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NBC5 Chicago: What You Eat, How You Prepare It, Can Help Fight Inflammation, Nutritionist Says

From NBC 5 Chicago

We continue our Food for Thought series with foods to help fight inflammation, including how to best prepare them

By Lauren Petty Published February 16, 2023 Updated on February 16, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Instead of reaching for something in your medicine cabinet to fight inflammation, more health experts are advising patients to reach into their refrigerators.

While inflammation is a normal immune system reaction to help our bodies heal, Dr. Melissa Prest, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, said too much inflammation can cause problems.

“If it's prolonged, it can cause serious health conditions like chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer - and a component of inflammation can also come from our diet,” Prest said.

Several studies have looked at the types of food people eat, including those who eat red or highly processed meats, refined carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages.

“They had increases in C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in the blood, versus individuals who ate more plant foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains,” Prest said.

NBC 5’s Lauren Petty asked Prest for help identifying our best anti-inflammatory options.

She recommends the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on dark green leafy greens, bright-colored vegetables and fruit and whole grains, including oats, bulgur and brown rice.

For protein sources, she recommends non-meat options.

“We have red lentils and we have kidney beans and these are just some examples of protein options along with tofu,” Prest said.