Can Anti-Inflammatory Foods Help You Lose Weight?

August 17, 2017

Even if you can't change your genes, you can change the outcome of what will happen in your body!

Research now demonstrates that multiple genes can affect our chance of becoming overweight. According to Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, author of The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle, "Genes are largely dynamic, and you can change the expression of genes." For example, you can eat foods that are protective against things that your genes might predispose you to like cancer or obesity.

Translation: even if you can't change your genes, you can change the outcome of what will happen in your body! And this includes your weight! There are three major hormones that affect your weight: insulin, which helps the body process sugar; and leptin and glucagon, which make you feel full. Everyone has them, but sometimes inflammation can block them from working properly.

Inflammation is a natural part of the body's immune response; it is not entirely a bad thing. It signals to the body that there is an injury or an area that needs care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can become self-perpetuating - if we don’t have the correct balance of nutrients, more inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation. Dietary improvements including more anti-inflammatory foods can be a natural way to manage some symptoms of chronic inflammation, which could ultimately help you to keep your weight in check.

What are some foods rich with anti-inflammatory properties? Head to your local supermarket to stock up on antioxidant colorful rich foods.

First up, berries. Cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, black and blueberries are rich in antioxidants, their dark purple and red coloring are a sure sign. Their color comes from anthocyanins or plant pigments that have demonstrated powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Cherries, tart cherries, in particular are known as powerful anti-inflammatory foods. The flavonoid and carotenoid phytonutrients in cherries have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A study conducted at UC Davis found that regular consumption of cherries (for approximately a month) produced a decrease in markers of inflammation in blood. Observation included a 25 percent reduction in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation potentially associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Omega-3 rich foods such as oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts are powerful inflammation fighters. Omega-3 fatty acids alleviate inflammation and can even block inflammatory pathways. Other benefits of flax include fiber and phytochemicals such as lignans. Diets rich in plant lignans (found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and more) have been associated with reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease.

Spice meals up with cayenne, ginger, and turmeric. Cayenne pepper contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and protects our cells where they need it the most, in the nucleus. Ginger is another powerful anti-inflammatory known to reduce pain. Gingerols offer free radical protection and have been shown to reduce discomfort and swelling related to arthritis. Lastly turmeric, also a plant of the ginger family, contains the powerful curcurmin and may have a positive effect on the mechanisms that cause inflammation.

Other beneficial anti-inflammatory foods for your shopping list? Green tea, and dark green veggies, pomegranates and yes, dark chocolate. Choosing vibrantly colored foods is a sure way to get your antioxidants and have a healthy inflammatory response and shed some pounds!