If you want to eat for long-term health, lowering inflammation is crucial.
Inflammation in the body causes or contributes to many debilitating, chronic illnesses — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease,Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer.
That’s why, as a doctor and founder of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, I recommend my patients eat a diet focused on anti-inflammatory principles.
Recent research finds that eating this way not only helps protect against certain diseases, but it also slows the aging process by stabilizing blood sugar and increasing metabolism.
Plus, although the goal is to optimize health, many people find they also lose weight by following an anti-inflammatory eating pattern.
Here, I’m sharing the 11 principles I recommend everyone incorporate into their diet for optimal health:
1. Consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day.
A fiber-rich diet helps reduce inflammation by supplying naturally occurring anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods.
To get your fill of fiber, seek out whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The best sources include whole grains such as barley and oatmeal; vegetables like okra, eggplant, and onions; and a variety of fruits like bananas (3 grams of fiber per banana) and blueberries (3.5 grams of fiber per cup).
2. Eat a minimum of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
One “serving” is half a cup of a cooked fruit or vegetable, or one cup of a raw leafy vegetable.
For an extra punch, add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices — such asturmeric and ginger — to your cooked fruits and vegetables to increase their antioxidant capacity.
3. Eat four servings of both alliums and crucifers every week.
Alliums include garlic, scallions, onions, and leek, while crucifers refer to vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
Because of their powerful antioxidant properties, consuming a weekly average of four servings of each can help lower your risk of cancer.
If you like the taste, I recommend eating a clove of garlic a day!
4. Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories.
By keeping saturated fat low (that’s about 20 grams per 2,000 calories), you’ll help reduce the risk of heart disease.
You should also limit red meat to once per week and marinate it with herbs, spices, and tart, unsweetened fruit juices to reduce the toxic compoundsformed during cooking.
5. Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis — conditions that often have a high inflammatory process at their root.
Aim to eat lots of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like flax meal, walnuts, and beans such as navy, kidney and soy. I also recommend taking a good-quality omega-3 supplement.
And of course, consume cold-water fish such as salmon, oysters, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, and anchovies. Speaking of which:
6. Eat fish at least three times a week.
Choose both low-fat fish such as sole and flounder, and cold-water fish that contain healthy fats, like the ones mentioned above.
7. Use oils that contain healthy fats.
The body requires fat, but choose the fats that provide you with benefits.
Virgin and extra-virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed canola are the best bets for anti-inflammatory benefits. Other options include high-oleic, expeller-pressed versions of sunflower and safflower oil.
8. Eat healthy snacks twice a day.
If you’re a snacker, aim for fruit, plain or unsweetened Greek-style yogurt (it contains more protein per serving), celery sticks, carrots, or nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts.
9. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars.
This includes any food that contains high-fructose corn syrup or is high in sodium, which contribute to inflammation throughout the body.
Avoid refined sugars whenever possible and artificial sweeteners altogether. The dangers of excess fructose have been widely cited and include increased insulin resistance (which can lead to type-2 diabetes), raised uric acid levels,raised blood pressure, increased risk of fatty liver disease, and more.
10. Cut out trans fats.
In 2006, the FDA required food manufacturers to identify trans fats on nutrition labels, and for good reason — studies show that people who eat foods high in trans fats have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker for inflammation in the body.
A good rule of thumb is to always read labels and steer clear of products that contain the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oils.” Vegetable shortenings, select margarines, crackers, and cookies are just a few examples of foods that might contain trans fats.
11. Sweeten meals with phytonutrient-rich fruits, and flavor foods with spices.
Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with important phytonutrients. In order to naturally sweeten your meals, try adding apples, apricots, berries, and even carrots.
And for flavoring savory meals, go for spices that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, including cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage, and thyme.
If you are new to all this what, you may very well ask, are Super Foods?
Well amongst the better known are blueberries, kale and salmon. No doubt you will have heard countless times about the nutritional benefits of these everyday ingredients, commonly labelled “Super Foods.”
There’s no official scientific definition of a Super Food, but it’s generally accepted that Super Foods contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease.
While there are a number of common foods that provide these nutrients, there is also an array of more exotic and less mainstream Super foods that are worth getting to know. These include Kefir, Acai, Maca and mangosteens but more about these next week.
Today we are going to focus on one of the best known and loved Super foods the Avocado.
As super foods go, they don’t come much more versatile than the avocado. The soft, creamy consistency and the mild, nutty flavour pair with just about anything, adding a generous portion of healthy fats, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin K and folate to your plate. Delicious at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack time, it’s little wonder that avocados are one of the most popular and widely grown fruits around the world.
To celebrate the avocado in all it’s smooth, buttery glory, here’s a list of 16 ways to use them.
1. On their own, with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Himalayan Salt. An excellent energy boosting snack!
2. Paired with scrambled eggs and bacon for a classic paleo breakfast!
3. With tomatoes: Avocados and tomatoes pair exceptionally well together, and as it turns out, that’s no co-incidence. When paired together, avocados increase the absorption of lycopene, the cancer-preventing antioxidant found in tomatoes. In a study by the University of Ohio, pairing avocado with tomatoes improved lycopene absorption by 400%!
