Welcome health fans! Today I’d like to present Dr. Weil’s non-inflammatory way of eating. Note that this is not a diet to be done temporarily as a means to an end, but more of a lifestyle choice. The goal is to decrease inflammation in the body because although inflammation can be beneficial when we are injured, it is dangerous when it becomes a persistent or chronic condition. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be associated with heart disease and cancer. In relation to heart disease, it can cause coronary blockage, and a heart attack. We’ve been told for years to keep our cholesterol down to avoid the buildup of plaque in our arteries, but scientist now believe that inflammation plays just as important a role as cholesterol and plaque.  Many other diseases are also associated with inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, MS, lupus, emphysema, and gingivitis are all inflammatory diseases. Indeed, any disease with a name ending with “itis” is an inflammatory disease. A few examples are: bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, hepatitis, and colitis. 
Now that we’ve covered the dangers of chronic inflammation, let’s discuss how to minimize it. The major causes of chronic inflammation are:
1. Our genes
2. The food we eat, particularly saturated fats
3. Lack of sleep
4. Lack of exercise
5. Polluted air and water
7. High cholesterol
Some of these items are in our control, like our diet, and Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet is described here: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02012/anti-inflammatory-diet.
I’d like to call out a couple of salient points that he makes:
Regarding Healthy Sweets (my downfall!)
Healthy choices: Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
Why: Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.
Please note that one sweetener that is present in many processed foods is high fructose corn syrup, likely from GMO corn (which we covered in a previous post). See this post for the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, which Big Food has taken to the airwaves to dispute. Don’t believe the glossy ads because their only concern is profits and not your health:
Regarding Cooked Asian Mushrooms
Healthy choices: Shiitake, enokidake,maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
Why: These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello). This part was news to me!
Regarding Pasta (al dente)
Healthy choices: Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
Why: Pasta cooked al dente (when it has “tooth” to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels which could lead to inflammation.
The bad for this week: BPA
Here are ways to limit your exposure to bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is likely present in plastic food containers that are not labeled otherwise. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it upsets the balance of hormones within the human body which can lead to a variety of health problems. Learn more here: http://naturalsociety.com/4-simple-ways-limit-bpa-exposure/
One big take away message is to always avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. There are plenty of good glass food containers available these days.
The ugly for this week: Crooks in the EPA
Craziness now in the EPA, you know, those people tasked with protecting us and stuff.
That wraps it up for today! Thanks for joining me and please feel free to share any comments!
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