“Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases, including those that become more frequent as people age. It is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on science that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.” - Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Couldn't have said it any better myself. I love to recommend a good anti-inflammatory diet to my patients. Inflammation, generally speaking, is at the heart (pardon the pun) of most of the conditions that I see in my practice. Dr. Weil's revised food pyramid (see link at the end of the post) provides a great outline of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. The only thing that I would add to this pyramid would be room temperature water - more on this in a later post, I promise.
Of course in order to get the optimum dietary benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, I usually recommend my patients also limit their intake of inflammatory foods and drinks. This means taking it easy on the typical "American diet" - greasy and fatty foods (think fast food), sweets (artificial or otherwise), dairy, processed foods, foods containing white flour (starches and carbohydrates), salty foods, caffeine, and alcohol. This does not mean you need to cut anything out of your diet altogether. Have a cup of coffee every morning if you so choose - just don't have four. Feel like a cheeseburger? Treat yourself, but don't make it a regular habit. You get the picture - moderation is truly the name of the game.
And because food is indeed medicine, this is a really, really good way to self-medicate. To your health!
Here's the link to Dr. Weil's food pyramid - check it out!