THE MOST IMPORTANT NUTRITIONAL TRUTH
Inflammation in our bodies is everywhere because it is our body’s way of fighting infection or injury but an exceptionally high amount of inflammation brought on by genetics, environmental toxins, stress, and most importantly poor dietary habits can wreak havoc with our arteries, joints, muscles and organs. It destroys tissues, ages us prematurely and increases risks for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. The American diet is pro-inflammation, not anti-inflammation. We eat processed, nutrient-empty calories loaded with unhealthy fats because they’re cheap and available. Our favorite vegetable is the fried potato and our love affair with quick-digesting sugars and flours is leading to nationwide obesity and rising health costs. These low nutrient dense foods create more inflammation in our bodies leading to excess insulin production and subsequent fat production and storage. Not a healthy picture.
The anti-inflammatory diet pyramid above is based on the Mediterranean diet and was created by Dr. Andrew Weil, the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. (His website is drweil.com and the pyramid can be found here.) He is an expert in longevity studies and authored several bestselling books including Healthy Aging, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Healing. Along with Sam Fox, he founded True Food Kitchen restaurants. Upon a recommendation from my health foodie niece who lives in Newport Beach CA, my sisters and I dined at True Food restaurant last February. WE LOVED IT!!!
Eating anti-inflammation foods is what it’s all about.
* Starting with colorful fruits and vegetables in all their dazzling nutrient density; these gems should make up the majority of your plate.
* Glorious whole grains add dimension, fiber and nutrients for good digestive health. These should make up at least one-third of your plate. We earn more of these carbohydrate-rich foods as we stay active every day!
* The pyramid adds an entire row of heart healthy fats like nuts and seeds, avocado, and life-giving olive oil to be eaten with every meal.
* Small amounts of lean proteins come mostly from fish (Wild Alaska salmon, sardines, shrimp), soy products (tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame), beans/lentils and low-fat dairy products (Greek yogurt, feta and Parmesan cheese).
* Health-promoting spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric as well as my personal favorite, dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) add more anti-inflammatory properties to our diet.
All in all the main thing is to avoid processed, refined, manufactured foods and opt for whole, unprocessed foods most of the time. My food blog entries will mirror the anti-inflammatory diet pyramid as much as possible.
Let’s have fun!