I've written about how sugar contributes to inflammation of the heart. But there’s actually more to the inflammation equation. There’s also an important connection between inflammation, weight gain, and a hormone called leptin.
Leptin regulates your body’s level of fat by controlling your appetite and metabolism. So, as you add more fat tissue, your body produces more leptin. In healthy people, the production of additional leptin signals the brain to suppress appetite and speed up metabolism—leading these people to feel less hunger, burn more calories, and lose the excess fat.
The problem is that chronic inflammation impairs the brain’s ability to receive leptin’s appetite-suppressing message. The good news is that by eating foods to reduce inflammation will not only improve your heart health, but it will also improve your body’s responsiveness to leptin. When that happens, you reduce inflammation which makes it far easier to take off unwanted pounds.
How to Reduce Inflammation
- Enjoy Often: leafy greens and other colorful vegetables; lentils; berries; citrus fruits; low-fat dairy products; “hot” spices like garlic, ginger, chili peppers and curry; wild-caught fish; lean cuts of red meat such as pork, beef and buffalo; and olive oil. Olive oil has also been shown in major studies to reduce the impact of pro-inflammatory genes on the body. I personally take four tablespoons of olive oil daily.
- Eat in Moderation: whole grains, beans, tropical fruits, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, white potatoes, cheeses.
- Limit or Avoid: organ meats; veal; high-fat dairy; farmed fish; margarine and shortening; vegetable oils; refined flours and sugar; fatty and fried foods.
Another tip for reducing inflammation is to season your foods with cinnamon, which contains the antioxidant cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde reduces arterial inflammation, as well as blood clots.