I am beginning a series of newsletters to support you on your journey to achieving vibrant health for yourself, your family, and your loved ones. Teaching has been my passion for many, many years, and I am so happy to be able to share my knowledge with you. No matter your current state of health, reaching higher levels of wellness is life changing. I will be offering education, motivation, inspiration, and more to help move you further on this journey. Remember, it is a step-by-step process, and it is extremely rewarding and exciting.
Adding foods to your diet that help to lower inflammation is important. Certain foods, like sugar, can significantly increase the level of inflammation in our bodies. Stress and a lack of physical activity can add to inflammation. Please understand that the following discussion is not about fear. It is about helping to resolve the problem. It is about education and taking the necessary steps to help relieve inflammation and the damage that it can cause.
Inflammation and Its Effect on Healthy Aging
Most people believe that trouble focusing and forgetfulness are a part of aging. Scientific research clearly shows that inflammation speeds up the aging process and that decreasing inflammation may very well be one of the most important things you can do to stay well for longer. More and more evidence is showing that inflammation may also boost the production of cholesterol. Our bodies automatically try to protect the lining of blood vessels and arteries from damage that can lead to unhealthy levels of buildup and cardiovascular issues. When your body feels sore and stiff, and you are experiencing everyday aches and pains in joints and muscles, it is likely that inflammation is the culprit. If you are experiencing redness, itching, dry skin, or other skin discomfort, inflammation can be part of the problem.
Our gut microbiome is extremely complex. There are many issues that may contribute to the disruption of the microbiome. Inflammation in the intestines is mainly caused by undigested food in the large intestine. Foods that contain anti-inflammatory compounds may help to decrease inflammation. Some of these foods include olive oil, certain fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts and seeds, and seafood.
It helps to include the following in your diet: berries, fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, avocado, green tea, peppers, mushrooms, grapes, turmeric, extra virgin olive oil (raw), dark chocolate, cocoa, tomatoes, and cherries. Berries are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain a high amount of antioxidants and anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce your risk of disease. Fatty fish provide a good supply of proteins and long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, and some of the best sources are salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. Nuts and seeds also are an excellent source of fatty acids and protein. Flax seeds and hemp seeds are a great source of omega fatty acids and are delicious in smoothies and sprinkled over salads. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale, all cruciferous vegetables, are rich in antioxidants that help to decrease inflammation. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and powerful antioxidants like quercetin. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can consume, but when cooked it can cause high cholesterol, as can all oils. Raw extra virgin oil is much more flavorful and healthy. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and has numerous health benefits. Dark chocolate is such a delicious treat and is packed with antioxidants. Tomatoes are very nutritious. They are high in lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C and are an impressive anti-inflammatory. Other healthy food choices that help fight inflammation include onions, garlic, mushrooms, citrus fruits, pomegranates, soaked nuts and seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Please note that I am always referring to organically grown when talking about any kind of food.
Sugar in any form can cause inflammation. Any kind of pasta, whether or not it’s gluten-free or whole grain, turns into sugar in the body and can cause painful inflammation. A better choice would be to use a spiralized vegetable such as zucchini, summer squash, or root vegetable, as a substitute. They are all delicious when you add your homemade pasta sauce and can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
Enzyme Nutrition Is Essential
We need essential nutrients to help keep the body healthy. Part of this is not simply consuming the proper foods but supporting and making sure the digestive process is activated and complete. Digestive enzymes are crucial in the digestion of food, the assimilation of nutrients, the reduction of toxic buildup in the small and large intestine (detoxification), and the effective and efficient movement of waste through the colon. Environmental factors such as pesticide and herbicide use, radiation, and fluoridation can also damage the enzymes in uncooked food. Cooking food not only damages digestive enzymes, it destroys them. Every food (when raw) contains the appropriate enzyme profile for digestion. Additionally, as we age, enzyme activity diminishes in the body.
It is also extremely important to understand that, when necessary, the body can borrow enzymes from its metabolic enzyme bank. You absolutely, positively do not want this to happen. Your metabolic enzyme bank affects every chemical and biochemical action and reaction that happens in your body. It's a strong part of your immune system. You do not want to deplete your metabolic enzyme bank or borrow from it. This is only one reason to take a quality, organic digestive enzyme complex with each meal. Taking digestive enzymes with every meal, cooked or uncooked, is also important so that the body does not have to use additional energy to take extra enzymatic steps. One of the philosophies behind eating raw foods and taking digestive enzymes is that doing so supports our bodies in helping to maintain a strong immune system.
To learn more about the importance of digestive enzymes, the different types of enzymes, and other factors that contribute to enzyme deficiency, please visit the Advanced Enzymes product page.
Following is a delicious, healthy, easy-to-prepare broccoli soup. It is so good and is easy for the body to digest and assimilate.
CREAM OF BROCCOLI*
Garnish: Lemon Wedge
1½ C Cashews, soaked in purified water for 6 hours
4 C Broccoli Florets
2–3 Heart of Celery Stalks, chopped
4–5 C Purified Water
½ Medium Onion, chopped
¼ C Fresh Lemon Juice
1½ t Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt or 3/4 t Dulse Flakes
Drain water from cashews and place them in a food processor with blade.
Add 2 C water and process until creamy.
Add remaining ingredients except for broccoli.
Blend until thoroughly combined.
Add broccoli and process until desired consistency is achieved.
Pour into serving bowl and let mixture stand for 1 hour for flavors to meld.
For a warm soup, place the bowl in a dehydrator at 118 degrees for 30 minutes
or in the oven on a low temperature for 30 minutes.
A Few Nutritional Benefits of the Broccoli Soup Ingredients
The above soup provides some exemplary nutritional benefits. The cashews contain magnesium, B vitamins, and copper. Copper is a very important mineral for health. It is extremely important to get it in a food form; copper is not present in many foods. Broccoli is very high in sulforaphane, a phytochemical that helps to prevent many health challenges. Celery is an anti-inflammatory food with many health benefits. Onions are a very strong anti-inflammatory food. Lemons help keep the body more alkaline, which helps with inflammation. Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt, and dulse are extremely high in minerals.
*The above recipe is excerpted from my raw and live foods book, Living Simply Raw.