Can the kind of fats you eat really be a major culprit in arthritis, cancer, and heart disease?
Dr. Andrew Weil says they can. As we explained on Tuesday, he’s a Harvard Medical School graduate and internationally-recognized nutrition expert. He’s worked with the National Institute of Mental Health. Served at Harvard’s Botanical Museum. And founded the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
He says dietary fats are vital to health. That’s because they either promote or combat inflammation. As you know from past issues of Health Watch, studies show that inflammation is the root cause of many modern diseases.
“Dietary choices play a big role in inflammation,” says Dr. Weil. “Learning how foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for reducing disease.”
That’s why knowing which fatty acids boost – or reduce – inflammation is vital to your health.
Know Your Enemy
There’s a fatty acid found in most cooking oils. It’s also in margarine and lots of low-fat products. This fatty acid is called omega 6. Dozens of studies show it increases inflammation.
“Avoid corn oil, safflower and sunflower oils, and mixed vegetable oils,” says Dr. Weil.
These hydrogenated oils are processed and cooked up in a lab like Frankenstein’s monster. You were never meant to consume them. So your body thinks they’re toxic… which kick-starts the inflammatory process.
But they don’t just “turn on” inflammation. They also block the enzymes that process the “good” fatty acids – those that reduce inflammation.
You’ve probably about these “good” fatty acids. They’re called omega 3 fatty acids. Loads of research shows they fight inflammation. Great sources of omega 3s are fish, lean meat, and vegetables.
So your diet needs to be high in omega 3s and low in omega 6s. But most of the food we eat contains an adverse ratio. It’s often high in omega 6s and low in omega 3s. In fact, processed foods can have up to 15 times more omega 6 than omega 3 fatty acids.
Combat Inflammation through Diet
Your diet should be free of all hydrogenated oils and margarines.
“Strictly avoid margarine and vegetable shortening,” says Dr. Weil. “Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind.”
Instead of cooking with vegetable or corn oil… opt for olive oil.
Studies show that it cuts the activity of “adhesion molecules.” These molecules promote inflammation. So cooking with this oil fights inflammation.
Best Way to Cut Inflammation
Fish may be the best inflammatory reducer. There are literally dozens of studies that show fish consumption is vital in combatting inflammation.
But here’s the important part. Avoid farm-raised fish and buy only wild-caught fish. They contain fewer inflammation-triggering toxins. A prestigious report shows that farm-raised fish contains 10 times more toxins than wild salmon.
Wild-caught fish also have a better ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s.
So always try to buy wild-caught fish. Good options are Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel.
Reduce Inflammation – Fast
You can combat inflammation even more effectively with a daily fish oil supplement.
“If you are not eating oily fish at least twice a week, take supplemental fish oil, in capsule or liquid form,” says Dr. Weil.
These supplements are rich in EPA and DHA, which fight inflammation. Trans fatty acids block the production of EPA and DHA. So these handy supplements replace them.
Fish oil supplements reduce the levels of inflammation-pro compounds, including prostaglandin E2 and CRP.
Dr. Weil recommends two to three grams of fish oils each day.