The next two steps that are on the list of the top 5 changes to make to your diet in 2016 are intertwined so I’ll tell you about them at the same time. Why are they intertwined? Although both goals are there to help you introduce specific inflammation fighting nutrients into your diet, achieving them also helps to remove an inflammation igniting food from your diet. So it becomes a case of addition by subtraction.
The inflammation igniting food group is red meat and processed meats. And for our purposes red meat is anything that comes from a 4 legged animal! Meat seems to be pro-inflammatory and high consumption of meat seems to be associated with an increase in the incidence of different types of cancer as well as other diseases that are caused by increased inflammation. The World Cancer Research Fund and the WHO both recommend limiting the amount of red meat and processed meat that we eat. The actual amount recommend varies but the average is about 500 grams or about 1 pound of red meat weekly.
What can we eat instead to get our Protein?
Enter Pulses! Pulses are not only good for us they are good for the planet as well. In fact they are so good that the United Nations voted to make 2016 the International Year of the Pulses. (http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/) What are Pulses? Dried beans, peas and lentils. These foods are great sources of vegetable protein, fibre, and contain a variety of plant nutrients that can be beneficial to our health. The good news is that pulses are delicious. Since we can purchase them dried or in cans they are easy to prepare. In fact some of my go to quick and easy recipes feature chick peas, kidney beans and black beans. For a twist choose to use flour made with chick peas, or lentils. Don’t know where to start: go to http://www.pulsecanada.com/food-health/recipes/ to get some amazing recipes. Make them as a side dish. Or make an old favourite like baked beans to get you started.
Omega 3 fats are well known for their ability to reduce inflammation! The best sources are fatty fish, including salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and arctic char. Vegetable sources include flax seed and oil, chia seeds and some nuts. Some producers feed their cattle or hens a diet rich in omega 3 fats resulting in milk or eggs.
It’s easy to add omega 3 rich foods to our menus. It can be as simple as opening a can of sardines and adding them to a salad, or adding some ground flax seeds to our breakfast cereal.
So what goals will you take to start adding pulses and omega 3 fats to your diet? Again start with small goals like finding recipes, checking your pantry or even just trying to eat 3 bean salad or salmon when dining out or adding pea soup to your lunch.