Let’s get something out of the way right away: You should do all things in life in moderation, including drinking alcohol and eating your favorite chocolaty snacks. Now, onto the news.
A recent study found that people who adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet live longer than those who forgo such foods. The study said these foods include fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and nuts, in addition to chocolate and, yes, even some wine and beer — consumed in moderation.
Foods that are pro-inflammatory include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips and sugary soft drinks.
The study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, followed more than 68,000 Swedes of both sexes between the ages of 45 and 83 for 16 years. All were quizzed about their normal diets. Over the course of the study, about 16,000 participants passed away.
The anti-inflammatory diet lowered the risk of death from all causes by 18 percent compared with the pro-inflammatory group. Their risk of death by cardiovascular disease was 20 percent lower, and death from cancer was reduced by 13 percent.
Smokers who adhered to an anti-inflammatory diet particularly benefited when compared with smokers who didn’t. They were a third less likely to die during the study.
Anti-inflammatory foods are rich in antioxidants, molecules mostly found in plants that can prevent cell damage.
So as Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, said many moons ago, “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”
And chocolate is good medicine any day of the week. Just don’t tell your dentist.