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Posted on 01-29-2015

The best way to start looking at the anti-inflammatory diet is from the perspective of fatty acid balance. Research has clearly demonstrated that an imbalance in omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids is pro-inflammatory, and a promoter of heart disease; all types of cancer; pain; neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s; and most other degenerative diseases.

Both n-6 and n-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Research suggests that through the ages, man subsisted on a diet that contained a 1:1 ratio of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids. The goal should be to consume a ratio that is less than 4:1; however, today the intake ratios range from 10:1 to 30:1, which promotes inflammation and disease.

In the past several thousand years, the human diet has shifted from a food-foraging, hunter-gatherer approach, which largely involved the consumption of greens; wild game; fruits; roots; etc., to one that heavily emphasizes the consumption of grains. This shift changes the ratio of fatty acids to which our genes and cells are exposed, favoring n-6 fatty acids. This is because corn, grains, seeds and their oils contain only n-6 fatty acids, which are ultimately pro-inflammatory. So an anti-inflammatory diet is basically low in n-6-rich grains, and starches are high in n-3-rich green vegetables and olive oil (for cooking and salad dressings). Dr. David Seaman

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