Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eating For Your Health

For those of us dealing with chronic inflammation, it’s important to recognize and understand that what we put in our bodies has everything to do with how we feel. Eliminating processed foods along with consuming more whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, along with foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, allows the body to become more balanced. The "anti-inflammatory diet" uses the right combination of these fats, carbohydrates and proteins to keep inflammation in check.

I recently came across Dr. Weil’s Anti Inflammatory Food Pyramid. (Notice that at the top of this pyramid is dark chocolate and red wine...I knew I liked Dr. Weil, but I also have to remind myself that just because it's at the top, does not mean it should be consumed in that order.) According to this pyramid, you should eat approximately 40 to 50 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent of your calories from fats, and 20-30 percent from protein. He encourages you to eat brightly colored foods (kale, watermelon, blueberries, summer squash etc…) that are rich in phytonutrients, which are nutrients found only in plant based foods and have been shown to reduce inflammation.

Here are some examples of healthy, inflammation reducing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins…

Carbohydrates: Basmati rice, wild rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, brown rice pasta, lentils, beans, along with raw vegetables and fresh fruits

Fats: olive oil, canola oil, nut oils (such as walnut oil), nuts such as walnuts and almonds, avocados, hemp seeds and flax seeds and flax seed oil that can be added as a supplement to a salad, or smoothie…

Proteins: Edamame, soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, salmon, mackarel, sardines, quinoa is also rich in carbohydrates and protein. There are also hemp, pea, rice, or soy protein powders available to add to your morning smoothie. One I use almost every morning is Vega’s Whole Food Smoothie Infusion.

Remember: This is not simply a “diet”…This is a lifestyle change. Making the time to plan your meals and eating healthy as well as mindfully is a necessary step to guarantee your success!

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