Healing Inflammation with a Plant-Based Mediterranean Diet


Inflamation? sounds Greek to me! The ancient art of healing with food” Introduction to the plant-based, Mediterranean diet. Since the age of antiquity, health practitioners have studied the link between inflammation and chronic disease. There are many inflammation diets promoting health, however emerging research suggests that adopting a Mediterranean style, plant-based, whole food diet is unsurpassed at tackling inflammation and restoring lasting health. In today’s video, you will explore the ancient roots of chronic inflammation and related diseases, learn how a plant-based Mediterranean diet can reduce inflammation and restore your health, and finally, help guide you on your path to healing with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Borrowing from the Greek “diaita”, meaning way of life, diet and lifestyle are inextricably joined together to promote a healthy balance in the body and mind. In ancient medical practices, spiritual and physical worlds were interwoven. The god Asclepius, for example, was considered to be both a divine healer and a practical skilled doctor. Patients were said to have received doctor’s advice, or “prescriptions’, through their dreams. While the science of medicine was beginning, some discoveries were well ahead of their time. For example, the ancient Greeks believed that there was a connection between inflammation and disease. In fact, expert Greek practitioners were so skillfully attuned to their patients that they could diagnose their ailments based on their diets, appetite, and sleeping patterns. Inflammation treatments of antiquity often included the use of medicinal plants, herbs, and roots, still in use today. Medicinal herbs, used since ancient Greece, are mint, fennel, olives, parsley, and saffron. Ancient practitioners have yet to grasp the complexities of human biology. However, thanks to their efforts, the path linking inflammation disease, and the curative power of a healthy diet, was indelibly forged. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” In modern times, pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to help. However, with these come many undesired side effects. Common anti-inflammatory drugs include NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, chemotherapy drugs, biologic therapies, and even narcotic pain relievers. Just as the ancient Greeks used food as a panacea to heal, today, the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle provides a viable solution in managing chronic inflammation and related diseases. The anti-inflammatory diet favors whole, nutrient-dense foods in lieu of sugary and refined, low nutrient alternatives. Despite the many diets touted to promote health, the Mediterranean diet has survived the test of time. The key to this diet is variety; “the spice of life.” The main focus is on whole, unprocessed foods ,such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, unprocessed grains, herbs and spices. The Mediterranean diet is loaded with inflammation fighting foods, containing lots of antioxidants. Antioxidants are reactive molecules in food that reduce free radicals, which cause cell damage and are disease risk factors. The best way to get a variety of antioxidants in the diet is to eat foods that represent all the colors of the rainbow. Another important part of the Mediterranean diet is Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. Omega threes play an important role in brain function, normal growth and development, and reducing inflammation. Two main sources of omega-3s are fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and tuna, and also plant foods, such as flax, chia seeds, and walnuts. While the benefits of a traditional Mediterranean diet are clear, research suggests that a plant-based, whole food version offers added health benefits. While the traditional Mediterranean diet may include some meat, dairy, and fish. Studies have found that adopting a plant-based version can help reduce inflammation and markedly improve health, in as little as four weeks. In fact, new research suggests that people following a vegetarian diet have higher levels of plasma AA, which is associated with reduced inflammation levels. In addition, many studies have found that plant-based diets not only heal inflammation, but also restore unhealthy gut flora. In a plant-based Mediterranean diet, there are many healing, anti-inflammatory foods to choose from. These include vegetables leafy greens, fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, flax, chia, hemp seeds, seaweed and algae, chlorella, herbal and green teas, fermented vegetables, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, and many herbs and spices. Foods to limit or avoid are meat, dairy, eggs, alcohol, refined grains, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners, as well as processed soy, and coffee. Another benefit to a plant-based, whole food diet is food synergy; when nutrients work together to improve health. Herbs and spices have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. When combined, garlic onion, parsley, oregano, and basil all work together; providing added micronutrients; vitamins minerals and phytochemicals, to the mix. The plant powered way of eating offers many benefits. Aside from providing plenty of plant-based protein, the diet also includes healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and many other vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber. In addition, whole grains act as prebiotics; lowering the glycemic, or sugar, load. Finally, there’s plant-based B12; derived from seaweed or chlorella, and vitamin D; found in fortified plant milks and juices. Preventing, reducing, and reversing inflammation and related chronic disease is possible through healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Studies have found that plant-based Mediterranean diets can help to heal chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and even some cancers. Just as the ancient Greeks imagined, diet is not just about the foods we eat ,it’s a way of life. Remember, making even small changes in your diet can have a big impact on sustained health and longevity. If you’re not quite ready to go completely plant-based, start with the foods you like. Making the switch can be fun and fulfilling. Are you ready to reclaim your health with a plant-based Mediterranean diet? Go ahead, dig in! Thank you for watching. Have a happy and healthy day!

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