Before we began this journey in January, we mentioned how important it is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation being the demon that it is, lends to heart disease, cancer, immune distress, fatigue, emotional instability, to name just a few. Doing your best to avoid food such as gluten, dairy, soy and processed “food” is a great way to avoid major players that can increase inflammation.. In addition to avoidance, increasing foods high in antioxidants is an additional way to fight the battle of inflammation, not to mention their anti-aging properties. We hear a lot about antioxidants…but what are they and how is it that they are so protective?
Antioxidants protect against free radical damage and can help keep the balance that our body needs to thrive. Stress, toxins and inflammation can all lead to free radical damage, hence the importance of what we put on our body and in our body. Free radical damage is basically cell destruction that can result in a multitude of different health issues and diseases. It contributes to early aging, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, etc. We all have free radical cells in our body but the trick is to keep them from multiplying and throwing the ratio of free radical cells and antioxidants out of balance. The lower the antioxidant level is in the body, the more free radical damage occurs.
The best way to get antioxidants is through eating REAL fruits and vegetables. The brighter and bolder colors, the better! Carrots, green and red peppers, blueberries, raspberries….you get the picture. I love what Michael Pollen said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Take a look at what you ate yesterday. Was it mostly plants? For most of us, the answer is no. I challenge each one of you (myself included) to increase the amount of vegetables we are consuming daily. If we knew how important veggies are in the protection of cellular damage…how they decrease disease and increase quality of life…why would we not want to eat mostly plants!?!
Many people take supplement forms of antioxidants as well. In my opinion, it is a great way to increase antioxidant load. In fact, I mix Dynamic Fruits & Greens antioxidant powder into my smoothie every morning. It claims to have the antioxidant power of 20+ servings of fruits and vegetables with each serving. I love it but it DOES NOT take the place of eating real fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I use in it in ADDITION to food, not IN PLACE of food! (For anyone interested, I carry Strawberry Kiwi, Berry and Chocolate (my fave) at the office.)
I am going to leave you with a few ideas of adding vegetables into your day. Please comment and share how you get your veggies in so we can all learn!
*Green and red peppers and onions in scrambled eggs.
*Kale or spinach in your smoothie.
*A daily snack of hummus and pea pods, peppers, carrots, etc.
*Drizzle coconut oil over Brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots or your favorite vegetable of choice, top off with sea salt and broil.
*Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or peas.
*Zucchini or yellow squash noodles instead of pasta noodles.
In summary...When an apple turns brown, it is because of oxidation. Free-radical damage is known as oxidation. Increasing your fruits and vegetables protects you from oxidation. Eat your veggies…or you will rot like an apple.
Coconut water is such a great electrolyte replacer. WAY better than sports drinks and no fake colors. It is the ultimate thirst quencher. Perfect for a hangover or if feeling dehydrated. I give to my kids if they are sick to boost up the mineral and electrolytes that are lost. I do not drink daily but more if we are sick or super dehydrated. You can though! The prepackaged ones that are on the shelf are NOT the best way to try coconut oil. They do lose most of their nutrients when sterilized for that packaging. The best option is to get a refrigerated form that is from young coconuts. Like all things, please support a reputable company that takes pride in helping local farmers! That's what Harmless Harvest does. This one tastes the best and does great things as a corporation. Available at your local health food store and Whole Foods. Some are actually a pretty pink color.
Hi, I'm Dr. Heidi!
A mom of 3 and an expert in chiropractic care of babies and kids.