Patients frequently ask us what they can do to improve their health. This is an incredibly important question because all of us would like to be free of serious health issues and have more energy to go out and do things. We have good news for all of you who want better health. Everyone can get on the path to better health and wellness.
If you are eating the way most of us in the west eat you will need to make some changes in your eating habits. The reason is that like so many others you may have become accustomed to our western diet. It is so loaded with sweets, snack foods and synthetic foods that you have become addicted to all of the processed tastes. Well, we are waving a red flag. This diet is dangerous. It is causing illness and is an enemy of wellness. One of the reasons is that this diet, the Standard American Diet (SAD), has an over abundance of omega 6 fatty acids and is deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.
Excessive amounts of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a very high omega 6/omega 3 ratio promote the development of many diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
In a well designed study on cardiovascular disease reducing the omega 6 /omega 3 ratio was associated with a 70% decrease in mortality Other studies showed that altering the ratio toward a lower omega 6 and a higher omega 3 caused a decrease in breast cancer in women. It suppressed inflammation in patients with asthma and reduced the risk of colon cancer. There are many other studies that come to the same conclusion. Lowering omega 6 and raising omega 3 levels is vital for god health.
If you follow our advice and decide to change your eating habits the first obstacle that you will face is that almost everywhere you look for food you will find omega 6 fatty acids. They are present in most vegetable oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise, nuts and seeds, snacks, fast foods, cookies, cakes, processed pork products, fatty chicken cuts, eggs and fatty beef cuts. It is difficult to avoid them.
It is not that difficult to find good sources for omega 3 fatty acids, but you need to look for them. Where do you find them? Fish are an excellent source. The American Heart Association recommends eating a minimum of 3 to 4 ounces of fish at least twice a week. The best sources are salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies, scallops and other cold water fish. If you hate fish take a fish oil supplement. Personally I like fish but rarely eat fish that often so i take a fish oil supplement with about 3600 mg of fish oil to a small tablespoon,
Nuts and seeds are another good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Eat about one handful of walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios or almonds a day.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and many have an anti-inflammatory effect. Aim for nine or more servings a day. A serving is one cup of of most veggies or fruit and 2 cups of leafy vegetables.
Olive oil is loaded with heart healthy fats as well as oleocanthal which has properties similar to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is recommended that you have 2 to 3 tablespoons a day.
Beans are loaded with fiber and phytonutrients.that help lower indicators of inflammation in the blood. Have about one cup twice a week
Whole grains contain fiber that can lower blood levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. The fiber can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Eat about 6 ounces of grains per day. One ounce of whole grain is equal stop 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice or 1 slice of whole wheat bread.
These are the essentials of what you need to know in order to make the changes in your diet and improve your health. Now the next move is up to you. Good luck.