Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The aim:

Optimum mental and physical health, along with disease prevention.
The claim:

Chronic inflammation causes chronic disease. Reducing inflammation prevents age-related disease and promotes overall wellness.

The theory:

Developed by Andrew Weil, the Harvard-educated doctor and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, this diet reflects Weil’s belief that certain foods cause or combat systemic inflammation. Unlike the redness or swelling that occurs when your body fights a chronic or low-grade infection, inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Stress, environmental toxins, physical activity and diet all play a role in one’s inflammatory state, Weil says. His diet aims to boost physical and mental health, provide a steady supply of energy and reduce the risk of age-related diseases by serving up healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, lots of water and limited amounts of animal protein – except when it comes to oily fish.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is based on a daily intake of 2,000 to 3,000 calories, depending on your gender, size, and activity level. About 40 to 50 percent of your calories will come from carbs, 30 percent from fat and 20 to 30 percent from protein. Weil suggests striving for a mix of all three nutrients at each meal.

It’s based on the Mediterranean diet, Weil says, with a few extras such as green tea and dark chocolate. The program calls for a variety of fresh foods, with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables, which Weil says provide phytonutrients that fight cancer and other degenerative diseases. In addition, he recommends routine consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding fast and fried foods at all costs.

The guidelines get more specific by dietary component. For example, when it comes to carbs, you want the kind that will keep your blood sugar low and stable. Toward that end, opt for less processed foods, filling up on healthy carbs such as whole grains, beans, squashes and berries.
You’ll cut down on saturated fat, which is found in butter, cream and fatty meats, and steer clear of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oils. Instead, your dietary fat will come from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. The plan stresses substantial intake of omega-3s from cold-water fish such as wild salmon, sardines and herring. If you’re not eating oily fish twice a week, Weil recommends a daily fish oil supplement that includes EPA and DHA. Protein sources include fish, yogurt, cheese and beans, especially soybeans.

You’ll aim for a variety of colorful produce, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens. Whenever possible, choose organic to avoid pesticides. Weil suggests drinking only purified water to avoid toxins such as chlorine and chloramine. Opt for tea over coffee, particularly the white, green and oolong varieties. He also permits plain dark chocolate (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent), which contains antioxidants, and red wine, in moderation, which has been linked to cardiovascular health.

Weil takes a holistic approach to wellness, and exercise is part of his overall regimen. Although it’s not explicitly outlined in this diet, Weil encourages it for physical and mental health. Walking is one of the best exercises, because it boosts bone, organ and immune health, he says, but he also plugs the benefits of yoga, belly dancing and tai chi

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