Updated 2012-03-26 16:54:33 ID=662:0

© 2012 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

The Anti-Inflammation Diet: Cooking for Good Health

If you or someone you love is dealing with illnesses such as Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke, Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Arthritis, Lupus, Gout and other Autoimmune Diseases, by augmenting your cooking style could dramatically improve your state of health and well-being.

I've been having some health-issues lately that have made me want to investigate just what kind of diet would be best for me to make and eat. Thankfully, what I've been cooking and eating IS just what the "doctor ordered!" Also known as the Anti-inflammation Diet, the Mediterranean Diet is the best way to cook and eat to minimize inflammation in the body --which is the basis of all these diseases that are running rampant in today's society. This is especially affects us "baby-boomers" who are approaching our "Golden Years" all too soon and DON'T want our Golden Years turned into (as one of my friends once said) her "Rust Years!"

If you think this doesn't apply to you---think again! Even Hay fever is an inflammatory disease and just in the U.S. affects over 27 million! Asthma is another one with over 20 million affected. All Arthritis kinds affect over 50 million! Even the heart-breaking Alzheimer's disease is an inflammatory process!

When I look at these statistics, I am so thankful that I have been eating right --Imagine the shape I'd be in if I hadn't been doing so for so many years!

Just what makes the Anti-inflammation Diet/Mediterranean Diet so beneficial?

To begin with, under normal circumstances, inflammation CAN be a friend. If you cut yourself or a virus attacks you, the "fighter molecules" rush in to prevent infection. When the attack is over-the damaged area healed, the fighter-molecules or inflammation should depart. However sometimes the body's programming mutates or crashes and the inflammation does NOT leave and it continues to wear down the body. These unnatural attacks by too many health stresses lead to chronic inflammation that can cause a trigger to turn on a disease, especially if you have a hereditary predisposition for it.

Dr. Demosthenes Panagiotakos, a noted Mediterranean Diet researcher, based out of the University of Athens in Greece, reached a conclusion that "The Mediterranean diet, independent of any other factors, reduces the levels of Inflammation" in the body.

And even those of us that feel one-hundred per cent, should perk up their ears when they learn that even just the inevitable forces of aging --sagging and wrinkling of skin, reduction in muscle-tone and the higher risk of acute and chronic diseases is really all due to the inflammation process.

So just HOW can we start making amends in our diets and lifestyle to help thwart the inflammation process? By getting daily exercise such as walking and other weight-bearing exercise. And watching our diet by sticking to one that is rich in vegetables, low in red meat, high in seafood, regular use of olive oil, grains, fruit and low-fat cheeses like Parmesan and Feta and moderate consumption of wine.

On this diet--especially here on the California Central Coast, you also have less of a tendency to gain lots of weight. In fact, in my opinion, this is the best long-term diet to have a great quality of life with access to fresh seafood, locally-grown vegetables, fruit, extra-virgin olive oil, locally-grown nuts and wine as well as beautiful countryside to walk and exercise.

So the next time you plan your menu for the week, think seriously about how much you're doing on your part to bolster your body's defenses. Start exercising a little more and plan a menu that consists of colorful fresh seafood, vegetables, fruit, grains, olive oil, salads and a little wine too. What a GREAT "prescription!"

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A tip from Sue!

Know your stove!

Not all stoves are equivalent! Your "medium" may be equivalent to another's "high." For instance, a lot of recipes use the "Medium heat" burner. But that can be too high if your sauteing garlic and don't want it to burn. It's better to err toward the lower setting.