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Complementary Medicine

Is Anti-inflammatory Diet a Good Alternative to Singulair?

09/11/2002

Question:

As an alternative to Singulair tablets, can I keep my leukotrienes down with a vegan diet which includes two tablespoons of ground flax seeds per day, keeping the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats at about 1:1, and keeping my saturated fat intake down to about 6 grams per day? I would prefer to not eat cold water fish, but will, if I have to. Thank you.

Answer:

There is some literature to support the use of an anti-inflammatory diet for a whole host of inflammatory conditions including asthma. I strongly recommend this type of diet for everyone. I believe as more evidence continues to surface, this will be the wave of the future! An anti-inflammatory diet includes: 1)Eliminating meat, dairy products, butter, and even margarine because of their pro-inflammatory fats. Most processed foods are also high in these fats. 2)Increase sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, which include flax seeds (freshly ground, or in a supplement which must be refrigerated)1.5-4 grams per day, cold water fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, bluefish, and halibut) as often as possible (farm-raised if possible to decrease the chances of mercury ingestion), fish oil supplements 1.5-4 grams per day. 3)Increasing fruits and vegetables to 8-10 servings per day. These are rich in antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. 4)Supplements such as vitamin C 500mg twice daily, vitamin E 400-800 iu per day, and selenium 200-300 micrograms per day should be included for their anti-oxidant effect, and difficulty consuming in a regular diet. 

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University