Sizzle isn’t just about summer weather or the patio grill. Inside your body, where you can’t see the “smoke and fire,” there may be an internal slow simmer or a rolling boil at work called inflammation. It is the engine that drives the most feared illnesses of middle and old age.
It is estimated that more than half of all Americans are inflamed, with most people not knowing they are. Most ailments associated with chronic inflammation, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel, chronic pancreatitis, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, could be helped with an anti-inflammation diet.
If inflammation has been turning up the heat inside your body, you can cool the simmer with a few key changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Certain foods, such as dark red cherries, ginger, dark chocolate, berries and hibiscus, offer superior anti-inflammation properties. The following delicious recipes not only spark your taste buds, they dial down inflammation:
Berry Power Smoothie
Berries help prevent damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation by turning off the inflammatory signals triggered by cytokines (cells that regulate the immune system’s response to inflammation) and COX-2 (an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain) making them an ideal part of your anti-inflammation diet.
1 cup unsweetened plant milk such as hemp, coconut or almond milk
½ cup blueberries, raspberries or blackberries
½ cup baby spinach
1 tsp. Indian gooseberry extract (optional)*
1 tbsp. flaxseed
Ice cubes (optional, depending on how cold you like your smoothie)
Add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
Ginger Twist Juice
Ginger has been shown in scientific studies to have anti-inflammatory properties.
1 handful parsley
½ lemon, peeled
4 carrots, scrubbed well, green tops removed, ends trimmed
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled
Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Juice ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass and drink as soon as possible.
Hibiscus Iced Tea Refresher
Hibiscus has powerful antioxidants, even more than green tea. It has been shown to lower high blood pressure and uric acid for people with gout. It also helps to quench the fires of inflammation.
Chopped hibiscus flowers or 5 hibiscus herbal tea bags
12 mint leaves (optional)
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
2 quarts purified water
Steep hibiscus tea or flowers in water. I put it all in the refrigerator. In about an hour you have iced tea.
You can take anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements all year long, but if you don’t get rid of pro-inflammatory foods and toxins, you’ll simply be pouring good things on top of toxins and fueling inflammation.
Cherie Calbom (http://www.juiceladycherie.com/Juice/), MSN, is the author of 28 books, including her most recent The Juice Lady’s Anti-Inflammation Diet (Siloam 2015), which gives readers scores of tips on inflammation and the factors that contribute to it, along with a 28-day menu plan and recipes prepared with the assistance of Chef Abby Fammartino. Cherie’s other titles include The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly 2 million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has appeared on HealthWatch for CNN along with scores of TV and radio shows and has appeared in Shape, First for Women, Women’s World, Men’s Journal, Vogue, Quick & Simple, Marie Claire and Elle. Cherie earned a master of science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. She has practiced as a clinical nutritionist and currently offers Jumpstart Healthy & Fit online e-courses and health and wellness juice retreats.