Our ancestors ate a primarily plant-based diet that was completely unprocessed, [and] that’s what, evolutionarily, we are supposed to be eating for good health.

Investing in your own health is a big thing. While there may be some up-front costs of switching diet, which really everyone would benefit from, the amount it would save in healthcare costs and productivity is really worth it.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional regarding any medical condition. while every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in the blog and to describe best generally accepted current practices we cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions or for any consequences from application of the information given.