Anti-Inflammatory Diet Makeover: A Healthy Refrigerator Published: 1/21/2013
Is your refrigerator teeming with less-than-healthy foods? If so, make a clean sweep and replace them with wholesome anti-inflammatory choices:
•Get rid of: Creamers with artificial additives or sugars, regular margarines or spreads that contain "partially hydrogenated oil," yogurt with added sugary fruit or artificial sweeteners, and American or processed cheeses, "cheese food" and cream cheese.
•Replace with: Organic, hormone-free milk, organic soy, almond, rice or oat beverages (look for organic soy products that do not contain the thickening agent carrageenan, and that are calcium-fortified); low-fat, organic yogurt (plain or a lower sugar vanilla - add your own organically grown fruit); and small amounts of natural, hard cheeses or varieties of soft cheese that are naturally lower in fat.
Most pantries hold a confusing mix of healthful and unhealthy food items, but cleaning out the questionable ones and replacing those with better choices isn't really all that difficult. Start with the following guidelines, then sign up for a free trial of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for more tips.
Toss out any cereals and breads that are refined, presweetened or made with white flour, and replace them with organic, high-fiber cereals, steel-cut oats or organic, natural instant varieties of hot cereals, and whole-grain breads. Replace instant soups (which can be very high in sodium), rice or noodle mixes (often high in sodium and undesirable fats) and instant drink mixes (such as iced tea, instant coffee and sugary hot chocolate mixes), with whole grains such as brown rice or bulgur wheat, dried beans, peas and lentils, and high quality green, white or oolong tea. Add some spices - an important part of the anti-inflammatory diet. Herbs are best when used fresh, but dried herbs, such as basil, sage, thyme, and rosemary, can keep their healthful characteristics and aroma very well.
Want to prevent inappropriate inflammation, reduce the risk of age-related diseases, and promote optimum health at any age? Then try an anti-inflammatory diet. By aiming for variety, including as much fresh food as possible, minimizing processed and fast foods, and making fruits and vegetables the foundation of your meals, you will be well on your way. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
Step One: Look at your carbs. The majority of carbohydrates in your diet should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load. You can do this by replacing your snack foods (typically made with wheat flour and sugar) with whole grains, beans, winter squashes and sweet potatoes.
Step Two: Replace your cooking oil. Instead of safflower, soy, and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, mixed vegetable oils, or margarine, use extra-virgin olive oil as your main cooking oil (for a neutral-tasting oil, use cold-expeller-pressed, organic canola oil).
Step Three: Decrease your consumption of animal protein. Except for fish (such as omega-3 rich salmon) and organic dairy products, animal-derived protein should be limited. You can easily replace meat with vegetable protein such as beans, legumes and whole soy foods.
Step Four: Eat more fiber. Start slow and build gradually to eat 40 grams of fiber a day, simple to do if you increase your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables and whole grains.
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