#197 3 Reasons Why the Anti-Inflammation Diet May Help You Live to 110

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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.

2. Berries.

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.

6. Nuts.

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.

9. Margarine.

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.

Also, if you have not yet subscribed to my Longevity Plan Newsletter, now would be a great time.  If you don’t always have time to read these articles, be sure to subscribe to my podcast.

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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.

14 Comments
  1. Hi Dr. Day, I really enjoyed the newsletter on aging and inflammation, and the pro and con lists of foods that enhance or minimize inflammation, but it triggered an interesting question.
    Assumming the study you were referencing was carried out by Japanese, in Japan, on Japanese people who have lived to 110, I found it interesting that on the list of foods that increase inflammation, there was white rice.

    Being familiar with the issues of white rice vs brown rice, and having lived in Japan for five and a half years, I don’t ever remember having been served, offered, or seen any of the Japanese eat, anything but white rice, and would assume the 110 year-olds that were studied, must have eaten, being Japanese, a lot of white rice in their long lives. I wonder if with your background in China, if you observed the same thing regarding white rice? I was intrigued with irony of Japanese researchers, studying very long-living (white rice eating)Japanese subjects, including white rice on their list of foods to avoid or minimize.
    It would be great to know how much the White rice contributes to the inflammation.

    Anyway, loved the newsletter, and understand how the other foods listed contribute to increased inflammation, (though there is some interesting studies on potatoes (without butter and sour cream of course).

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for your newsletters, I really enjoy them.

    Sincerely,

    Barry

    • Hi Barry,

      Great observation! Yes, the Asians love their white rice. Since World War 2, with modern “processing equipment,” most Asians have switched from the unpolished “brown rice” to the highly polished white rice.

      You are correct, white rice is nothing more that sugar. Most of the nutrients have been completely stripped. White rice is currently playing a role in the obesity and diabetes epidemics currently going on in China. White rice is also a potent stimulator of inflammation.

      As to what exactly these supercentenarians in Japan ate throughout their lives was not mentioned in the study. I suspect that in their youth it was more of a brown rice and in their later years it was a white rice. There are so many factors that are involved with inflammation and aging it is hard to pinpoint the relative contribution of each element.

      Thanks for reading!!!

      John

  2. Hi Dr. Day,
    I noticed on the list of anti-inflammatory foods, only fish is listed. So, should I assume no meats? Also, is it essential that the fruits and vegetables be organic? I am 59 years old and have numerous health problems already. No heart attack or stroke yet but I have all the health problems leading up to that that I am trying to keep in check with medications. I am overweight and do feel that if I would and could follow a diet such as this, I could possibly solve a lot of my health problems. My third question is can some of my health problems be reversed as though I never had them if I follow a diet such as this? (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia,fatty liver (by ultrasound), GERD, obesity, osteoarthritis(damage may be irreversible in knees).

    Wanting to get healthy,
    Kay

    • Hi Kay,

      Thanks for reading!

      Based on this study, fish was the only meat which was “anti-inflammatory.” Poultry is probably neutral. Processed red meats are inflammation causing.

      Yes, if you only eat the non-inflammatory foods then you will probably lose a lot of weight without feeling hungry. Of course, if your portion sizes are out of control then you could gain weight even eating very healthy.

      Most health problems are reversible if action can be taken before the damage becomes permanent.

      Hope this helps!

      John

  3. Hello John.

    I am endeavouring to do do as much as I can to help myself. And have put much of what you suggest into practice. I have had 7 AF attacks in 8 years. These last for 36 hours hours. I am what is classified as a lone atrial fibrillator. Through my suggestion my Cardiologist has cut my Flecainide from 100mg twice a day to 50mg twice a day. No side effects from this. However I am so fed up with the 25mg Atenolol I take daily. It causes me horrible dreams, I awake every 1.5 hours through the night and I have an incredibly dry mouth, which is exacerbated by the mild bronchiectasis I have, extra mucous and a dry mouth do not mix! This morning I only took 12.5 antenolol. Unfortunately my Cardiologist is not available now until February, so have been advised to see my GP, which I am doing tomorrow morning. Ideally I would love to be on no tablets and if I do go into AF then take a flecainide. My Cardiologist is never happy for me to change my medication.
    Sorry for the rant but I just needed to talk to someone. Thank you.

    • Hi Llevelyse,

      Yes, many people struggle with the side effects of beta-blockers. Work with your physicians to find a better alternative as they do exist.

      Hope this helps!

      John

  4. Thanks for all your healthy living ideas! I am interested in following an anti inflammatory diet. Until your book is released is there another book you suggest with an eating plan and recipes.

    • Hi Tammy,

      Thanks for your interest in our book…the scheduled publication date is July 4, 2017…

      In the meantime, one of my favorite books is Blue Zones. This book carefully dissects the eating patterns of various groups of people around the world who are able to live very long ages without the usual medical problems.

      Hope this helps!

      John

  5. Hi Dr Day I have Lupus and could benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet Where can I buy your book or plan?
    Sincerely
    Holly Hannula

    • Hi Holly,

      We have nothing for sale. My wife regularly posts healthy recipes which are anti-inflammatory on this website. Our book will be coming out from Harper Collins on July 4, 2017.

      Thanks for reading!

      John

  6. I have a serious love for salty snacks. I am trying hard to keep it at bay! What is your opinion of low fat triscuits, almond dusted with cocoa & low fat & low salt popcorn? I know your ok with small amounts of dark choc, right? Your PVC patient 🙂

    • Hi Jolene,

      I’m not a big fan of low fat triscuits as they are just processed carbohydrates. Almonds dusted with cocoa sound yummy!

      For popcorn, I would stick with the air pop varieties. This biggest problem with popcorn is the oils that are used. I would steer clear of the microwave popcorns.

      Hope this helps!

      John

    • This is a question about a couple of recipes that use white balsamic vinegar. What are the added benefits of white balsamic vinegar in comparison to regular balsamic vinegar? Thank you. I really enjoy your articles and always look forward to learning more about staying healthy by eating properly!

      • Hi Jan,

        Great question. Vinegars can be very healthy. The differences in white vs. regular balsamic vinegar really comes down to different tastes. Balsamic vinegar may have more sugar than other vinegars.

        Hope this helps!

        John