Video Blog: Caroline Berry on why anti-inflammatory diets are great for joint health and mobility
Hi, my name is Carolyn Berry and I'm a registered dietitian here in Vancouver BC. I am passionate about being a dietitian because I feel there is so much information going around about nutrition. There's lots of myths and I really like to debunk those myths. I think that's really important.
I do work in a hospital. I work in a private clinic and I also have my own private practice called Berry Nourished. My website is berrynourish.com. I feature lots of different recipes on my website, so really easy to make, simple ingredients. I'm also very active. I run marathons and I like to help people basically learn how to eat and be fit at the same time. When it comes to eating organic foods we really need to weigh out the costs versus the health benefit of the organic food.
We do know that organic foods have a lower amount of pesticides than non organic foods. However, they are quite expensive. A rule that I like to go by is the dirty dozen versus the clean 15. That's something that you can look up to see the entire list but just to give you an example, the dirty dozen would include apples, nectarines, grapes, spinach. Those are things if you are going to buy organic, I would spend your money on the more pesticide dirty dozen. The clean 15 would include things like onions, cabbage, cantaloupe. If you think about cantaloupe, it has a really thick skin so you're not eating the skin, right, so that's a bit of a cleaner fruit in terms of pesticides.
Inflammation is at the root of a lot of illnesses and there's things that we can do in our diets to help. One of the things would be increasing Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are found in cold water fatty fish, so examples would be salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines. Plant sources of Omega 3 would be ground flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil. We really want to increase our intake of these Omega 3 fats. They are anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, we have Omega 6 fats and Omega 6 fats are found in a lot of those really light tasting oils that are used in a lot of processed foods. For example, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soy bean oil. Companies are using those oils because they're cheap to produce. They're putting them in cookies, crackers, baked goods. A lot of those processed foods that we're eating so as a result, in our North American diets, we get a lot of Omega 6 fats. We actually want to be achieving a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 4 to 1. 4 Omega 6 to one Omega 3. Unfortunately in North America our ratio is more like 15 to 1 so we have a lot of Omega 6 in our diets. We want to work on cutting down the Omega 6 and replacing those with more Omega 3 fats.
As someone who's complete 4 marathons I do think that eating an anti-inflammatory diet is really really important, because we put so much strain on our joints and anti-inflammatory foods can really help with that. One of the things would be eating lots of fruits and veggies. I know that this is something that we're always preaching about but it's so so important. Fruits and vegetables have a high amount of antioxidants which can help combat inflammation. Another big one would be minimizing those refined carbohydrates, so the white pastas, the white rice. We want to try and switch those to the whole grain version. Whole wheat pasta, whole grain rice, quinoa, etc.
Another big one would be saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats and trans fats start the promotion of the inflammatory process in the body. It's okay to have some saturated fats but we want to do is try and eat more of the healthy unsaturated fats. When it comes to choosing meats, minimize your red meat intake a little bit. Choose more poultry, skinless poultry, fish, high in Omega 3s. Those are better choices. Also the pulses, so the dried beans, peas and lentils. Choose more of those vegetarian proteins as well, incorporate that into your diet. Another big one is stay away from those sugar sweetened beverages. It's okay to have them once in a while but they spike your blood sugars and that causes inflammation. Bottom line, try and eat fresh foods and minimize any processed foods, always go for the fresh whole food.
When it comes to supplementation, as a dietitian, I'm all about foods before supplements. That being said, there are some nutrients that we don't always get enough of in our diets. One big one would be vitamin D. We do get vitamin D from the sun. We also get it from milk products, from fish, from eggs, but we tend to not get quite as much as we need. Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory. I recommend taking an additional supplement. That would be about a 1,000 IU per day. Then Omega 3s would be another supplement that you might want to consider taking. If you're not getting those 2 servings of fatty fish a week, so your salmon, your trout, your sardines, if you're not getting 2 servings a week, I would suggest an additional Omega 3 supplement, about 500 mg of Omega 3 per day.