Anti-Inflammatory And IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating – Healthy Diet & Foods

by Sherry Riter in Cooking  ,Food,Health,Self-Development  

Please don’t be obstinate about changing foods in your diet in order to improve your health. Why the plea? Well, my mother stubbornly sticks to unhealthy eating and sleeping habits, then wonders why she doesn’t feel really good. My father was the same way! It drives me nuts! Yes, “I’m telling” on my mother! Since she won’t listen to me, I thought I would try to help you instead.

The Nitty Gritty Of Inflammation

inflammation broken foot leg cast 2If you have broken a bone or sprained an ankle, inflammation isn’t a stranger. After those injuries occur, there is usually a whole bunch of swelling because the body immediately starts trying to repair the damage with the release of chemicals into the blood or the tissue that has been hurt. The chemicals increase the blood flow to the hurt tissue and that is why it often turns red and gets very warm to the touch. The chemicals that have been released also leak fluid to the hurt tissue which is why the area swells. All that swelling messes with the nerves and then there is pain too.

Inflammation can occur in more ways that are less apparent than a huge sprained ankle and some are life threatening. The following are some of the problems that are linked with inflammation in the body:

  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Myocarditis (Inflammation of the heart)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bronchiolitis (Inflammation of the small tubes that transport air to the lungs)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nephritis (Inflammation of the kidneys)
  • Asthma
  • Acne vulgaris (cystic acne or simple acne)
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Lupus
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Celiac disease (digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten)
  • Hypersensitivities
  • Polymyositis (Inflammation of the muscles)
  • Transplant rejection
  • Chronic prostatitis (chronic pelvic pain syndrome)
  • Periodontitis (inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth)
  • Fibromyalgia (long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues)
  • Prostate disease
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • Iritis or Uveitis (Inflammation of the eye )
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries)

Extended inflammation, also known as chronic inflammation, is destructive to the body. This long term inflammation is the cause of muscle loss that occurs with aging. In chronic inflammation, the body turns on itself and damages good tissue because the body becomes confused as to what is abnormal and what is good. Confused cells are not a good thing!

white blood cells fighting each other

Long term inflammation can also cause havoc by depositing proteins in the organs and tissues. Too many proteins can lead to problems such as multiple myeloma which is a cancer of plasma cells – a type of white blood cell that is normally responsible for producing antibodies. White blood cells are the good cells that fight the bad stuff. See the catch 22 here?

Feeling like you are in health or science class yet? If so, that’s okay! If you can understand this aspect of YOUR body, you can IMPROVE your health SHORT and LONG TERM. I promise that this post will not be boring.

IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating

The IF Rating is the Inflammation Factor Rating. The IF Rating is a measurement of the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects of food on the body. Chronic inflammation is not good and there are some foods that can help reduce inflammation. So if you eat foods that help reduce inflammation, you will improve your health. It is like a permission slip to eat!!! Yay!

The IF Rating was created by Monica Reinagel and was introduced in 2006 in her book, The Inflammation Free Diet Plan. Monica states that:

“Foods with IF Ratings between 1 and 100 are considered to have mild anti-inflammatory effects. Ratings between 101 and 500 indicate increasingly potent anti-inflammatory actions. Foods that have ratings over 500 are strongly anti-inflammatory.”

“On the other end of the scale, foods that have ratings between -1 and -100 are mildly inflammatory. Foods with ratings between -101 and -500 are increasingly inflammatory, and those with ratings of -500 and lower are considered high inflammatory.”

The Inflammation Free Diet Plan book has sample meal plans and recipes using the IF rating system. There are also tables of IF ratings for 1,500 foods.

Using a formula based on 20 variables, each food has been given a IF rating. Interested in comparing some IF ratings?

inflammation factor rates vegetables talking

IF Rated Foods

I will make a public confession that I love food and everything to do with food. There is nothing more pleasurable than playing with food and eating it. Well, there’s almost nothing more pleasurable than food, but food is way up there at the top of the list. However, I want to be healthy, so I’m always looking for ways to improve my eating habits.

