As we have already learned from our last two articles on the subject, inflammation can be a blessing and a curse. In its ideal form, the acute inflammatory response protects you by producing more white blood cells and releasing infection fighting cytokines to the area of an injury. It is easy to recognize by its classic signs: redness, heat, and swelling. In its worst form, chronic inflammation is invisible, happening inside of your body and driving serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer.
There are many therapies available to fight chronic inflammation, but this chapter in our series is going to focus on one method that is easily put to work by most people, without the need for much outside help:
Fighting Chronic Inflammation With a Healthy Diet.
When planning an anti-inflammatory menu, make sure you are including a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your meals, while making certain you are also consuming enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber, to meet your body’s needs. And, of course, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
There are many trendy diets out there, but one in particular is considered the best for people trying to control their chronic inflammation and that is the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is based on typical foods eaten by people in countries such as Italy and Greece, around the 1960’s. Research showed that these people were exceptionally healthy and had a far lower risk of lifestyle related diseases.
The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle diet that encourages socialization associated with cooking and eating, but if you are looking to improve your health by simply eating better, it is wise to follow these guidelines:
1) Plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
2) A moderate amount of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
3) An occassional serving of red meat.
1) Added sugar: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
2) Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
3) Trans fats: Found in margarine and most processed foods.
4) Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil.
5) Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, etc..
6) Highly processed foods: Anything labeled “low-fat” or “diet” that is pre-packaged.
Highly recommended foods:
Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers.
Fruits: Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas.
Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams.
Looking for a local place to get fresh Mediterranean food with organic and farm to table options? We recommend Greektown Taverna at the corner of Nova Road and Granada, in Ormond Beach.
Still feeling nervous about going out, but craving Greektown’s delicious specialities? Try this recipe for the simplest, most delicious hummus you will ever taste!
- 1/2 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for garnishing)
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed and roughly chopped
- 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Blend tahini and olive oil in a food processor.
- Add the garlic, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth. The longer you blend in the food processor, the smoother the hummus will be. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste.
- Spoon into serving dish, swirl a little olive oil over the top and sprinkle with garnishes—a little paprika, toasted pine nuts, or chopped fresh parsley.
To toast pita bread, cut the pita bread into triangles, brush with olive oil and toast for 10 minutes in a 375°F oven, turning them over half-way through the cooking.
If you want more information on how to combat chronic inflammation now, give us a call at (386) 310-4884, and we will help you on your journey to the better, pain free life you deserve.