4. Cut into wedges and added to almost any salad
5. Guacamole: Mash two ripe avocados with the juice of half a lime, half a clove crushed garlic, two finely chopped spring onions, one red chilli (optional), salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Ideal for Mexican dishes, burgers and salads!
6. Added to smoothies for extra creaminess
7. Sliced on top of a home-made chilli
8. Coconut crusted avocado fries. Need we say any more?
9. Added to burgers, along with caramelised onions
10. Paired with grilled chicken and a dash of cayenne pepper
11. Avocado pesto: For a twist on the classic pesto, mash a ripe avocado together with pine nuts, fresh basil, a squeeze of lemon and a little garlic.
12. Halved and topped with a generous splash of hot sauce
13. Raw chocolate making: Believe it or not, avocados are fantastic for making healthy desserts – especially those that involve chocolate! Use them in brownies, chocolate mousse, truffles and cakes to add a wonderful creaminess.
14. Avocado ice cream: Blend an avocado, a frozen banana, 200ml coconut milk and a dash of vanilla extract. Leave in the freezer for 3-4 hours, mixing every hour or so. Allow to thaw slightly before serving, topped with fresh berries!
And they’re not just for eating, either…
15. As a face mask: Great for dry and sensitive complexions, avocado face masks are an excellent way to provide your skin with much needed hydration and nutrients. Avocado oil is used in many of the leading anti-aging moisturisers and treatment lotions – but to save yourself some money, use the whole fruit instead! Our favourite avocado face mask combines three tbsp mashed avocado, one tsp raw honey, and one tsp macadamia oil. Apply to face for 10 – 15 minutes once a week for a serious complexion boost!
16. As a hair mask: Avocado is amazing for dry hair. Combine half a mashed avocado with an egg yolk and a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage into hair from root to tip, then leave to set for 30 minutes before rinsing. When avocado is combined with egg yolk and oil, it acts as a humectant, infusing moisture deep into the hair cells.
How do you use your avocados?
The Health Benefits Of Tea + 15 Teas For Any Ailment
Have you noticed the rise in popularity of tea drinking where you live? Tea shops are popping up as often as coffee houses! Beyond just the charm of drinking tea, science supports the health benefits of tea. Tea is wonderful for you! Black, green, oolong, herbal, white – there are so many choices. Let’s discuss the benefits of each type of tea and when to drink them.
1. GREEN TEA
Green tea is one of the lesser processed teas, therefore it’s high in antioxidants, specifically catechins. Catechins help fight cell damage, so to preserve the catechins it’s recommended that green tea be steeped with water no hotter than 170 degrees. One of the greatest benefits of green tea is its effects on healthy cell growth which have widespread advantages for our bodies, inside and out. Use it topically in an infused coconut oil moisturizer to fight sun damage. Green tea reduces bad cholesterol and although there is caffeine in it, which boosts metabolism and aids in weight loss, green tea can have a relaxing and calming effect.
2. BLACK TEA
Black tea actually comes from the same plant as green tea, but the tea leaves are exposed to oxygen and this oxidization turns the leaves black. Black tea is known for it’s larger amounts of caffeine and antioxidants. The benefits of black tea include lowering risk of heart disease and diabetes, encouraging a healthy immune system and regulating blood sugar levels. If you need digestive help, black tea in small doses is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties as well.
3. OOLONG TEA
Falling between green and black teas, you’ll find oolong, with its partially oxidized leaves. Oolong provides the benefits of both black and green teas, and with it, a fruity flavor. Oolong is often the tea of choice for weight management and is known to help alleviate skin conditions. A word of caution – oolong tea can be very high in caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, drink in moderation.
CINNAMON OOLONG TEA
- 12 oolong tea bags
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- hot water
Steep tea bags and cinnamon sticks in hot water (about 190 degrees) for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. For iced tea, pour over ice.
4. WHITE TEA
White tea reigns as the least processed type of tea, making its antioxidant properties the highest. It also has the least amount of caffeine of the caffeinated teas. White tea can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is antibacterial.
HEALING HERBAL TEAS
There are several types of herbal teas, however none are produced from tea leaves. Herbal teas, or herbal tisanes, are usually made from dried fruits, herbs, roots, bark, berries or flowers. Infusions are made by blending any number of these together. Herbal teas are caffeine free and generally safe for children and pregnant women. These teas can be high in minerals (Rooibos), cold and flu fighters (Ginger), alleviate insomnia (Hibiscus), help clear a stuffy nose (Peppermint), lessen menopausal symptoms (Red Clover), stimulate digestion (Dandelion), aid colicky babies (Chamomile), and fight viruses (Cinnamon).
Rooibos, also called Red Bush Tea, comes from South Africa. It is naturally caffeine-free and contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. Both of these compounds block the release of histamine (the chemical our bodies produce in response to allergens). Rooibos may also have benefits for skin irritations and contain cancer fighting properties.
The oil and menthol found in peppermint can have a therapeutic effect, acting as a decongestant and an anti-inflammatory, while also helping to suppress the appetite. The verdict is still out on whether is soothes or exacerbates an upset stomach, so contact your doctor before taking peppermint if you have a condition like GERD.
