When I mentioned that I bought salmon to make for dinner last night, it definitely had something to do with its high omega-3 content and the hope that foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties might bring some allergy relief.

Obviously,  one piece of fish (which was delicious, by the way) isn’t going to cure my symptoms, but anti-inflammatory diets have long been recommended for the prevention and treatment of cancer, heart disease, acne, depression, arthritis and Chron’s disease as well as to promote anti-aging and weight loss. Being that allergies are basically an overreaction of the immune system, it made sense that it might help.

An anti-inflammatory diet combines principles of typical Mediterranean and Asian diets, including such foods as berries, dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, flax, and soybeans. Olives, olive oil, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and and sesame seeds are also on the list, as are green tea, red wine, and dark chocolate. Seasonings like garlic, onion, ginger, rosemary, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric are also recommended.

Some foods on the no-fly list are high-fat meats, non-organic dairy, sugar, white flour, trans fats, corn syrup, and junk foods, which are believed to cause inflammation. No surprise there.

One thing I like about this style of eating is that it’s really simple to incorporate aspects of it into your daily life. It can be simple as adding a little tumeric to your omelet or tossing some berries and ground flax meal on top of oatmeal. You can serve up some salmon with dark leafy greens and baked sweet potatoes for dinner and use olive oil instead of butter in  a lot of dishes. It’s not a fussy, expensive diet you have to buy special products for. It’s more of an easy-to-acheieve lifestyle balance, which I much prefer to an “eat these cookies and lose weight” kind of plan.

Obviously, following an anti-inlammatory diet isn’t a guarantee you’ll enjoy a disease-free life, but when combined with exercise, ample sleep, and abstinence from smoking and other harmful practices, I believe it can give you a good shot.

As for my allergies, I’m feeling a lot better today, though it probably has to do with a lower pollen count than a magic piece of salmon. Still, I think eating for health is important, and I never need to be told to enjoy a glass of red wine.

You can read more about the increasing popularity of this diet and view recipes here.

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