Why Fruits and Vegies are Anti-inflammatory
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 1:1. Fresh fruit and vegetables are made up of ratios that range from 1:1 to 1:3 therefore they provide an environment in the body that is naturally anti-inflammatory.
- Broccoli 1:3
- Kale 1:1.3
- Lettuces 1:2
- Banana 2:1
- Cherry 1:1
Fruits: the ratio of n3 to n6 in fruits generally ranges from 2:I to 1:1. Blueberries are noted for their heavy concentration of bioflavonoids and they produce a 4:3 ratio of n6:n3.
More than five thousand flavonoids have been identified in plants. Quercetin, one particularly anti-inflammatory flavanoid is found in apples and onions. Cherries are also rich in flavonoids and provide a perfect 1: 1 ratio. Bananas, possess a 2: 1 ratio.
Fish ranges from I: 1 to 1:7. Fish also contain a significant source of n3 essential fatty acids which are important in maintaining an anti-inflammatory environment.
Salmon, herring, anchovies and sardines contains the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Fish oils reduce heart disease by cutting arrhythmia, blood clotting and can help reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Other risks of cancer, arthritis asthma and psoriasis are all looking as though they can be reduced by consuming omega 3s found in fish oils.
Flaxseed and walnuts: these foods contain good amounts of the omega 3 fatty acid ALA. Try a handful of these daily. Flaxseed is a good alternative to fish oils for vegetarians and vegans.
Vitamins E and C: foods containing these vitamins are nut and seed oils, especially sunflower and almonds. All fruits, especially oranges, tomatoes and strawberries. Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and capsicums are loaded with Vitamin C . Quercetin, a small apples contains around 5.7mg of Vitamin C but more than 500mg of the anti-oxidants which together are equivalent to 1,500mg of Vitamin C.
Sprouted Grains: While eating grains in their dry state leads to poor health eating them as sprouts is an ideal way to overcome all these problems. The process of sprouting changes the composition of the grain in numerous ways that make it more beneficial as a food. Not only does it increase Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex Vitamins, it also produces Carotene, which is converted to vitamin A. Phytic acid, which is a known mineral blocker, is broken down in the sprouting process. The complex sugars responsible for intestinal gas are broken down during sprouting too, and a portion of the starch in grain is transformed into sugar. Sprouting also inactivates aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by fungus and are potent carcinogens found in grains.
Importantly these values refer to fresh fish that is baked, boiled or steamed, and not pre-packaged, heavily processed fish found in the frozen food section of the supermarket, or deep-fried at your local fast-food take-away.
Remember: If 2/3 of your diet is made up of vegetables, fresh and unprocessed as much as possible then you will suffer the least interruption to your normal bodily processes and thus enjoy good health. Because fish, fruits and vegetables have an anti-inflammatory effect within the body they should make up the CORE of your diet.
Continually existing on a diet that is deficient in fruits and vegetables is asking too much of your body. It will ultimately give in to inflammation and subsequent disease development, in whatever form it happens to take. Give your body a helping hand as it does its best to keep you healthy and happy under circumstances that it was designed to enjoy.
Follow these general dietary recommendations to reduce the inflammation in your body and keep disease at bay.
The Anti-Inflammation Dietary Steps
- Eat a variety of fresh and whole foods
- Eat more fish, especially cold-water varieties
- East lean meats (not corn fed) from free-range chicken and turkey, grass-fed cattle and buffalo, and game meat, such as duck and ostrich
- Eat a lot of vegetables, the more colourful the better
- Use spices and herbs to flavour foods; and limit your use of salt and pepper
- Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil
- Avoid conventional cooking oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oil
- Avoid vegetable shortening, margarine and partially hydrogenated oils
- Identify and avoid food allergens
- Avoid or limit intake of refined grains; particularly BREAD and CEREAL
- Instead of having a chicken and salad sandwich; have more chicken and salad without the bread!
- Limit your intake of dairy products
- Snack on nuts and seeds; for eample have a handful for almonds as a snack – there are a great source of protein
- When thirsty, drink water. we often mistake “hunger pains” for thirst
- Whenever possible, buy and eat organically raised foods
- To lose weight, reduce both carbohydrates and calories – but do not starve yourself
- You must eat every 2 to 3 hours while you are awake; small nutritous and regular meals are the best way to stabilise blood sugar levels and weight
Dependence on one food type in our diet is exposing us to constant inflammation of cells and our organs are breaking down under this load as our immune system attempts to cope with the onslaught of acid-forming foods. Modern food production methods, with its huge monoculture pastures produces one crop of grains which is processed into many different forms of food but which is the same food underneath. Only the packaging is different. When we switched from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies we became exposed to a much more monotonous diet. For good health our bodies require variety in order to obtain all the nutrients which are essential to good health.
The best course of action is to avoid the whole of the grain family because as we have seen, it loads our cells with inflammatory n6 fatty acids. It is vital to consume liberal amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, and to focus particularly on the green leafy vegetables. As well, try to eat fresh fish as often as possible to optimize n3 uptake. Eating fish two or three times a week is an excellent general rule for maintaining good health.