Food is not only the cause of chronic inflammation in your body, but food is also the “cure” for your body. Research shows that even a regular-size fast food breakfast (egg and sausage on an English Muffin plus fried potatoes) quickly floods the bloodstream with inflammatory compounds and keeps levels high for the next three hours. If you have a fast-food meal for lunch as well, you start the cycle all over again, keeping inflammation fired up indefinitely.
Learn the phrase “omega-3 fatty acids.” This is the one type of fat in our diet that is truly terrific for our hearts. A dangerous eating problem is that most modern humans no longer each a healthy combination of two important fats – Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. We need both for healthy brain function. Omega-3s are found in foods such as fish, nuts, and olive or canola oil. They are building blocks for hormone-like compounds that reduce chronic inflammation – a modern health problem fired up by too much belly fat, too little exercise, and a diet brimming with the wrong types of fats. New lab studies show that your body uses good fats to make useful inflammation fighting chemicals called resolvins.
Yet, most of us eat far too few omega 3s these days, and far too many Omega 6s – a fat found in high levels in corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and sesame oils. Omega-6 fats help our body produce compounds that increase inflammation. In prehistoric times, people ate omega-3s and omega-6s in nearly equal proportions; today we consume as many as 30 times more omega-6s. Eating yummy foods like salmon, peanut butter, walnuts, and good-for-you oil can correct this balance. You’ll slash your risk of heart attack and stroke and possibly cut your odds for arthritis pain and depression, too.
So why are we eating so many of these foods with loads of omega-6s? Partly it is because we eat lots of processed foods, often dripping with corn, sunflower, and soybean oil, all top sources of omega-6s. We eat grain-fed beef and poultry instead of free-range meats (grass fed animals have more omega-3s in their fat stores.) Just as dangerous is skimping of good fats – the omega-3 fatty acids.
So what should we do to eat for longer life? You need to rebalance your fat portfolio by eating more fish, more nuts, and more good-for-you oils. The immediate benefits will be that getting more good fats could help ease arthritis pain, relieve asthma, lessen symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, and even cut your risk of depression.
The long-term benefits to rebalancing your fats is that it may cut your risk of dangerous heart arrhythmias (out-of-sync heartbeats that can lead to heart attack), high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
We all can get more nuts in our diet. Who doesn’t love a handful of Almonds and Walnuts. They are great for snacking. And taking about oil.. they all look the same in the grocery store isle, but obviously they are very different. Stock up on olive oil and Canola oil and throw out all the rest. Both oils can handle all of your cooking needs.
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