Gradually, Spanish households are giving up the Mediterranean Diet. This change in habits can lead to cellular inflammation, which is the cause of many chronic diseases.
95% of Spaniards don’t eat the five daily portions of fruits and vegetables that doctors recommend. Gradually, Spanish households are giving up the Mediterranean Diet.
We’re eating worse and often adopt diets that can compromise our health.
This change in eating habits can lead to cellular inflammation – silent inflammation – which is the cause of many chronic diseases, since it alters the body’s hormonal mechanisms and activates genes.
Excessive consumption of certain saturated and trans fats, imbalance between the intake of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, high consumption of refined carbohydrates, low consumption of anti-inflammatory polyphenols and imbalance of the intestinal microbiota can trigger this inflammatory response, which is silent because it’s continuous and doesn’t cause any pain.
However, cell inflammation is behind diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, vascular problems, certain types of cancer, metabolic syndrome, allergies, depression and anxiety, some neurological diseases and all the conditions ending in “itis.”
According to Irene Santacruz, Ph.D. pharmacologist, dietitian and nutritionist, “proper anti-inflammatory nutrition helps prevent diseases, promotes mental clarity and performance, improves physical appearance, activates metabolism – weight loss, feeling satiated and more energetic – and has an anti-aging effect.”
Anti-inflammatory nutrition is based on the control –at each meal– of carbohydrates, types of fat –moderating saturated fat consumption and avoiding trans fats– and achieving the balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. In addition, it must be high in vegetables and fruits with many colors –polyphenols–, having between 8 and 10 servings of 100 grams a day. It is completed with the intake of a lot of dietary prebiotic fiber, legumes, nuts and with the control of abdominal fat.
“Mediators that control inflammation in the immune system, known as eicosanoids, come biochemically from dietary fats: essential fatty acids,” Dr. Santacruz said.
“We must eliminate –she added– trans fats from diet, control the consumption of meat, use extra virgin olive oil, consume olives, avocados and nuts, and fish and other seafood, avoiding those that contain the largest amounts of pollutants such as swordfish, shark, bluefin tuna and pike. As for milk, it’s best to consume fermented derivatives such as yogurts, kefir, cheese, etc.”
Knowing what fats to eat
Fat intake is almost always related to being overweight but, actually, its consumption is essential for health.
In addition to being a source of energy, fats have a fundamental role in the composition and function of cell membranes; they participate in the formation of essential hormones and vitamins in our body and play a fundamental role in the regulation of blood lipid concentration and their transport molecules: lipoproteins.
The main sources of fat in the human diet are vegetable oils and animal fats, although it’s also found in nuts, cereals and legumes.
Various scientific studies indicate that trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils increase risk factors and cardiovascular accidents.
Likewise, the consumption of these fats has been associated with an increased risk of death from coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death, as well as an increased risk of elements of metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
This type of fat can be found mainly in baked goods such as cookies, industrial pastries, snacks, pre-cooked foods, fried products such as chips or other snacks, along with ice cream, creams and shakes.
Currently, not all types of harmful fats are reflected on the labels of the products we consume, so perhaps we’re involuntarily ingesting unhealthy fats without being fully aware of it.
The Food Fat test allows to know the types of fat that we include in our diets and the degree of silent inflammation that we may suffer, a first step to be able to customize our nutrition and achieve a balance among the different fats and, in the long term, to be able to prevent chronic diseases. The test analyzes the different types of fatty acids in the erythrocyte membrane and its outcome is representative of the fat consumption during the last three months.
The test is indicated for people of any age who want to customize their diets to optimize their health.
It’s also recommended for patients with inflammatory disease, with cardiovascular problems, dyslipidemia, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, etc., as well as for patients with mood or behavior alterations or suffering from cognitive deficits.
Date: November 8th, 2019
Nutrigenomics Institute is not responsible for the comments and opinions included in this article