Catching the Flame

Should You Buy into an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

One of the hot concepts in the pseudo-science world of pop dietary advice is the anti-inflammatory diet. At, you can find more than 300 books related to anti-inflammatory diets. Interestingly, many of these books tie this concept to another trendy concept — clean eating.

But unlike “clean eating,” the anti-inflammatory diet starts with a scrap of scientific information — chronic, low-level inflammation associated with heart disease and other chronic health conditions. And then its disciples build claims around it that go well beyond the science.

“Thousands of fantastic studies support the healing properties of individual anti-inflammatory foods,” says actress and nutritionist Julie Daniluk. She has a book to sell you. Writing in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, doctor Brent Bauer has a different perspective:

Some people advocate an “anti-inflammatory diet.” Although there’s less evidence such diets work to directly thwart inflammation, most of the recommended foods are typical of the Mediterranean style of eating and in principle are good choices.

He goes on to say that inflammation is an important area for medical research that will eventually yield important tools for better health. In other words, when someone tells you they have the all answers about inflammation, look out.

Following a Mediterranean style of eating is certainly a good idea. But neither that nor any other diet will reliably “heal inflammation, alleviate pain, and restore physical health.”

“Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.” — Khalil Gibran

Click here to read more from Bauer and here to read more from the Huffington Post.

Catching the Flame, photograph © Fran López / flickr

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