Let me show you the IF ratings of several foods. I’ve listed the foods in a 200 calorie serving from good to not very good for your health in terms of reducing inflammation in the body. The food at the top of the list will reduce inflammation and the foods at the bottom of the list will cause inflammation.
Thumbs Up - Foods that reduce inflammation
Reduce Inflammation (most to least)

    IF Rating: 60860 Pepper, serrano, raw
    IF Rating: 43611 Sauce, ready-to-serve, pepper, TABASCO
    IF Rating: 18790 Spices, garlic powder
    IF Rating: 15889 Spices, ginger, ground
    IF Rating: 14079 Ginger root, raw
    IF Rating: 12745 Spices, turmeric, ground
    IF Rating: 2521 Chives, raw
    IF Rating: 2252 Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 2000 Turnip greens, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 1901 Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw
    IF Rating: 1882 Lettuce, cos or romaine, raw  
    IF Rating: 1534 Collards, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 1490 Basil, fresh
    IF Rating: 1453 Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw
    IF Rating: 1210 Fish, salmon, coho (silver), raw (Alaska Native)
    IF Rating: 965 Carrots, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
    IF Rating: 690 Asparagus, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
    IF Rating: 634 Fish, tuna, white, canned in water, drained solids
    IF Rating: 600 Vegetables, mixed (corn, lima beans, peas, green beans, carrots) canned, no salt added
    IF Rating: 453 Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 420 Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, without salt
    IF Rating: 340 Spices, parsley, dried
    IF Rating: 316 Brussels sprouts, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 290 Spices, thyme, dried
    IF Rating: 265 Cabbage, common, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 254 Melons, cantaloupe, raw
    IF Rating: 228 Crustaceans, crab, blue, crab cakes
    IF Rating: 217 Pickles, cucumber, sour
    IF Rating: 199 Spices, oregano, dried
    IF Rating: 163 Celery, raw
    IF Rating: 156 Pineapple, raw, all varieties
    IF Rating: 143 Cauliflower, raw
    IF Rating: 140 Lettuce, iceberg, raw 
    IF Rating: 120 Papayas, raw  
    IF Rating: 119 Oil, olive, salad or cooking
    IF Rating: 115 Strawberries, raw
    IF Rating: 114 Oil, canola for salads, woks and light frying
    IF Rating: 113 Seeds, chia seeds, dried IF Rating: 113 
    IF Rating: 105 Okra, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
    IF Rating: 102 Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average
    IF Rating: 102 Peas, edible-podded, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt (Snow peas, Sugar snap peas)
    IF Rating: 54 Peanut butter, chunky, vitamin and mineral fortified
    IF Rating: 43 Beef, chuck, separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, all grades, cooked, braised
    IF Rating: 39 Ham, sliced, extra lean
    IF Rating: 37 Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas
    IF Rating: 35 Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, rotisserie

Thumbs Down - Foods that increase inflammation
Increase Inflammation (least to most)

    IF Rating: -51 Bananas, raw
    IF Rating: -64 Yogurt, fruit variety, nonfat
    IF Rating: -145 Cereals ready-to-eat, wheat and bran, pre-sweetened with nuts and fruits
    IF Rating: -144 Cake, pound, commercially prepared, butter
    IF Rating: -144 Cookies, oatmeal, prepared from recipe, without raisins
    IF Rating: -143 Crackers, saltines, unsalted tops (includes oyster, soda, soup)
    IF Rating: -149 Bagels, cinnamon-raisin
    IF Rating: -148 Rice, white, long-grain, regular, cooked, enriched, with salt
    IF Rating: -153 Macaroni, protein-fortified, dry, enriched, (n x 5.70)
    IF Rating: -151 Soup, wonton, Chinese restaurant
    IF Rating: -155 Turkey, young hen, breast, meat and skin, cooked, roasted
    IF Rating: -155 Rice, white, short-grain, cooked
    IF Rating: -162 Spaghetti, protein-fortified, dry, enriched
    IF Rating: -172 Wheat flour, white, bread, enriched IF Rating: -172
    IF Rating: -177 Pancakes, plain, dry mix, complete (includes buttermilk)
    IF Rating: -191Vegetable oil, coconut
    IF Rating: -206 Cake, sponge, prepared from recipe
    IF Rating: -212 Cranberries, dried, sweetened
    IF Rating: -226 Raisins, seedless
    IF Rating: -226 Jams and preserves
    IF Rating: -244 Syrups, table blends, pancake, with butter
    IF Rating: -268 Sugars, brown
    IF Rating: -270 Sugars, powdered
    IF Rating: -337 Coffee and cocoa (mocha) powder, with whitener and low calorie sweetener
    IF Rating: -365 Chewing gum, sugarless
    IF Rating: -370 Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered

Don’t you think the IF rating is intriguing information?

Eating fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids is important to combat inflammation. Unless you eat at least four servings of fish a week, you should take a fish oil supplement. Spices such as cayenne, ginger and tumeric are also additions to your diet, but like fish oil, they can also be taken in supplement form. Bromelain, an enzyme found in fresh pineapple, can also be taken as a supplement and also aids in healing.

These supplements decrease blood coagulation, so if you take a blood thinner, check with your doctor before starting this supplement regimen. If you don’t take blood thinners and start the supplements and diet rich with high IF (Inflammation Factor) rated foods, you should notice a difference in your health within a few weeks. I’m sure relief from skin allergies, painful joints and asthma sounds like a wonderful thing to many people!

