You probably already have a good idea about the ways you can go about reducing your inflammatory status with anti-inflammatory foods.
But, you have probably also heard about the glycemic index—abbreviated “GI” that many people use to lose weight and control diabetes.
The good news is…ready?…the good news is that using low GI index foods can ALSO help your inflammatory levels because lower GI foods tend to be the ones that ARE the anti-inflammatory foods.
For example, using Harvard University’s chart of GI and Glycemic Loads for over 100 foods, pearled barley (a whole, relatively unprocessed food) has a GI of 28 and quinoa (a whole grain) has a GI of 53. Compare that with cooked white rice (processed to remove the brownish covering off the rice). The GI of cooked white rice is 89 while the GI of brown rice is 50. Pearled barley, quinoa and brown rice are all anti-inflammatory foods. White rice isn’t.
To give another example, the bread that many of us grew up with, Wonder Bread has a GI of 73. Pumpernickel bread (made from unbleached flour) has a GI of 56. At this point, you probably won’t be too surprised that white bread is inflammatory and pumpernickel bread is much less of an inflammatory food.
So, should you use the GI to choose your anti-inflammatory foods? Well, yes and no. Yes, because for the most part, foods with a high GI tend to be inflammatory. No, because, some fruit tends to have a relatively high GI (peaches have a GI of 56, pineapples have a GI of 66 and bananas have a GI of 70) and you DO want to eat your fruit! What you may want to do is use a combination of the information in Diseaseless and the GI, particularly if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
You should also know that the GI can be affected by how you cook your food and how you garnish your food. Cooking for longer times can increase the GI because cooking can increase the breakdown of the large carbohydrates in various foods. If you use sour cream or some type of ranch dressing on a baked potato, you have to consider the GI of that sour cream or ranch dressing.
Remember also that different lists will give different values for the GI of various foods. Sometimes this depends on different ways of measuring, how ripe the fruit is, the form of the food and how much of the food makes a serving. The best way is to use the information in Diseaseless and the GI as guidelines for healthier eating.