There is constantly new research being published about what we should and should not eat. Eating well is not always easy. But I hope this article will make it simple. Food is the fuel we put in our bodies. Discovering the best form of fuel and then consistently using it is the key to increased energy, vitality and longevity.
Research has shown that many of the age related diseases as well as much of the normal process of aging is triggered by inflammation. Much of heart disease and cancer is felt to be related to abnormal inflammation if the coronary arteries and cells are inflamed. Diet can influence this inflammation. The food choices we make can kick us into a pro-inflammatory state or an anti-inflammatory state. Knowing which foods trigger inflammation will arm us with the education needed to avoid them and possibly prevent some age related diseases.
The three main components of any diet are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. There are specific guidelines to follow in our consumption of each component that can help us to decrease the level of inflammation in our system. The two diets most commonly linked to increased health, vitality and longevity are the Japanese diet and the Mediterranean diet. These diets follow the anti-inflammatory theme with inclusion of fish, lots of vegetables, no processed foods and very little red meat. Dr. Andrew Weil discusses this diet extensively in his book Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being
The following rules will help you to avoid unhealthy fats that lead to inflammation:
- Never eat products with partially hydrogenated oil
- Don’t use vegetable shortening
- Do not eat margarine. Use butter or olive oil
- Avoid fried foods in restaurants
- Minimize the use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn or sesame oil
- Never heat oils so they smoke
- Use extra virgin olive oil
To choose healthy carbohydrates do the following:
- Know the glycemic index for foods and gravitate towards those with a low glycemic index. This means less bread, potatoes, crackers, chips and pastries and more grains, beans and vegetables.
- Eat less refined and processed food
- Eat less fast food
- Eat fewer things made with white flour
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup
To ingest protein that does not promote inflammation do the following:
- Eat less meat
- Eat more vegetable protein like soy, beans. Whole grains, seeds and nuts
- Eat fish that is low in toxins
It’s amazing how much better you feel eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Not only will it help you to live longer. It will help you to stay more vital and looking younger as well.