By the way, reducing the inflammation in your body also smooths fine lines and wrinkles while rejuvenating your skin’s appearance. How’s that for a big plus on aging gracefully?!

doughnut exercising inflammation factor rating

The Dirty Word – Exercise

Regular physical activity is reported to decrease inflammation. There is just no escaping the need to exercise! Although initially starting an exercise routine while having something like rheumatoid arthritis may be uncomfortable and even painful (depending on your pain tolerance), the long term effects of exercising is worth the effort it takes to exercise through the discomfort.

Think of it like this…When you awaken in the morning, rather than getting up, if you were to stay in the bed for a solid week, how do you think you would feel? Yeah, I know my back would ache and my muscles would feel weak. As we get older, it is necessary to move around often to keep the body (the awesome machine) working properly (oiled and lubricated) and healthy.

My Final Thought

Since it has become abundantly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses and diseases, it only makes sense that we should pay attention to the foods that can help us stay healthier. Not only will a diet rich in high rated IF foods provide steady energy, but it will also give us the vitamins, minerals and all the other things that will assist us in gaining optimal health.

I wish you good health and raise my glass to say “Cheers!”

Umm…By the way, my healthy water recipe is in our toasting glasses. Soda and alcohol is not good for us!



This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mom August 26, 2012 at 12:59 am

Wow! How wonderful it is to have a child who blogs to the world her mothers stubborn points!! Well, I am not giving up my Coke, Diet Coke or Mr. Pibb every now and then. I am not giving up my toast for breakfast with jelly or apple butter on it. I gave up all fried foods, french fries, fried potatoes, stewed potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes and pork chops {HMMMM}.

I do hurt like h____, but you have to draw the line somewhere. FISH—yucky! You know I want nothing that crawls, leaps, slithers, swims, jumps and comes out of the ocean!!!!

So, here I am. Stubborn. Yep!!! No, I am sorry, but this is life. I have given up nearly everything I love and now you ask me to give the rest up. You want me to eat creepy things out of the sea, live with out bread {the staff of life}, sugar, ice cream, jelly, apple butter and toast. Not happening until I cannot chew or swallow! lol

I can see your next blog—-What stubborn gets you – a hobbling old dame who puts her lettuce in the freezer, her fresh chicken salad in the cabinet with all the stackable containers that holds the salad, and and goes on the patio to get her Coke. lol Pitiful isn’t it? lol


2 The Redhead Riter August 26, 2012 at 2:20 am

Yes, you are STUBBORN. Giving up those things will allow you to enjoy life better because you will be healthier and FEEL better. You would hurt less! Surely you can see the logic?!

Honestly, after a couple months, you don’t crave the soda anymore. I feel so much better since I quit drinking all sodas and drink water all day instead. I guess I will do a post on the bad points of drinking soda. By the way, Alyssa doesn’t drink soda either. We are a water family. LOL 😀 😛


3 Skip_D August 26, 2012 at 6:23 am

Very interesting! Considering how much fish I eat, & how many of those amazingly high-rated spices, it’s no wonder I’m in relatively good shape, despite those things on the bad end of the spectrum that I allow myself to indulge in! 🙂 I love everything on the high end of the list. I use garlic, ginger, turmeric & olive oil – or at least 1-2 of them – on most things that I cook. Of course, I can’t imagine giving up my strong, dark, unsweetened black coffee… sometimes seasoned with cardamom… yummmmmmm! Now if I can just stop being such a desk jockey, face the heat & humidity, & get some exercise… but that’s another story! 😀

hmmmmmmm… sardines, or kippers, for breakfast??? 😛


4 The Redhead Riter August 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

LOL No sardines for me especially for breakfast! Ewww. I do often eat fish for breakfast. YUM! 😀

I use those spices on the high end all the time too AND I don’t drink coffee 😛 LOL


5 mark bruno October 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

Long term inflammation can also cause havoc by depositing proteins in the organs and tissues. Too many proteins can lead to problems such as multiple myeloma


6 Sherry Riter October 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

You are totally correct, Mark. Multiple Myeloma is cancer that starts in the plasma cells in our bone marrow. There are many different kinds of cancers and I lumped them all together in the second item on my list as just cancer because they are all affected by inflammation. Of course, if you have been reading my blog for long, you know that my dad passed away from cancer rather quickly and it was a horrible sadness. Cancer is such a terrible disease.

Thanks for your comment today.


7 April Loper April 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Thank you so very much for this detailed, colorful and understandable information ; )


8 Sherry Riter April 19, 2013 at 6:40 am

You’re welcome!!! 😀


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