Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle

Anti-inflammatory is not only a diet, but a lifestyle. If you have a chronic illness, do not only look in your medicine cabinet – look to your diet! Food can do a lot of healing, it is extraordinary! Our immune system is activated when our body recognizes that there is a foreign trigger. This is what causes inflammation. This is not a problem; however, there is a threat when inflammation becomes chronic. Diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression, rheumatoid arthritis are all related to inflammation. Stress levels, genetic disposition, exercise, exposure to toxics and FOOD all come together to influence our levels of inflammation. The anti-inflammatory lifestyle is not a weight loss diet, but if you follow it: the weight loss comes with it. I follow this diet myself, and have found great success in keeping a steady weight and energy level. Some of my diabetic clients have even reversed their diabetes by adapting this lifestyle!

Here are my tips for following this diet:

1. Aim for a variety of fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s a meal or a snack, aim for your plate to look like the rainbow!

2. Fresh produce is key. I preach to stay away from processed food as I believe this is the culprit for an array of health problems.

3. Aim for about 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day. Each person’s caloric needs are very different. This diet is not about cutting calories, so be careful to make sure you’re getting the proper amount. Too little or too many caloies can (suprisingly) both cause weight gain. Talk to your dietitian or doctor to determine how many calories you need a day.

4. 40-50% of your calories should come from carbs. Yes, we want a majority of carbs. However, stay away from sugar at all costs. When I say carbs, I mean whole grain, intact carbs. These are foods like sweet potatoes, beans or quinoa. Avoid refined or processed carbs (chips/pretzels, or anything with high fructose corn syrup).

5. 20% of your daily calories should come from fat. Try to reduce intake of saturated fats. These are foods like butter, cream or fatty meats. Get your fat from extra virgin olive oil, or expeller pressed oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important in this diet so try to eat foods like tuna, salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts.

6. Don’t overemphasize protein in this diet. The remaining 30% of your daily calories are all that need to be delegated to protein. Try to stay away from animal proteins and aim for more plant proteins (like soy). Fish a few times a day is fine as well.

7. Fiber is a huge aspect of this lifestyle in addition to the pre-mentioned macro nutrients. A high fiber diet aids GI tract health which influences both physical and mental wellbeing. You will get this fiber from the abundance of fruits and veggies you’ll be eating. If you want fiber rich grains, steel cut oat or high fiber cereals are a great option.

8. Drink plenty of fluids Ideally, you are drinking water. But if you love soda, try swapping it out with sparkling water flavored with freshly squeezed lemon, or green tea.

Some of my favorite foods that follow this diet include cabbage, cauliflower, mushroom, seasonal produce, 70% cocoa plain dark chocolate, and ample spices and herbs. Supplement with fish oil, vitamin D3 and a multivitamin.

Follow this diet for a few weeks and you will be feeling much more energized. I am excited for you to start this anti-inflammatory journey and I look forward to good health in your future.

Until next time,

Dietitian Moushumi


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