Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness.
“Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
These words have been often repeated by so many people but not practiced enough. Nutrition is a science and not a belief system. Medical Nutrition Therapy is an evidence-based medical approach to treat certain chronic conditions with nutritional diagnosis, therapy and counselling.
Currently, it is considered a supportive therapy along with modern medicine. But Nutrition is so dynamic that, if practiced in the right way, it is capable of even reversing certain cardiometabolic diseases. A feat which is yet not achieved by modern medicine.
An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases. Inflammation is now understood to be at the center of a wide range of conditions, from heart disease and hypertension to obesity and diabetes; from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to depression, cancer and arthritis. In fact, research shows that all chronic disease has a significant inflammatory component.
The major cause of silent inflammation is the result of the changes that have occurred in our food supply over the past fifty years.
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. The most powerful drug you can consume is the food you eat each day.
Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. By consistently picking the wrong ones, you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
The key is to create a physiological state in which the hormones (especially insulin) influenced by the diet are kept in ranges consistent with optimal health. The goal is to keep insulin levels less than 5 mU/ml.
Anti-inflammatory diets include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices.
Steps to follow an anti-inflammatory diet:
- Eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.
- Eat a diet low in carbohydrates and high in vegetables and fat.
- Eat only healthy fat, and no transfats.
- Eat fish three times a week.
- Eat organic as often as possible.
- Eat nuts at least three times a week.
- Avoid wheat and dairy products.
- Eat plenty of salads and vegetables.
- Drink at least 8 glasses water per day.
- Don’t heat plant oils, instead use mustard, ghee or coconut oil to cook.
- Use spices such as turmeric, cumin and garlic
- Eat plenty of fermented foods
- Stay away from modern inflammatory diet and foods such as processed meat, sugary drinks, gluten, processed snacks, bread and cakes, white sugar and soft cheese.
Using intermittent fasting a few times per week is an effective way of reducing chronic inflammation. Slowing down chronic inflammation is vital to successful aging and reduces your risk of cardio-metabolic disease.
Also read: How to check whether your vegetables are adulterated
In addition to diet, an increased toxic body load, lack of exercise, epigenetic effects, lack of hormones, insufficient vital nutrients, and excessive mind-body stress will all increase silent inflammation and chronic disease. Therefore, an Integral Personalised nutrition program is the optimum way to slow aging and maximize your longevity.
How to chart the right nutrition strategy:
Personalized nutrition delves into the persons nutritional history to identify any possible food triggers and to work on a nutrition plan that takes into consideration both environmental and psychosomatic factors. It’s an individual, personal, targeted, holistic, comprehensive, nutritional advice that intends to arrest and also treat all forms of sickness/ disease.
Personalized nutrition is used to manage and treat an entire bouquet of disorders ranging from obesity, cardio metabolic diseases (diabetes, hypertension,heart disease ), auto immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis , multiple sclerosis, hormonal imbalances such as PCOD, neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
The person undergoes specific tests such as markers for gut health and inflammation, food intolerances and allergies, micronutrient deficiencies to arrive at the right nutrition therapy. All these tests are simple and can be done with a small blood sample. Gut health and inflammation can be corrected by following an elimination diet and using fermented foods that have healthy bacteria which could help restore the gut microbiome.
Personalized nutrition also delves into the genetic mappings and genome sequencing to understand a person’s genetic predisposition to a certain ailment and the targeted nutrition to balance out the identified genetic condition. Nutri-genomics is the study of a person’s genes and its co-relation with food for eg. Certain people may be slow metabolites of caffeine or may not process cholesterol efficiently or may not absorb a certain micronutrient (folate, B12, D3) efficiently.
Personalized nutrition also intends to improve the terrain and wellbeing of people who are not coping with disease but would like to live a more healthy, wholesome, disease-free, fulfilling life. It gives you the opportunity to improve your performance, energy levels and quality of life.
(The writer is Senior Cardiologist and Director of Aashlok Hospital, New Delhi)