Bulk Up to Lower Inflammation

You’ve likely heard quite a bit lately about a certain “miracle” substance. It’s proven to foster weight loss, improve gastrointestinal health, protect the heart, and even guard against cancer. Food manufacturers are boosting it in their products (and proudly displaying it on their labels). TV commercials featuring models exposing taut tummies urge you to whirl it into juice or water. And a recent book suggests that getting 35 grams every day is the key to losing weight and staying healthy for life.

What is this miracle substance? Fiber! Although devoid of calories, this non-nutritional vital nutrient is anything but lacking when it comes to your health. And new research shows yet another way roughage (as Mom calls it) can help prevent one of the major causes of chronic disease – inflammation.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the relationship between C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation and a predictor of heart disease and diabetes, with dietary fiber. The study evaluated the body composition, CRP, diet, and physical activity of 524 people. At the end of the study, CRP levels in the body were found to be inversely associated with the total fiber in the diet.

Bulk up on fiber to keep inflammation down. For maximum benefit, eat a variety of plant-based foods that provide both soluble and insoluble fiber. Here are a few:

  • Black beans, 1/2 cup: 7.5 grams of fiber
  • Chickpeas, 1/2 cup: 6.2 grams
  • Kidney beans, 1/2 cup: 5.8 grams
  • Navy beans, 1/2 cup: 5.8 grams
  • Northern beans, 1/2 cup: 5.6 grams
  • Pinto beans, 1/2 cup: 7.4 grams
  • Brussels sprouts, 1 cup: 6.4 grams
  • Apple: 5.7 grams
  • Pear: 5.1 grams
  • Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup: 6.3 grams
[Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is the founder and CEO of Healing Gourmet (www.healinggourmet.com), and is editor-in-chief of the Healing Gourmet book series.]