The NUTRIENT study evaluates the effects of an anti-inflammatory diet among participants who have been diagnosed with an MPN. Studies indicate that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, particular herbs and spices, certain types of meats and oils, and herbal teas may reduce inflammation in the body. For individuals who have an MPN, this inflammation drives the disease course. Our hope is that altering the balance of inflammation in the body may help individuals to feel better and ultimately change the course of the disease by reducing the risk of blood clots, abnormal blood counts, and spleen size changes.
During this study, participants are asked to follow the Mediterranean diet, with foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Although few nutrition experts agree on what exactly can be eaten in an anti-inflammatory diet, these diets generally contain the following items:
Foods that are generally avoided in the diet included processed or simple carbohydrates (including breads and potatoes), red meats (in excess), and sugared sweets. Use herbs and spices to flavor food and help cut down on salt.
If you are interested in an anti-inflammatory diet, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Aim for a diet rich in a fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. Different fruits and vegetables provide different anti-inflammatory nutrients, so variety is key. Vegetables and fruits should make up the bulk of an anti-inflammatory diet, with two or three servings of each per day.
- Lean proteins like fish and beans help reduce saturated fat intake while providing a source of good fats like omega-3s. Eat beans and seafood three or four times per week each, and limit red meat to once or twice per week.
- Replace processed or simple carbohydrates with whole grains, such as whole-wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, and brown rice.
- Cook with olive oil instead of vegetable oil or butter.
- Good snack options include a handful of nuts, fruit or vegetables, Greek-style yogurt, and whole-grain crackers with hummus or nut butter.
- Focus on fresh fruits for dessert, and be careful to limit sugars and artificial sweeteners.
- Beverages such as red wine, herbal teas, milks, and juices are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients. Stay hydrated by drinking several glasses of water per day.
And don't worry, you can still eat out on the Mediterranean diet! Opt for a salad as your starter, then order the fish or seafood option as your main course. Ask if the chef can cook your food with olive oil. Choose whole-grain bread and use olive oil instead of butter. For dessert, avoid pastries and look for fruit-focused dishes like sorbets instead.