Chronic inflammation is linked to America’s deadliest diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and cancer. Ongoing research is looking into how high-fat foods and obesity increase the risk for these fatal disorders. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury to the body, including outside irritants. When these injuries or irritants continue, the immune system can spin out of control and keep inflammation on the high setting. There are drugs, such as immunosuppressants and pain killers to fight inflammation, but there are side-effects. New studies are looking into natural (I call rational) remedies, including foods. Researchers are looking into whether a diet high in omega-3 fats reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and cuts the risk of colorectal cancers. Another study gave patients 3 & 1/2 servings of dairy a day had reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure, compared with a group getting half that amount. Also, a new study found that consuming more dietary fiber reduced the levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Beans, whole grains, fruits and veges were included in this group. Dietary fiber also lowered insulin resistance, helpful in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes. While the findings are preliminary, there seems to be hope on the horizon.

Green beans are good for you. Low in calories and rich in antioxidants including flavonoids and carotenoids, as well as good amounts of vitamins A and C. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of green beans have been highlighted in studies such as the June 24, 2010 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Green beans are also a good source of absorbable dietary silicon, an important mineral in connective tissue and bone health, according to the September 2009 British Journal of Nutrition. Also called snap beans or string beans, I like them sautéed with garlic and a little soy sauce-had some last night as a matter of fact. There is a good article on green beans in the August 2012 journal Environmental Nutrition.

Don’t have time for a 30 minute workout? Try turning the stairs at your home or work into your own personal gym. Or, take a walk around a park and use the playground equipment. I do pull-ups, step ups, step downs, push-ups, side-to-side mini jumps, etc. Be imaginative-it’s good for your brain, too.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.