Friday, August 19, 2011

Anti-Inflammatory Menu Components

Anti-inflammatory foods are foods which do not promote inflammation in the body. The following list is provided by Wendy Kohatsu, M.D., Director of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Santa Rosa Family Medical Residency Clinic in California.  Dr. Kohatsu is interested in the integration of primary care with nutrition, lifestyle changes, mind and body therapies and botanical medicine. She studied under Dr. Andrew Weil, at the University of Arizona in 1999 and has since gone on to receive her professional culinary degree in 2008. Along with her regular private practice she teaches healthy cooking classes at wellness centers and national conferences. She hopes to inspire her patients to not only eat healthier but to use food as medicine. I had the good fortune to have her as my primary care physician for a few years before she left to take her current position. It is interesting to find out that 'anti-inflammatory foods' is a passion of her practice. I did not know this until I found her list online through my research. It is a perfect representation of her healthcare focus.

Dr. Kohatsu describes this list of foods as evidence based principles to promote health, prevent and reduce inflammation in the body and generally be a helpful diet for patients with heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain illnesses.  The following items are guidelines for a healthy diet.

1) Ensure adequate omega-3 intake.

         Eat two servings (4 ounces each) of fatty fish per week, or supplement with 1
         gram combined EPA + DHA daily.
         Reduce use of omega-6 fats.  Keep the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in range of
         2:1 – 4:1.

2) Choose healthy fats. 
        Substitute olive oil for other vegetable oils, trans-fats, or butter in cooking for health
        benefits. (I suggest you consider coconut oil as well. See previous post.) 

3) Increase vegetable and fruit intake (especially vegetables)
        Eat 5 - 9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day - more than
        half should be vegetables.
        Color your diet!  -- deeply-colored fruits and vegetables contain
        higher amounts of protective phytochemicals.
        Use the visual plate method – the biggest portion, half your plate should be vegetables
        (excluding starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas or corn).

4) Choose whole grain carbohydrates and limit the portion sizes to 1/4 of your plate.
        Choose carbs that are whole grain (requires chewing!), and aim for total
        of 25 grams of fiber per day.

5) Incorporate plant-based proteins (legumes) and/or choose lean, natural animal
         sources of protein as the other 1/4 of your plate.

6) Spice it up!   Include garlic, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, and cayenne in your

7) Eat mindfully - use a small salad plate instead of a dinner plate.
         Adopt the Okinawan philosophy of “hara hachi bu” – stopping when nearly 8/10 full
         and paying attention to hunger and satiety signals.
         Regardless of how healthy your food choices are, excess calories from any source
         increase inflammation and obesity.

8) Focus on the whole diet pattern, not just components. Choose foods that are closest
         to their natural form (i.e., less processed).

9) Keep your weight under control.
         It is especially important to prevent and reduce obesity, especially abdominal obesity,
         as obesity itself sets up chronic inflammatory responses in the body.

10) Don’t forget dark chocolate! – 2 ounces of dark (70% cocoa mass or greater)
         chocolate as your treat once a week.

Hope these guidelines along with my other postings about nightshade vegetables and alkaline foods help you to make wise food choices in the days ahead. Thanks for coming by today, and may you be blessed each day. Hope to see you again soon! Please leave your comments or questions.


  1. Hi! i found your facebook page, then your blog, through Low Glycemic Nurse - and i am so glad i did! My mother has RA and i'm always looking for ways to help her!

  2. So glad to have you visit! Good luck with your efforts in getting your degree in Nutrition. You will and are helping a lot of people feel better now with your concentrated focus. Take care!