“Inflammation is in the background of every single major illness” – Julie Daniluk
Inflammation is actually a normal occurrence in the human body when it comes to the white blood cells’ job in fighting off foreign bodies. The problem is when the inflammation gets serious and repetitive. Chronic inflammation is the cause of numerous serious illnesses, including obesity, cancer, autoimmune and heart disease.
People’s poor grasp on what constitutes a good diet is one of the factors that could be blamed when inflammation gets out of hand. So, to minimize your risk of chronic inflammation and illnesses, try and remove the root cause first: unhealthy processed foods.
Processed food usually contains corn syrup, soy, processed vegetable oils, chemical additives, and components that cause inflammation in the body. By avoiding these foods, you’re also removing your risk of developing inflammation. You should also avoid refined sugar, fructose, grains, oxidized cholesterol, trans fats and foods that are cooked in high temperatures, especially if they are cooked with vegetable oil.
What can you replace these inflammatory foods with?
There are numerous healthy and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can eat which your body will thank you for, as you begin to heal at a cellular level. If you want to revamp your diet entirely, I suggest that you add the following foods that can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Leafy Greens
- Matcha Tea
- Fermented Vegetables and Cultured Food
- Shiitake Mushrooms
Another great way to give your body anti-inflammatory foods is with a daily smoothie packed with spices and in this week’s blog, I have picked a recipe that not only tastes great, but is simple and quick to make. Let’s take a look at the ingredients and the main benefits of this delicious drink;
Turmeric, the main spice in the Indian dish curry, is argued by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. The health benefits of turmeric are incredibly vast and very thoroughly researched. Currently, there are over 12,500 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits, especially one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for so many of its benefits. This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science. It has a long history of use, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional forms of medicine. Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant, which grows in India and other Southeast Asian countries. The dried root of this plant is ground into the distinctive yellow powder, giving it the name golden spice.
Why is turmeric good for you?
There are several chemical compounds found in this herb, known as curcuminoids. The active substance is curcumin. Curcumin is what makes turmeric a “functional food”, defined by the Mayo Clinic as “foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.”
What are the main benefits of turmeric?
- Fights Inflammation
- Boosts Skin Health
- May Outperform Common Arthritis Drug
- Could Treat or Prevent Certain Cancers
- May Help Manage Diabetes
- Combats Obesity
- Supports Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- May Regulate Cholesterol
- Works as a Natural Pain Reliever
- Aids in Detoxification
- May Slow or Prevent Blood Clots
- May Reduce Depression Symptoms
I highly recommend using turmeric in recipes and perhaps even purchasing it in supplement form to take advantage of the benefits. Make sure to add only organic turmeric to your food, and using a high-quality supplement made from organic turmeric, coupled with black pepper is best.
As one of the most used dietary condiments in the world today, it’s no wonder that the benefits of ginger are pretty impressive. With its spicy, peppery flavour and its extensive list of health benefits, ginger root is equal parts delicious and nutritious. It’s versatile, easy to use and has been associated with everything from beating motion sickness to better brain function. The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and content of therapeutic compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.
What is ginger good for and how can you incorporate it into your diet?
Available in fresh, dried, ground, capsule and juice form, ginger root is easy to add to the diet and can have a lasting impact on just about every aspect of health. Ginger is a flowering plant that is closely related to turmeric and cardamon. The underground stem of the ginger plant is commonly known as the ginger root and is well-known for its medicinal properties. Research is just beginning to scrape the surface when it comes to the multitude of benefits associated with ginger root, it’s clear that adding ginger root to your diet could have a powerful effect on health, as it contains a diverse array of many important vitamins and minerals and may help with the following;
- Easing Inflammation
- Promoting Proper Digestion
- Treating Nausea
- Fighting Fungal Infections
- Protecting Against Stomach Ulcers
- Easing Menstrual Pains
- Inhibit Cancer Growth
- Regulating Blood Sugar
- Relieving Joint and Muscle Pain
- Lowering Cholesterol Levels
- Improving Brain Function
- Blocking Bacterial Infections
Ginger root can be eaten fresh or ground, juiced or infused into your favourite beverages. Ginger root pills are also available in tablet or capsule form to supply you with a quick and concentrated dose of antioxidants. Additionally, ginger essential oil is also available and can be applied topically or taken internally for a boost of gingerol when using a food grade essential oil. You can also use ginger to make a homemade cough syrup, add a few tablespoons to a relaxing hot bath or mix it into a soothing foot soak.
Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of the widespread cinnamon benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes. Researchers have found that cinnamon ranks No.1 out of 26 of the most popular herbs and spices in the world in terms of its protective antioxidant levels. It also boasts a wide range of other health benefits, including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. There are two main types of cinnamon spice used today: Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. They each have a notable spicy taste and fragrance, which is due to the presence of cinnamaldehyde and both types also contain plenty of health benefits, but Ceylon cinnamon powder is actually considered to be more potent of the two. As little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity and more. However, stronger doses are also extremely beneficial for improving heart disease risk and cutting your risk of diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Cinnamon also supplies a wide variety of important nutrients and is especially rich in fiber and manganese along with several other vitamins and minerals.
Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree. The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature green coconuts. Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally. Instead, solid coconut flesh is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water. By contrast, coconut water is about 94% water. It contains much less fat and far fewer nutrients than coconut milk. Coconut milk is made by grating flesh from a brown coconut, soaking it in water and then straining it to produce a milk-like consistency. About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides. The milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. For the freshest, healthiest coconut milk, make your own by blending 1.5 – 2 cups (355 – 470 ml) of unsweetened shredded coconut with 4 cups of hot water, then strain through a cheese cloth.
Native to India and also called the King of Fruits, mangoes are known for their many benefits and are one of the most popular fruits across the world. Mangoes contain enzymes that aid in the breakdown and digestion of protein, and also fibre, which keeps the digestive tract working efficiently. Interestingly, mango flesh contains prebiotic dietary fibre, which helps feed good bacteria in the gut. You would be surprised to know that an average sized mango contains up to two-thirds of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant helps to boost your immune system and prevents colds/flu. Including mangoes in your diet may also help promote your eye health, because mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, which helps in the production of another antioxidant, Vitamin A. This helps to improve vision, boosts overall eye health and even prevents age-related macular degeneration or loss of vision. Eating mangoes could help regulate your cholesterol levels too. The high levels of fibre pectin may help bring down the LDL or bad cholesterol, which causes plaques in the vessels and blocks blood flow. Mangoes are both filled with skin-friendly Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which are crucial for healthy skin and skin repair. Mangoes, eaten in moderation could also help in weight loss. The phytochemicals in the mango skin act as natural fat busters. On eating high-fibre fruits or veggies you should feel full for a longer time, which prevents you from tucking into other high fat snacks.
Bananas contain a convenient source of energy, which is perfect for right before a workout. They are also rich in vital post-workout nutrients that can help repair muscle tissues and balance water retention. High in several key vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese, they also contain small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron, zinc and selenium. Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium in the world, which is crucial for those who are physically active. Potassium acts as an electrolyte, promotes circulatory health, helps manage blood flow and hydration levels within the body and makes it possible for oxygen to reach your cells. It helps lower blood pressure by counteracting the effect of sodium within the blood to keep your heart working efficiently. Potassium also assists in the prevention of muscle cramps following exercise and helps heal and build muscle more effectively. This makes it an especially important nutrient for anyone who is physically active as well as those recovering from an injury.
CHIA / FLAXSEED
These Omega-3 seeds truly make the perfect addition to green smoothie recipes, with their high fibre, protein and anti-inflammatory properties. Having chia seeds in the morning in your smoothie is a great way to fill up and keep your blood sugar stable until lunch time, giving you lasting energy and freeing you from junk food cravings while you’re out and about. Several nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and thiamine can be found in Flaxseeds and just two tablespoons per day can give you many benefits such as;
- Magnesium helps improve mood and sleep.
- Manganese plays a role in collagen production and promotes skin and bone health.
- Phosphorus helps form cell structures and supports bone health.
- Copper is involved with energy and collagen production and is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Thiamine also plays a role in energy production, and helps support the nervous system as well.
It’s a great idea to alternate these seeds in your smoothies, so make sure to switch them up for maximum benefits. Also, it is important to note that when buying flaxseeds you should always choose the whole seed version and grind them yourself before use. The reason being; pre-ground flaxseed has been exposed to oxygen longer; oxygen causes polyunsaturated fats to break down and oxidise, which can make the product rancid and of little benefit to the body. The same can be said for heat and light, therefore always store your flaxseeds in a cool and dark place.
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 Fresh Banana
- ½ Cup Frozen Mango
- ½ Tablespoon Ginger Powder
- ½ Tablespoon Curcumin Powder
- ½ Tablespoon Cinnamon Powder
- ½ Tablespoon Chia or Flaxseeds
Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender, mix until it is smooth, pour into your favourite glass and simply enjoy. If you find this smoothie too thick, you can simply add water until it is the consistency you prefer.
For a selection of high quality Organic Superfoods made in Mexico, check out our store and start making those healthy antioxidant smoothies today.
Remember…YOUR PATH TO HEALTH STARTS HERE…a small change today can mean a big impact tomorrow. You can find the ingredients for this recipe by clicking on the direct links above.
Healthy Options Market...helping you begin your journey to a healthier new you, with the best superfoods and health products that Mexico has to offer.
The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Healthy Options Market. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright. They are solely intended to spark discussion and the thought process behind issues pertaining to general health, wellness and are for sharing knowledge and information on research only. They are not medical advice. Always seek the advice of a Professional Healthcare Provider when making any decisions regarding your health.