At Miraval, JunelleLupiani, R.D. offers straightforward advice on how to eat the “anti-inflammatroy diet” for maximum biological health. To reduce inflammation at the cellular level and help combat heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, macular degeneration and more, follow these easy guidelines…
Ideal diet is a plant-based diet. Some lean animal protein is fine, in moderation. Start eating animal protein (beef, chicken pork, fish) less often than you do now and in 4 oz. servings.
Ideal intake of macronutrients: 45% carbs, 35% fat, 25% protein
Eat these Carbs: Fruits, Veggies, Intact Grains
Fruit: fresh, dried and frozen (in smoothies); always have some berries daily (ex: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries).
Veggies: raw, roasted, grilled, chopped in salad, juiced; always have at least 1 cup of leafy greens daily as they are excellent source of Vitamin A. Ex: kale, spinach, bokchoy, swiss and rainbow chard, collard and turnip greens, endive. One idea: toss cubed turnips, beets and halved brussel sprouts in olive oil and roast at 400 in oven for 45 minutes.
Intact Grains: these grains look like they did when harvested from the plant. They include: farro, quinoa (white, black and red), red rice, brown rice, bulgar, oats, barley, wheatberries, millet and amaranth. These whole grains contain proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. When you consume an intact grain, you get all these nutrients. Refined foods and “re-shapen” grains (ex: pretzels, pasta, crackers) are not “intact,” they are pre-digested and all the good nutrients have been removed from them. In breads, you want to see the actual grains in it (not a brown canvas; one great brand for bread is Ezekiel. Eat less flour as flour is not an intact food. If the idea of completely eliminating re-shapen foods sounds daunting, just eat less pasta, bread, crackers, etc. than you do now!
Eat these Fats: cold-pressed olive and canola oils, avocado, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate (72% cacao).
Eat these Proteins: beans and legumes, lean animal protein (wild fish, grass feed beef, hormone-free plant-fed chicken and their eggs), and intact grains.
Spices are a gold mine for anti-inflammation. Especially good are parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and chili. Fresh is best but dried/powdered is fine too.
Remember, all parts of the plant are good for you—roots, stems, fruits and seeds.
All teas are good—green, black, oolong, herbal.
Overall lifestyle: movement, sleep, stress response and nutrition all contribute to good health at the cellular level.
Types of Fat: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
Saturated Fats: These are land animals and products from them. Examples: butter, cheese, ice cream, coconut oil, chicken, beef. These are inflammatory. Reduce the amount of saturated fats you consume on a weekly basis. For chicken and beef, keep to a 4 oz. serving size. It is not necessary to eat this type of protein with saturated fat every day. Eat these once or twice a week and replace saturated fats with plant fats on the other days.
Monounsaturated fats: These are plant fats. These are good for you. Examples: cold-presssed olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate. One idea: roast our own nuts: in a heavy bottom saucepan, place nuts with no oil and cook over a medium flame for 5-10 minutes until roasted. Store in an airtight container.
Polyunsaturated fats: These are omega 3 and omega 6 fats. These are fine as long as the ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 is 2:1. This healthy ratio is found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and all animals that eat grass or plants from nature (ex: fish eats seaweed, cows eat grass). The problem is that in packaged foods, the “reshapen foods,” the ratio is 20:1—too much omega 6!!!! The packaged food problem occurs because when corn oil is heated, it transforms into omega 6. Almost all packaged foods’ ingredients start with flour and corn oil or soybean oil (i.e. refined vegetable oil). This is terrible for you. Similarly, farmed fish, beef and chicken that is corn fed contains dangerously high levels of omega 6. This is why itis important to spend the extra money and buy grass fed beef, wild-caught fish and omega 3 enriched eggs.