7. DRIED GINGER
Ginger has so many amazing healing properties! When it comes to allergies and colds, its natural antihistamine is a boon. And ginger’s anti-inflammatory abilities can soothe the stomach, relieve sore muscles, and lessen the strength of menstrual cramps. Going on a boat? Drink ginger tea to ease motion sickness. And of course we are all familiar with ginger’s natural kick, which makes it a great flavor booster even in small amounts.
8. STINGING NETTLE
You might have less than fond memories of stinging nettles from your childhood. These are the same nettles, but they turn from harmful to healthy when boiled into tea. Nettles are the most often recommended remedy for seasonal allergies and can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. This is also an herb to try for anyone suffering from arthritis or who need a quick boost of energy.
9. YERBA MATE
Yerba Mate is very popular in South America. It contains natural caffeine and works to produce corticosteroids, which act as an anti-inflammatory in response to allergens. This can help open up respiratory passages and increase oxygen intake. Yerba Mate can also lowers lipids, leading to reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
10. LEMON BALM
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family, but has a lemony scent, hence its name. Widely known for its calming effects, lemon balm can also help with the common cold and other respiratory issues. Lemon balm alleviates digestive problems, such as an upset stomach and gas, and also works well for painful ailments like a headache or toothache.
Long used throughout Europe and Asia to treat sleep and stomach troubles, chamomile is becoming quite popular in North America. While its sleep-inducing properties are well known, chamomile can also soothe puffy eyes and be used as an anti-bacterial mouthwash. A word of caution to allergy sufferers though, the chamomile plant is a relative of ragweed..
Hands down, Hibiscus is a favorite tea choice to cool off with during the summer. In addition to being refreshing, hibiscus also has properties that help lower blood pressure, especially for those with diabetes. Other reasons to drink hibiscus? It’s naturally high in vitamins, like vitamin C, and acts as a natural diuretic.
13. RED CLOVER
Red Clover is most often associated with its ability to lessen menopausal symptoms, but it can help men, too. This herb can reduce one’s PSA, the marker used to determine if you are at risk for prostrate cancer. Of benefit to men and women are the isoflavones found in red clover, which help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Dandelion tea is popular because it acts as a diuretic to stimulate digestion. Less commonly known is that dandelion root is used medicinally to treat hepatitis, jaundice and dyspepsia. And it should be mentioned that dandelion tea lessens hot flashes and combats the formation of kidney stones.
Rounding out our list of teas is cinnamon, the super spice of the herb world. Consider it if you’re interested in lowering cholesterol, fighting viruses, increasing your antioxidants or alleviating systems of arthritis.
Read more at http://hellonatural.co/the-health-benefits-of-tea-15-teas-for-any-ailment/#YiduTC2kQbG2UJ8q.99
Superfoods are foods that are high in nutrie
nts and health-giving properties.
Eating a diet rich in superfoods should help to control weight, curb hunger pangs and cravings, protect from diseases and boost the immune system.
But knowing what to eat and how to eat it can be confusing. Getting the most out of superfoods means a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in rich colours, as well as lean meats and oily fish.
Here is our top 10 must-have superfoods:
1. Almonds: Packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre. Almonds make a great addition to any salad or dessert. Almond milk is also a nutritious dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk.
2. Bananas: Rich in potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, they strengthen the immune system as they contain cytolcin which is believed to increase white blood cells. Bananas give a natural energy boost and help to reduce stress levels because of their tryptophan content, a chemical that converts to the feel-good hormone serotonin.
3. Butternut squash: The deep yellow colour means it’s high in beta carotene, which helps to protect against skin cancer.
4. Chia seeds: The richest source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, loaded with antioxidants, high in protein, minerals and fibre. Chia seeds swell to more than five times their weight in liquid, so they’ll help make you feel quicker, and can help with weight loss.
5. Chocolate/raw cacao: Dairy-free 70 percent cocoa or higher elevates your mood, improves your blood flow and can lower blood pressure. It helps reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol and contains heaps of antioxidants.
Raw cacao is even better as none of the nutrients are lost in heat treatment, so make up your own raw chocolates instead. Raw cacao contains more antioxidants than acai, goji or blueberries.
6. Cinnamon: Stabilises blood sugar levels and encourages blood flow through the body.
7. Coconut oil: Quickly and easily absorbed by the body, so it’s an easy source of energy that may help you burn more fat. It helps to protect against heart disease and slightly lowers cholesterol.
It is excellent for cooking as it does not form harmful trans fats when heated, even at high temperatures. Use in place of butter and oil in cooking. A small pinch of salt can be added to savoury recipes to reduce the coconut flavour.
8. Cumin: Contains anti-inflammatory properties and also helps reduce bloating.
9. Greek yoghurt: An excellent source of calcium, potassium,protein, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. Contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose than regular yoghurt, but with twice the amount of protein. Eat with fresh berries instead of shop-bought fruit yoghurt, which can be high in sugar.
10. Hemp: A good source of protein, especially relevant to vegans. Contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and is thought to be energy boosting.