Whether you’re trying to lose some weight or just want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, there as so many different eating plans out there to choose from. While some, like keto and paleo, can be really restrictive and therefore seemingly impossible to follow, getting healthy doesn’t have to be so complicated. In fact, the anti-inflammatory diet plan developed by Dr. Andrew Weil can help you start losing weight and fight disease with just a few simple changes.
Andrew Weil, MD, the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, developed this anti-inflammatory diet to combat harmful levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural immune response that helps protect our body from invaders, but chronic inflammation is what happens when it becomes a problem due to things like high stress levels and an inflammatory diet containing a lot of processed, sugary foods. In such cases, inflammation can cause weight gain, as well as a slew of other health problems like chronic pain, skin conditions, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular conditions, and more. “It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses — including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease,” writes Dr. Weil.
On Dr. Weil’s plan, inflammation is combated by loading your diet with anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables that are packed with nutrients. You’re also encouraged to eat whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats from things like nuts and avocados, fish, some lean meat and poultry, whole soy foods, cooked mushrooms, herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Even more exciting? The plan allows for dark chocolate and one to two glasses of red wine per day — now that’s something we can get behind.
Dr. Weil developed his very own food pyramid which tells you exactly what types of foods and portions to eat in order to optimize your health. According to his pyramid, you should consume:
- at least five servings of vegetables per day
- three servings of fruit per day
- three to five servings a day of whole grains like brown rice and buckwheat
- one to two servings of beans and legumes per day
- Five to seven servings of healthy fats per week from nuts, seeds, and avocados
- Two to three servings of al dente pasta per week
- Two to six servings of fish per week
- One to two servings of whole soy products per day like tempeh and tofu
- Unlimited amounts of cooked Asian mushrooms like shiitake
- One to two servings per week of protein from other sources like eggs, skinless poultry, or lean meat
- Daily servings of supplements like omega-3’s
- Two to four cups a day of tea like white tea, green tea, and oolong
- One to two glasses of red wine per day
- Healthy sweets like dark chocolate containing 70 percent cacao, sparingly
Dr. Weil maintains that eating this way will help to fight inflammation in the body, and science has shown that not only do plant-based diets like this one combat inflammation, but they also fight diseases like diabetes and aid weight loss. What’s best about this diet plan is that it isn’t totally unrealistic, as you can still have most foods within moderation. The key, according to Weil, is controlling your portions and making sure to not go over the recommended intake for each food per day and per week.
So if you’ve been struggling to lose those extra pounds, or you just want to adopt a healthier lifestyle as you get older to fight disease and inflammation, give Dr. Weil’s diet a try. As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new eating plan. For more on Dr. Weil’s eating plan, go to his website where you’ll find a number of resources like articles, supplements, recipes, and more!