WHY INFLAMMATION IS A PROBLEM
In basic terms, an inflammatory response is your immune system’s reaction to anything that could harm it, such as injury, environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke, and certain dietary ingredients (e.g. sugar). If you injure yourself or have chronic pain, this type of inflammation is obvious, however, low-grade inflammation associated with diet often goes unnoticed. Prolonged inflammation is associated with excessive oxidative stress and altered glucose and lipid metabolism in your fat cells, muscle, and liver. The associated increase in free radicals can ultimately lead to cell damage and accelerated signs of aging.
Although researchers knew inflammation played a role in heart disease way back in the 1980s, growing evidence shows that a host of common chronic conditions—such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression—are triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation.
More recent studies have attempted to determine why some people suffer from chronic inflammation and what can be done to address this. Researchers have discovered the positive role exercise, diet, and supplementation can play in reducing inflammation and preventing disease. Without a doubt, excessive dietary sugar (especially from sugary drinks) has been linked to chronic inflammation, and not surprisingly, an increase in type 2 diabetes. Conversely, people who reduce their sugar intake have lower inflammatory markers in their blood. In addition to sugar, other dietary culprits thought to play a role in inflammation include saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol.
PERRICONE’S APPROACH TO INFLAMMATION
Never one to conform, Dr. Perricone rejected the notion that fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging. He discovered that inflammation caused by poor nutrition, pollution, sun exposure, stress, and irritating skincare treatments is the true cause for damage to the body and skin. As already discussed, science has established that chronic inflammation can increase your risk of developing a wide array of serious degenerative diseases.
The good news is that adopting a diet rich in antioxidants and high-quality proteins (combined with vitamin supplements and the right topical skincare) can help you address the visible signs of aging from the inside out, and the outside in.
WHAT IS DR. PERRICONE’S 28-DAY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET?
If hearing the word “diet” tossed around has you running for the hills, don’t worry—our 28-Day Program is simple, nutritious, and best of all—delicious. The basic premise of any 28-day diet is to establish new dietary changes every week over this timeframe, which in turn will lead to healthier long-term choices and lasting weight loss. Yes, you’ll need to eliminate foods from your diet that have been linked to inflammation and weight gain. The list includes breads, cereals, crackers, fried foods, fruit juice, jelly, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice, snack foods (e.g. pretzels and chips), soft drinks, tortillas, tacos, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets. Each meal includes lean protein and carbohydrates in the form of fruits and/or vegetables, and essential fatty acids from olive oil or fresh unsalted nuts.
HERE’S HOW TO GET STARTED
We recommend beginning your 28-day journey on a quiet weekend, initially with the 3-Day Diet. Food choices are far less restrictive in the 28-Day Diet, but the rapid results you experience in the first three days will encourage you to stick to the program the entire month. The 3-Day Diet features salmon twice a day because essential fatty acids and antioxidants in this fatty fish provide a rich array of benefits including more supple, radiant, and glowing skin. If you don’t like salmon, you can opt for tofu or poultry instead. This diet also includes eggs, low-sugar fruits such as cantaloupe, berries, and apples, green vegetables, healthy fats derived from nuts and olive oil, and plenty of water. Learning about essential ingredients in food and skincare will help you better understand how and why this diet works. That’s why we strongly suggest purchasing a copy of The Perricone Prescription. It describes the science behind the diet and also includes the full 28-day menu plan.
Protein isn’t stored in your body, so you need to consistently provide it with a fresh supply through three meals and two snacks daily. This translates to “eat well, eat often.” That sounds like music to your ears, right? In addition to making healthy food choices, nutritional supplements will help increase your energy levels. And don’t forget to exercise since it is an essential component of any weight loss plan. A wealth of scientific evidence shows regular daily physical activity provides considerable anti-inflammatory benefits.
THE 28-DAY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET MENU
Here’s a sample one-day anti-inflammatory menu and two tasty recipes.
- 3-4 ounces smoked Nova Scotia salmon
- 1/2 cup slow-cooked oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon slivered almonds
- 8 ounces green tea or water
- 4-6 ounces grilled turkey burger (no bun)
- Lettuce and one tomato slice
- 1/2 cup three-bean salad (chickpeas, kidney, black beans dressed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a minced clove of garlic) served on a bed of cabbage leaves
- 8 ounces water
- 6 ounces unflavored Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon mixed-in pomegranate juice
- 8 ounces water
- 1 cup lentil soup
- Spiced Diver Scallops*
- Green salad dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice
- 2-inch wedge of cantaloupe
- 8 ounces water
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 2 celery sticks
- 3 Brazil nuts
- 8 ounces water
*SPICED DIVER SCALLOPS WITH ECUADORIAN TABOULEH
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon lemongrass powder
- 1/8 teaspoon togarashi pepper mix
- 10 fennel seeds
- 18 scallops, U-10 size, extra large
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a spice grinder, pulverize almonds, salt, lemongrass powder, togarashi pepper mix, and fennel seeds.
In a large bowl, toss scallops with spice mix and parsley.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add half the scallops. Cook 1 minute. Turn and cook an additional 1 minute, or until done. Remove scallops from pan and set aside. Cook the remaining scallops.
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 2 Pepino melons, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the quinoa under running water and place in a medium pan. Add the water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat; quinoa will be somewhat translucent. Fluff with fork and transfer quinoa to large bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, combine red onion, cilantro, mint, parsley, olive oil, and lemon and lime juice. Add avocado, tomatoes, and melon.
Add mixture to quinoa and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Eliminating foods at the start of an anti-inflammatory 28-day diet will likely be the most difficult aspect of your journey to better health, but when you see the results, you’ll realize it was worth it! And like so many other people who followed Dr. Perricone’s 28-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make these healthy changes sooner.