Nutrition & Weight Loss

Fighting Inflammation With Food

Fighting Inflammation With Food

Inflammation happens for a reason, it is actually part of the body’s immune response to certain stressors, designed to protect us from acute physical trauma, stress, allergens, and even fever.  Through remodeling, the body is able to adapt (become stronger and more fit) until too much stress overcomes the inflammation response, inviting injury or illness.

Most runners are familiar with the term and have a negative association with inflammation. It typically means injury or pain while running. We’ve been conditioned to reach for NSAIDs or even go as far as getting cortisone shots in a worse case scenario. Maybe there’s a better way. Could our food be the answer? As more research is being done on this subject, we are beginning to find more answers.

Inflammation Factor Rating

So, is there anything we can do in regards to nutrition that might help aid in the inflammation process? Instead of taking a risk with over the counter pain medication, perhaps there is a safer, natural and more consistent way to help reduce these affects with our diet. The recommendations regarding anti-inflammation diets were limited to a relatively small group of foods until the introduction of the IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating.  The IF rating estimates the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory potential of individual foods or combinations of foods by calculating the net effect of different nutritional factors, such as fatty acids, antioxidants, and glycemic impact.  The higher the rating, the greater the food is at fighting inflammation.  Take a look below at a comparison consisting of common, similar healthy foods. Those on the left side will offer more anti-inflammatory properties, and according to Dr. Andrew Weil “Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing long-term disease risks.”  Look for these the next time you’re at the grocery store, and hopefully choosing foods with a higher IF rating will help you ward off inflammation.

More Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Less Anti-Inflammatory Properties
FOOD
QTY
IF RATING
FOOD
QTY
IF RATING
Salmon – Wild Caught
4 oz
+516
vs
Chicken Breast
4 oz
-15
Sweet Potato – Baked
1 Medium
+216
vs
Baked Potato
1 Medium
-98
Kale – Raw
1 Cup
+256
vs
Iceberg Lettuce
1 Cup
+7
Strawberries
1 Cup
+28
vs
Banana
1 Medium
-60
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp
+71
vs
Sunflower Oil
1 Tbsp
-74
Almonds
1 oz
+52
vs
Walnuts
1 oz
-38
Whole Grain Bread
1 Slice
-32
vs
French Bread
1 Slice
-134

If you’d like to look up more foods you can do so by visiting the Inflammation Factor Rating System website at http://inflammationfactor.com/look-up-if-ratings/.

strawberry photo credit


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This post was written by:

- who has written 8 posts on Trail Running Club.


After graduating from Western Illinois University in 2004, Boone furthered his career in the health & fitness industry and owns a training and coaching business in Arizona. A lifetime runner and outdoor enthusiast, Boone enjoys competing in endurance events on both road and trails. When he is not training clients, odds are you can find him on the trail somewhere around the Southwest.

Since 2009, Boone has 33 Top Ten finishes including: -1st Overall 2014 San Pedro Park 10K -3rd Overall 2014 San Luis Obispo Marathon -4th Overall 2014 Oakland Marathon -2nd Overall 2013 Tucson Half Marathon -1st Overall 2013 Pass Mountain 12K (CR) -3rd Overall 2013 Canyon de Chelly 55K -4th Overall 2013 Santa Rosa Marathon -7th Overall 2013 Phoenix Marathon -2nd Overall 2013 Desert Classic Marathon -1st Overall 2013 Rose Bowl 10K -2nd Overall 2012 Mesquite Canyon Trail 50K -4th Overall 2012 Lost Dutchman Marathon -2nd Overall 2012 XTERRA McDowell Mountain 15 mile run -6th Overall 2011 Zane Grey Highline Trail 50 Mile Endurance Run -4th Overall 2011 Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run -1st Overall 2010 Sedona 50K -1st Overall 2010 Flagstaff 50K

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One Response

  1. john says:

    I’ve heard mention of foods that fight inflammation but didn’t realize there was an Inflammation Factor Rating on foods or how healthy foods compare. This has me on a mission to learn more about IF Rating and the foods I eat. Thanks for the article.

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