FoodDiet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, particularly leafy greens, linked to longevity, dietitians say

Diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, particularly leafy greens, linked to longevity, dietitians say

Watercress - illustrative photo
Watercress - illustrative photo
Images source: © Adobe Stock

8:25 PM EST, February 9, 2024, updated: 3:19 PM EST, February 10, 2024

A long life can be significantly influenced by a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. Such foods contain compounds that actively reduce inflammation in the body. While all anti-inflammatory foods are beneficial, dietitians universally recommend one in particular.

The impact of anti-inflammatory food on health

Dr. Lina Begdache, a dietician and an adjunct in health and well-being research at the State University of New York, cites that anti-inflammatory food bolsters health by signaling the immune system to extinguish inflammation.

"Many of these foods also impart antioxidant activity, which is imperative to counteract oxidative damage induced by inflammation," she discusses in an interview with

Susan Bowerman, Director of Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, explains on that inflammation in the body can intensify by consuming sugar, salt, and overly processed food. These food types, she adds, alter the composition of gut bacteria, leading to cellular inflammation.

Experts further assert that anti-inflammatory food is abundant in compounds that help reduce chronic inflammation, thereby lowering the risk of associated widespread chronic diseases. All these factors contribute to enhancing the potential for a longer and healthier life.

Eyeing a 100-year lifespan? Include these food items in your meals

What qualifies as an anti-inflammatory food? The list includes vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, legumes, fish, and olive oil. However, there is one category - a group of products - that's a wise starting point when incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

Vegetables are classified as anti-inflammatory foods.
Vegetables are classified as anti-inflammatory foods.© Pixabay

Susan Bowerman endorses increased consumption of leafy vegetables, even advocating daily intake, specifically of spinach, kale, watercress, Italian cabbage, and dark leafy salads. These vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, beta-carotene (which the body can convert into vitamin A as needed), minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and also water.

Scientific research affirms the correlation between regular intake of leafy greens and longevity. One study discovered that consuming one to two servings of leafy greens a day actually decelerates body aging.

Dr. Lina Begdache also recommends eating fatty, wild fish twice a week, and using olive oil as the primary fat in cooking. In addition to consuming anti-inflammatory foods, Bowerman advises minimizing the intake of ultra-processed food and maintaining a regular exercise regime for anyone aiming to live to 100.

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