The importance of anti-inflammatory foods

Recently I’ve had a lot of client and readers ask questions about inflammation and what are the most anti-inflammatory foods they should be consuming, as well as those foods to avoid.

Trying to keep it in the most simple terms as possible, below is the main difference between acute and chronic inflammation.  I have also included a list of foods to totally avoid, as well as those you should be consuming daily. It’s so important to include foods these foods that promote the anti-inflammation to avoid illness, fatigue, chronic pain and more.

Acute Inflammation

Acute inflammation is a natural defense mechanism that is initiated when body tissue is damaged.  Typically, inflammation is a healthy immune response to injury, illness, or infection. “Healthy” inflammation carries isolates, identifies and removes bad bacteria and cells. The inflammatory response prevents the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissues, disposes of cell debris, and sets the stage for the repair process. It is crucial for our bodies in recovery and healing to experience acute inflammation to encourage recovery, as well as to protect surrounding healthy cells and tissue. The redness, swelling, and pain are all signs of healthy inflammation when our bodies are recovering.

Chronic Inflammation

After the healing process has come to an end, the inflammation response should too. However, in many cases inflammation continues, whether it was brought on from trauma or was present before any healing process has even begun. Chronic inflammation is when our body is unable to turn off the inflammatory response and starts to attack the surrounding healthy tissue. It can manifest in your gut, destroying stomach lining and causing digestive issues, may attack arteries causing heart disease, or in your joints, resulting in arthritis. Many of us experience chronic inflammation, whether we are aware of it or not. Chronic inflammation in our system is caused from poor diet, high stress, and an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Chronic inflammation is the number one factor for numerous health issues and is the culprit for most illness and disease such as cancer, joint disease, autoimmune disease, and heart disease.

As you can see, it is crucial to keep inflammation under control. Be sure to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get adequate rest, and aim to reduce stress in all areas of your life.  It is also a good idea to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined grains, alcohol, processed foods, among others. Also, lifestyle suggestions that will help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system are meditation, yoga, exercise, any stress reducing activities, acupuncture, and massage.    TopAntiInflammatoryFoods

  Top Anti-inflammatory Foods

Ginger

Turmeric

Garlic Leafy Greens (spinach)

Beets

Fatty Fish (wild caught Alaskan Salmon, Sardines, Black Cod)

Healthy Fats (Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, expeller pressed coconut oil, nut: walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seed/oil)

Berries and Lemons

                           Pro- inflammatory Foods/Additives to Avoid

Processed Foods

Refined Grains (white bread and pasta Sugar Feed-lot raised meat (fed soy, corn and processed grains) Dairy (limit)
Alcohol Gluten Trans Fats

Omega 6 Fatty Acids (found in low quality oils used in most packaged foods)

MSG

 

 

          List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Alfalfa Alfalfa Sprouts Almonds Artichoke Avocado Barley Grass Basil Bee Pollen Beef-grass fed, organic Beets
Boy Choy Boston Lettuce Brussels Sprouts Buckwheat Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Cayenne Pepper Celery Chard
Cherries Chives Cilantro Cinnamon Cucumber Cumin seed Eggplant Endive Fennel Seed Figs
Garlic Ginger Horseradish Root Jicama Kale Kamut Lemons Lentils Leeks Limes
Mushrooms Mustard Greens Navy Beans Onion Oregano Onion Oregano Parsnips Peas Pecans
Pumpkin Radishes Rutabaga Salmon-wild caught Sardines Sea Vegetables Seaweed Sesame Seeds Spelt Spinach
Sprouted Seeds Squash Sweet Potato Tomatoes Turmeric Turnips Walnuts Wheat Grass Yams

 

 

Re-New Week Day 2: Cayenne and L-Glutamine

With processed foods, chemical & artificial additives, over use of antibiotics, and stress  no wonder our gut lining is increasingly weakened. Digestive discomfort and disorders are more prevalent today than ever before. The first and foremost preventative or corrective measure is a healthy diet –  lots of vegetables, super foods, fish and lean meat (best to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess dairy, limit OTC drugs and antibiotics).

However, aside from a clean diet it is also a good idea to introduce a daily probiotic.  A probiotic is mostly healthy bacterium that reduces harmful bacteria and helps prevent infections in the digestive tract as well as reducing inflammation. It is crucial to have a healthy digestive system, as 80% percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Symptoms of digestive disorders vary, from indigestion, bloat, constipation, candida, even depression and mood swings.

Seeing how important is to keep your digestion in top shape, there are other natural aids to help support gut health. The amino acid L- Glutamine is a wonderful supplement for a healthy stomach and digestive system.  It is one of my favorites to add to smoothies for all of its wide range of health benefits.

