Moment for Health: Anti-Inflammatory Diet from Dr. Andrew Weil

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DrWeil anti-inflammatory-food-pyramidThe saying “there is more than one way to…” is always a good definition to adhere to in life. The fact that there is just one way to do something is very limiting indeed.

With a diet, there are hundreds of types running around town that end up inside a well-intentioned belly yet contribute or even cause sickness.

The reasons as to why certain foods cause an illness always seem to flop back and forth in the media; this was good for you, now it’s bad sort of thing.

Every day scientific studies seem to be out-sciencing each other. But one thing has to be clear: whatever foods enter the body are certainly the building blocks to its creation.

Author and True Food Kitchen co-founder Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D, is a proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet, and with it he encompasses a broad way to eat that targets the root cause of many serious illnesses.

Again, there are varying factors to illness. Why does one person get it and the other doesn’t? Dr. Weil states that the immune system, when it is doing its job correctly, keeps those illnesses at bay. And with an anti-inflammatory diet, the immune system is free to round up all the “bad cells” and attack the unwanted “invaders” in the body.

Inflammation is a protective response by the body to sites such as cells and tissues to remove the cause of irritation, such as a pathogen or foreign matter. If the immune system is doing its job correctly, the general idea is the “bad” guys are eliminated before they can even do harm to any cell.

There are many studies substantiating that certain foods can help the immune system battle efficiently and effectively. Dr. Weil has advocated an anti-inflammatory diet in his books with an in-depth look found in Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging that includes over 300 anti-inflammatory recipes.

He has even based a chain of restaurants on this diet sharing some recipes in his cookbook, True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple and Pure.

How to eat for anti-inflammation? Dr. Weil indicates on his website to:

  • Aim for variety
  • Include as much fresh food as possible
  • Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food
  • Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables

His visit to True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach recently focused on several anti-inflammatory foods and featured three cooking demos. Curried Cauliflower Soup and Toasted Buckwheat Salad with Autumn Vegetables both herald turmeric and shitake mushrooms.

He discussed how turmeric is a close relative of ginger, another common anti-inflammatory rhizome. To add more turmeric to the diet, enjoy curries, drink turmeric tea or add the bright yellow spice to recipes. Shitake mushrooms boost the immune system to enhance resistance to colds. He said to look for products blending several medicinal mushrooms such as maitake and shitake with their anti-viral effects; and reishi which has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting benefits.

The last recipe, Sea Buckthorn Bars, includes the wonders present in sea buckthorn. The juice from this fruit, known in Italy as olivello juice, is an excellent source of antioxidants and protective phytonutrients, specifically holding the most concentrated natural source of vitamin C so far discovered.

High in carotenoids, essential minerals and polyphenols, it helps to lower inflammation and relieve pain. The oil of this fruit contains omega fatty acids and is useful when applied to the skin. But Dr. Weil doesn’t recommend taking it internally.

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