July 23, 2016 – Anti-inflammatory Foods

Bariatric Support Group

Date: July 23, 2016

Facilitator:  Laura Hernandez, MBA, RD, LD 

A large percentage of our patients take or have taken NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Advil and Aleve for inflammation in their joints.  When you have surgery, those are no longer an option except on a very rare occasion or with approval of the surgeon.  There are a number of foods that can be very helpful in reducing inflammation, and some that increase inflammation.  Some of the foods that cause inflammation are sugar, corn, saturated fats, trans fats, omega 6 fatty acids (you need more Omega 3’s), and refined carbohydrates.  Your processed foods tend to have more of those.  Avoid items with high fructose corn syrup.

Laura brought some of the better anti-inflammatory foods and made smoothies using them – she brought spinach, parsley, dark cherries, coconut water, almond mild, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts and other flavorings.  The first smoothie combined almond milk with spinach, pineapple for sweetness, cinnamon, lime, turmeric, and a handful of walnuts.  She blended those and passed around samples, which almost everyone liked.  Then she made one with the cherries, coconut water, turmeric, walnuts, cinnamon and lime.  After blending, most of the group preferred this one strained, and not quite as much as the first one.  She also brought a pre-mixed green smoothie you can buy that contained a lot of the same ingredients, and you add a couple of your own items to change the flavor. 

Omega 3 fatty acids from salmon, sardines, cod and other fatty fish are excellent anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.  Another source is walnuts and extra-virgin olive oil.  (California Ranch is the best sold in this country) and increasing your fiber intake from fruits, vegetables and whole grains is also advised.  There are a lot of anti-inflammatory diets on the internet, and the Mediterranean Diet, which contains a lot of fish, olive oil, whole grain pasta and dark leafy green vegetables is a great anti-inflammatory diet to use.  All of these are also great for your heart!

Turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are all good anti-inflammatories, and turmeric has no flavor, so add it to everything you cook and get that additional anti-inflammatory action in all your meals.  As you lose weight, the addition of some of these items will help you to have less joint pain and hopefully wean off the anti-inflammatories which are so harsh to the lining of your stomach!