First, L-glutamine is known to dramatically strengthen the stomach lining. It provides cells in the digestive tract with a crucial source of energy which aids in development of new cells, as well as increases the absorption capability of existing cells.  L-Glutamine helps with water absorption in the gut, which in turn aids in hydrating the entire body. Always a plus!

Aside from assisting in healthy digestion and gut repair, L-Glutamine works as an inherent neurotransmitter, aiding in healthy brain function and memory recollection. It is greatly used by athletes, as it helps to rebuild muscle while simultaneously breaks down fat.  In addition L-glutamine is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, enhance immune performance and fight infection, speed metabolism and may even decrease sugar and alcohol cravings.

The best way to take L-Glutamine is in powder form, making it readily digested. Add recommended dosage in your morning smoothie or juice and enjoy all of the wonderful health benefits it has to offer!

In addition to the daily probiotic, I added L-Glutamine to our smoothie today. I also added a serving of Spirulina, one of my favorite superfoods.    It is a micro-alga that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids.  Spirulina is great to add during our digestive restoration week, as it helps produce healthy stomach flora and  that repromote digestion. It is also has a high content of calcium, vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, as well as iron and beta-carotene. Spirulina stimulates and boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body of pollutants and heavy metals. It is high in Chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, removing toxins from your system. Last but not least, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects.

Today’s Cucumber Melon Cayenne Smoothie contains loads of alkalizing vegetables and fruits, as well as the therapeutic spice- cayenne.    Cayenne is well-known for its digestive aid properties, among many other health benefits. It stimulates the digestive tract, which increases the flow of enzyme production, aiding is metabolizing food. It also reduces acid (very alkaline forming!), relieves gas and bloat, and helps digestion with absorption and elimination. It also aids in the digestive process by stimulating saliva. Cayenne also supports cardiovascular healthy, weight loss, natural detox, relieves joint pain and migraines, and has many anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and ant-fungal properties. Cayenne is a great ant-flu and anti-cold agent as well, as it breaks down mucus and flushes from the body.

pepper

 

Superfood Profile : Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an amazing superfood, especially for athletes. As athletes, we strive to achieve optimal endurance and strength, proper hydration, and muscle building and repair.  Chia seeds can help you attain all of these.

The tiny black and white seeds come from an ancient plant used for its nutritional benefits and medicinal uses.  The seeds were used by the Incans, Mayans and Aztecs and were considered a magical seed, providing strength and stamina over long periods of times.  The running messengers relied heavily on them, carrying a small pouch around to provide sustainable energy on their long journeys. The word “Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength.

As scientists and researchers are realizing the lack of certain key nutrients in the Standard American Diet (SAD), they are turning to history for natural solutions.  There has been much research over the past few years on the powerful nutritional benefits of the chia seed.

Chia seeds are rich in trace minerals, vitamins, fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more. They have a rich concentration of essential fatty acids, with an almost perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 for healthy tissue and muscle maintenance and repair. Chia seeds are considered to be hydrophilic, meaning they absorb large amounts of water quickly (10x their weight). Thus, they are great enhancers of hydration, as well as promoters of electrolyte balance-  key elements for peak  performance.  Chia seeds are a great pre-workout superfood for the obvious endurance and hydrating benefits.

In addition, they contain large amounts of calcium, potassium and iron. These are essential vitamins and minerals that are lost through sweat and muscle contraction, making chia seeds a great post- workout and restorative snack as well. They are easily absorbed and digested, resulting in quick transportation and utilization of the tissues and cells. Chia seeds also contain protein, also essential for post-workout recovery –  aiding in muscle building and repair.

I’ve touched most of the benefits this powerful little seed has to offer. You can see why these are a great addition to any diet – especially for athletes and those looking to improve stamina and performance.  Try for yourself first hand and start reaping the benefits of this mighty little seed!

How to incorporate chia seeds:

  • Put 1 tsp in glass of water and stir. Allow to sit for about ten minutes. Sip pre- or post- workout.
  • In a seal tight container, add ¼ cup chia seeds to 1 cup water. Refrigerate overnight. This will form chia ‘gel’ which is great for smoothies and yogurt parfaits.
  • Add to any of your favorite granola, granola bar, or overnight oats recipes.
  • Make chia seed pudding (recipe below).

magic-chia-seeds3

 Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 cups almond milk (could also use coconut milk or soy milk)
¾ cup chia seeds
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. maple syrup or agave

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  • Stir for about 1-2 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken
  • Stir every 5-10 minutes over an hour
  • Can be stored in the fridge or eaten immediately
  • Serve plain or topped with fruit and whipped cream