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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Neal Barnard's Meal Plan Anti-Inflammatory

I know you've all been wondering about this, and couldn't wait for someone to hurry up and tackle the question. So I used the tools at Nutritiondata to work it out, (depending especially on Monica Reinagel's Inflammation Factor to estimate the inflammatory potential of foods) First I entered recipes for Barnard's Fruit Smoothie, Lebanese-Style Lentils and Pasta, Orange Applesauce Date Cake, Blackeyed Pea and Sweet Potato Soup, and Creamy Poppyseed Dressing. More or less. I got a little agitated with the interface and left out some of the seasonings. Next, I used these recipes to create Menues as Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner from Day 1 of his "7 Days of Healthful Meals". Barnard doesn't talk much about how many calories you should get in a day or what serving sizes to use to meet those requirements, so I guessed on how much oatmeal to serve myself for breakfast, how much soup to have for lunch, etc.

According to Nutritiondata, breakfast was mildly inflammatory, lunch was strongly anti-inflammatory, and dinner was mildly anti-inflamatory. When I added up all 3 meals and the smoothie, I wound up with 1704 calories for the day, an estimated glycemic load of 127, (which some diabetics might consider a tad high), and an inflammation factor of 82, which is mildly anti-inflammatory. That inflammation factor is a good feature. After-meal inflammation seems to be an important contributor to heart disease. It contributes to a whole cascade of bad things, from higher triglyceride levels to smaller cholesterol particles, to high blood pressure, to artery damage, fatty plaque deposits, plaque eruptions, and blood clotting. I was just reading about it all once again in a medscape article about triglycerides -- it's not a pretty picture.

All in all, it looks like Barnard's diet is good for the heart.