The Zone Diet
Lower Inflammation and Balanced Hormones with the Zone Diet
High levels of inflammation throughout the body can accelerate the process of many chronic diseases. Some of the diseases that are directly related to chronic inflammation in the body are heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Inflammation is often treated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as in arthritis treatment. Inflammation, however, can may also be helped with proper dieting. The standard diet in America increases chronic levels of inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. Cognitive decline, memory loss, and even Alzheimer's disease are all linked to chronic inflammation.
If you add to this unsavory soup unbalanced hormones, the risk of developing a chronic disease increases exponentially. Unbalanced hormones are also strongly linked to a diet that is heavy on animal protein and dairy products. If these products are not organic, animal protein and dairy products add unwanted extra hormones into the body, including antibiotics, artificial growth stimulants, and sugar.
The Zone Diet in a Nutshell
Dr. Barry Sears, PhD. recognized the need for an American diet overhaul. His background in biochemistry allowed him to meticulously analyze how our diet impacts inflammatory markers throughout the body, including sugar levels and hormonal changes. He determined that the optimal diet to counteract inflammation and promote hormone balance is comprised of a set ratio of high quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates he is referring to are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables similar to other healthy eating diets.
Sears' term for this balanced nutritional approach is the Zone Diet. This diet helps the body to run at peak efficiency by balancing sugar intake with sugar expenditure. The exact balance or ratio of fats, protein, and carbohydrates on the Zone diet is 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbohydrates. The fats included on the Zone diet are primarily found in canola oil, avocados, and macadamia nuts. Recommended carbohydrates on the Zone include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Starchy breads, pasta and snack foods are not allowed on the Zone diet.
The reason that these carbohydrates are restricted on the Zone diet is that they release glucose too quickly in the blood, which raises inflammation levels throughout the body and can also disturb hormonal balance. By adhering to this ratio over an extended period of time, Sears contends that you can lower blood pressure, ameliorate diabetes, and turn back the clock on heart disease. By sticking to the Zone diet, athletic performance will also likely increase.
Benefits of the Anti-Inflammatory Zone Diet
One of the primary goals of the Zone diet is to balance the hormones that control the level of sugar released into the blood stream. These hormones, insulin and glucagon, are essentially the gas and brake pedals in the body. There needs to be a balance in the storage and release of sugar in order for the body to run at peak performance. By adhering to the guidelines of the anti-inflammatory Zone diet, an individual will experience a more stable blood sugar level, which will generate an even energy level throughout the day. As the body begins to run with more ease, inflammatory markers will also drop, which will allow the body to begin to heal from many different chronic and degenerative diseases.