Health Tip #66

Health Tip 66

Health Tip #53

health-tip-53

Article to come…

Health Tip #37

health-tip-37

Chronic Inflammation is a precursor to degenerative diseases and to us meeting an earlier end.  Chronic inflammation can often be silent, or go unnoticed until symptoms of degenerative disease begin to show themselves.  The best way to offset this tendency toward degeneration is to add in anti-inflammatory foods.  As it turns out, anti-inflammatory foods are the real, whole foods we have been discussing thus far.

Vegetables and Fruits

As we have discussed before, brightly colored fruits and vegetables should cover the majority of your plate at any meal.  We should try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.  Some of the best anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables include berries like blueberries, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale).  When considering brightly colored produce, don’t forget about the anti-inflammatory herbs we discussed in the last post such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.  Fermented vegetables such as kimchee, pickles and sauerkraut should also be considered.  Shiitake mushrooms are also an anti-inflammatory addition as they help to mitigate oxidative stress.

Grains and Legumes

If including grains and legumes in the diet, make sure they are whole, soaked or fermented and properly prepared for proper digestion.  Flour based, processed grains should be avoided.  As we’ve discussed in a previous posts, rather or not gluten is included in the diet should be carefully considered.  If it is included, proper preparation is crucial.  Organic, fermented soybean products such as natto, miso and tempeh can also be added.

Fats

Adding in healthy fats (coconut, avocados, raw nuts, olives, coconut oil, and cold-pressed olive oil) and the elimination of bad fats (highly processed vegetable oils like canola oil, soybean oil, margarine and hydrogenated oils/trans fats) is crucial in the anti-inflammatory diet.

Omega 3 foods such as  cold water, fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and herrings should also be included in an anti-inflammatory diet.

Protein

In general, in our western diets, we tend to eat too much animal protein. A vegetable based diet is best and a little good quality animal protein goes a long way.   If you can, choose wild local seafood, local grass-fed meats and dairy products.

Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Other anti-inflammatory foods to consider in your diet are green tea, tulsi tea, matcha and dark chocolate for their antioxidant content.

Avoid Processed Foods and Sugar

One of the most important things to remember when eating an anti-inflammatory diet is to avoid processed foods, especially those containing processed sugars and bad fats.  Regular consumption of flour based foods and refined sugars should be avoided as insulin resistance leads to chronic inflammation and degenerative disease.

 

 

 

Health Tip #35

health-tip-35

Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t The Answer

Although we have discussed limiting processed carbohydrates and sugars in our diet, turning to artificial sweeteners to satisfy our sweet cravings is not the answer.  Chemically derived artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Equal), Saccharin (Sweet n Low), and Sucralose (Splenda), have been shown to have negative health effects.

Artificial Sweeteners Can Make Us Sick

Consumption of Aspartame is associated with neurological disorders, headaches, brain tumors, seizures and mood disorders.  When heated, Aspartame also converts to  free methanol which breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde.  Both are toxic.   Saccharin, noted for it’s bitter aftertaste, has been linked with certain cancers including bladder cancer.  Sucralose has been shown to cause skin rash, panic attacks, muscle and head aches, diarrhea and intestinal cramping.

Artificial Sweeteners Do Not Make Us Thin

To top it all of, far from helping to keep our blood sugar stable, consumption of these imitation sugars, disrupts our body’s appetite-regulation system.  Our body expects a rise in blood sugar from the ‘sweet’ taste but when no nourishment is delivered, it sends messages to keep eating more.  This may even lead to glucose intolerance, metabolic syndrome and obesity.  Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to alter our gut microbiome.

Some Better Alternatives

When we have sweet cravings, the very best thing to do is to ask ourselves why?  Sweet cravings are often an emotional response to stress.  Dealing with the underlying issues is the better course of action.  Sour foods, such as lacto-fermented vegetables can help eliminate cravings.  The next best thing is to try to satisfy our cravings for something sweet is with natural, whole fresh fruits,  like kiwi, grapefruit, pineapple, and berries.  The herb stevia, native to South America can also add sweetness.  Stevia tastes 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way.  You can even grow your own.  Finally, unrefined, whole sugars, used sparingly are a better alternative to refined sugars.

Health Tip#16

health-tip-16

Nothing is more important for your health than the state of your gut microbiome.  Did you know that we are made up more of living microorganisms including bacteria, than we are made of cells?

Our digestive tract is basically a tube that runs from our mouth at the top of our digestive tract to our anus at the bottom.  In our intestines or gut portion of our tube is  a world of organisms called our gut microbiome.  The gut is populated with friendly or beneficial microorganisms that are part of  our immune system, help us break down foods, and even produce needed nutrients for us. The state of our gut micobiome even affects our mental health.

We also have microorganisms in our gut that can wreak havoc on our health if they become too out of balance.  Our modern diets of processed, sugary foods laden with pesticide residues and antibiotics upset the healthy balance our gut microbiome.    Stress also destroys this balance.  Did you know that in certain cases, we can’t even lose weight no matter how much we diet and exercise if our gut microbiome is out of balance?  In short, we can not be in optimal health if our gut microbiome is out of balance.

It is therefore important to re-establish a healthy gut microbiome balance.  One way of doing this is by adding in probiotic rich foods.  Some of these foods might include: old-fashioned, lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut, lacto-fermented pickles and cultured dairy such as homemade (unsweetened) yoghurt and kefir.

See my article, I Found A Solution, to read more about my personal experience with finding a solution to GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder) with probiotic foods.