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Protein may help prevent autoimmune conditions like diabetes, lupus, arthritis and multiple sclerosis

March 23, 2017

Fatty acids might be one reason. Omega-3 fatty acids are critical in preventing inflammation, while omega-6 fatty acids promote it.

"We need both in the diet, but the ratio is changing," Weil said. One possibility is that grass-fed animals store omega-3 in their fat. But today's meat is finished on grain, a source of omega-6 fatty acids.

The science, however, is still evolving. In a 2003 study published in the journal Circulation, Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that omega-6 fatty acids did not inhibit the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids and that people with high amounts of both omega-3 and omega-6 had the lowest levels of chronic inflammation.

The diet itself stresses eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including wild salmon - not farm-raised - sardines, herring and walnuts.

Omega-3s can also be obtained through hempseed, flax seed and flax oil. Ginger and turmeric can be powerful anti-inflammatory agents, but the effects take time to kick in.

Pro-inflammatory foods to avoid include red meats, commercial baked goods with trans fats, saturated fats, fried foods, carbonated drinks, margarine and many microwavable foods.

Other major aspects of the diet, according to Challem, include eating a variety of fresh and whole foods, including fresh vegetables; eating more fish, especially cold-water varieties; eating lean meats (not corn-fed); and cooking with olive oil.