Fever, swelling, redness, unbearable pain – this is what inflammation feels like. Usually, we do not suspect having inflammation until it comes to an acute condition. The truth, however, is that it has been in the tissues for months and years, silently amortizing your joints, arteries, brain, etc. Bad news actually, but it can motivate us to prolong youth by fighting inflammation. For this purpose, science uses nanotechnology, gene therapies, innovative products. The average person has a simple but proven weapon – food. The dignified name of such a lifestyle is anti-inflammatory diet. Its popularity is due to its ease and the expectation that besides the health benefits it helps modeling the body, according to the modern ideal of beauty.
Some factors, such as stress, lack of exercise, heredity, exposure to toxins (for example, passive smoking) may contribute to the occurrence of such chronic inflammation. The choice of healthy diet can help in the fight against these factors.
According to the integrative medicine – a new trend gaining popularity, which relies on a combination of alternative and traditional therapies, anti-inflammatory foods are the best thing you can do for yourself, for your prosperity. Such a life does not require any compromise to the taste of food you eat. All that is required is to stop at the stands for fruits and vegetables, regularly buy nuts and seeds, visit the fish shop, try the spices from the Indian cuisine, advises Dr. Miriam Nelson, director of the Center of physical activity and nutrition at the University of “Tufts” in Boston. Thanks to the foods recommended by her to people with arthritis, they reduced drugs intake and their arms and legs hurt less.
People suffering from painful joints are not the only ones who need help. More and more researchers believe that the weak, invisible chronic inflammation contributes to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, etc. They find more and more evidence that anti-inflammatory compounds in the diet can neutralize the damage. It’s not about the popular understanding of diet as a weight loss tool, but for dietary plan for lifetime. Ultimately, it leads to the same result.
Among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, as well as in vegetable foods, such as flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids are transformed in the body into hormone-like substances that reduce inflammation, explains Dr. Nelson in her specialized publication “Health”. Оmega-6 polyunsaturated fats found in sunflower, corn, and other popular oils, which are only useful under certain conditions, however, facilitate inflammatory processes. Therefore, both should be in balance, i.e. to be present in approximately equal amounts in our food. Unfortunately, physicians believe that omega-6 fats are up to 20 times more than omega-3 in the food that most people consume.
The processed foods that we eat, as well as the absence of healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, are the main culprits for unhealthy organism. The good news is that some fruits – cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mitigate the effect of imbalance. It is believed that their ingredients react against the enzymes which nourish inflammation. Such qualities have most fruits and vegetables due to the beneficial phytochemicals such as quercetin in apples and onions (also present in VemoHerb ® Cichorium), bromelain in pineapple, etc. Even tomatoes which are suspected to strengthen arthritic joint pain, contain about 20 anti-inflammatory compounds.
The fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains are the main weapons recommended against chronic inflammations. And the foods with lots of sugar, refined flour, trans-fats are the enemies of youth and health .
Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the “legislators” of anti-inflammatory diets, outlines the rules – fresh food, varied menu, plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and fast food. The American has created a school based on his methods in his own health center and spread his beliefs through bestsellers and advices for healthy living. He has also written a practical guide to nutrition, which claims to prevent chronic inflammation and age-related metabolic problems, diseases of the heart, joints, brain.
According to the expert, while neutralizing the inflammatory processes in cells this diet stabilizes blood sugar, and provides sufficient vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, fibers, useful phytonutrients.
The largest proportion of his anti-inflammatory diet pyramid is for the vegetables and fruits – 4-5 cups per day. Especially recommended are cruciferous vegetables from the cabbage family – not only the traditional ‘ordinary’ cabbage, but also red, brussels, cauliflower, broccoli.
Followed by cereals and pulses – as less refined as possible, that must be present in moderate portions in each of the meals. The choice is not limited only to brown rice, basmati, wild rice and beans, but the category has been expanded with bulgur, barley, millet, buckwheat and more exotic quinoa, amaranth, whose. A special place occupy durum-wheat pasta, recommended al dente – nicely elastic because pulping are absorbed faster and can’t act as a regulator of blood sugar. On the next level of the pyramid are nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils recommended in small but regular doses 3-5 times per day.
Followed by fish and sea food.
Up the pyramid narrows and thus illustrates how each food group should occupy a smaller share in the daily menu. Dr. Weil leaves a “floor” for Asian mushrooms, from which most familiar for us are shiitake and maitake.
Then, foods with quality proteins – moderate daily intake of yogurt or cheese, eggs (3-5 per week) or whole soy products such as grains and sprouts, less frequently is the specific tofu. Further up, as valuable even in small quantities are garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, chili.
3 levels below the top are green and black tea, healthy fats like olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocados followed by the necessary dietary supplements.
Just before the last floor is a glass of red wine per day. And on top triumphs a bar of dark chocolate with the smallest share of consumption.