Dr. Day is a cardiologist and Medical Director of Heart Rhythm Services at his practice in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowship in cardiology at Stanford University. He is board certified in Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology.
3 Reasons Why the Anti-Inflammation Diet May Help You Live to 110
The number one factor in making it 110, according to medical studies, is to keep inflammation in your body as low as possible. In order to make it to 110, you probably had perfect health at 100 and you were eating an anti-inflammation diet. In this article, I share three reasons why the anti-inflammation diet may help you live to 110.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is activation of your immune system to fight off a microscopic invader, damaged cells, or an irritant of some source. Basically, your white blood cells are mobilized to the area of your body under attack. These white blood cells then release various hormones and other substances which may result in swelling and pain.
Sometimes inflammation is a good thing. For example, if you break a bone, injure a muscle, or come down with a viral infection, you want your body to quickly repair the damage. Good inflammation is something that is only turned on for a short period of time.
In contrast, inflammation that is never turned off is a bad thing. Chronic inflammation is when the inflammation never stops. For example, constant inflammation of your arteries, brought on by unhealthy food choices every day, leads to blockages in your heart and brain as well as an early death.
The Secret to Making it to 110 Study
Your chances of becoming a supercentenarian, or living to 110, are about one in 23 million. At any given time, there are only about three to five hundred supercentenarians living on this planet.
As supercentenarians have defied all the laws of conventional aging, researchers have long been fascinated by these people. Of course, to make it 110 means that you are still riding a bike, running, and living independently at age 100.
In order to find out how someone can live to age 110, Japanese researchers recently published their findings of the oldest Japanese.
In this study, they identified that low levels of inflammation was the number one factor in making it to 110. Basically, keeping inflammation as low as possible slowed the aging process, prevented cancer, and stopped cardiovascular disease.
What is an anti-inflammation diet?
An anti-inflammation diet is one that doesn’t require your immune system to repair the damage from what you ate. While an Internet search will give you all sorts of crazy recommendations of what to and what not to eat, there is actually a medically proven anti-inflammation diet.
Under the direction of Harvard University trained Dr. James R. Hebert, from the University of South Carolina, the Dietary Inflammatory Index was created. Basically, Dr. Hebert and his team carefully dissected 6,500 medical studies in order to identify which foods stop inflammation, prevent medical problems, and keep people young.
The 10 Best Anti-Inflammation Foods
To help you understand which foods stop chronic inflammation, Dr. Hebert has identified the 10 best foods to eat based on his research. Here is that list:
1. Omega-3 fish, like wild salmon which is low in contaminants.
3. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, etc.
4. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage, etc.
5. Colorful fruits and vegetables like red grapes, sweet potatoes, carrots, plums, red peppers, etc.
7. Spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, or saffron.
8. Intact grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc. Grains that have been pulverized into flour, or stripped of their nutrition, are not intact grains.
9. Cold-pressed oils like olive oil, flaxseed oil, or avocado oil.
10. Green or black tea.
The Top 10 Inflammation Causing Foods
In contrast to the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods, here are the 10 worst foods for inflammation. These 10 foods, if eaten regularly, are guaranteed to put you on the path toward disease and disability.
1. Deserts made with sugar.
2. Most breakfast cereals.
3. White carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white potatoes, etc.
4. Sugary drinks.
5. Anything with high fructose corn syrup.
6. Processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, bacon, salami, etc.
7. French fries, potato chips, and most snack foods.
8. Fast foods.
10. Organ meats, especially liver due to antibiotic, fertilizers, and other residue.
3 Reasons Why the Anti-Inflammation Diet May Help You Live to 110
While some readers may not want to live to 110, I’m confident most wouldn’t mind skiing, running, or biking vigorously at age 100. In order to get there, you need to keep inflammation and aging at the lowest levels possible. Based on many studies, below are three reasons why the anti-inflammation diet may help you to live to 110.
1. Aging Slows to a Crawl.
Last month, Dr. Hebert and colleagues published a study showing that the anti-inflammation diet keeps inflammation low, as measured by the CRP blood test, and telomeres long. Telomeres are the helmets on your DNA.
Basically, telomeres make sure that your DNA blueprint in cells stays healthy. As part of the aging process, telomeres shorten. When your telomeres get too short, your DNA blueprint is no longer protected and disease and death quickly follow.
Indeed, telomeres are like the sands of time. As long as your telomeres stay long, you have plenty of sand in the glass. To keep inflammation low and telomeres long, make sure what you eat every day is part of the anti-inflammation diet.
2. Cancer Doesn’t Happen.
In another recently published study, Dr. Hebert and his team showed that the anti-inflammation diet slashes your cancer risk by 46%. For digestive tract cancers, the protection was even higher. Considering that 600,000 Americans die from cancer every year, the anti-inflammation diet could save approximately 280,000 Americans from an unnecessary cancer death.
3. Cardiovascular Disease Never Touches You.
As with cancer, Dr. Hebert found that people who follow an anti-inflammation diet were also 46% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. This makes sense as heart disease deaths are primarily due to chronic inflammation of the arteries.
Take Home Message
Even if you have no plans of living to 110, if you want to stay young and healthy, you need to keep chronic inflammation as low as possible. To find out if your body is inflammed, there are simple blood tests, like C-reactive protein, that your doctor can order for you.
While I am not a fan of what you may find on an Internet search of the anti-inflammation diet, I am quite impressed by the work from Dr. Hebert and colleagues in their exhaustive review of 6,500 medical studies on food and inflammation.
Personally, I try to hit on most of the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods each day and avoid the 10 that prematurely age me. Does inflammation and the risk of premature aging affect your day-to-day food choices?
Please leave your thoughts and questions below. As always, I’ll do my best to answer your questions as quickly as possible.
Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.