Foods that Fight Inflammation

Doctors and nutritionists agree: inflammation is at the root of many disease processes in the body. By adding in the foods that fight inflammation, and getting rid of the inflammation-causing foods, you can restore health at a cellular level and begin to repair the body.

Here is a video showing an easy recipe for a quick anti-inflammatory morning drink:

And now, let’s take a look at the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods that you can start eating today:

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. If you struggle to consume added portions of green leafy vegetables, try making green smoothies or juices instead.

  1. Celery

The benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. Celery seeds help to lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.

  1. Beets

The substance in beets, the antioxidant betalain, gives them their rich deep color and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. They also are full of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and loaded with anti-inflammatory substances, vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress and help fight off chronic inflammation.

  1. Blueberries

One antioxidant, quercetin, is high on the list of anti-inflammatory compounds. It is found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries like blueberries.

  1. Pineapple

This sweet fruit contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme which fights inflammation. Bromelain has also been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels, and it can also sooth a sore throat caused by inflammation.

Pineapple is also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants and phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of very most common illnesses.

  1. Salmon

Salmon is considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, which reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases and appear to be important for cognitive function.  Just be sure that what you purchase is wild caught and not farm raised.

  1. Bone broth

Bone broths contain minerals that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others, along with chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine (which are commonly sold in expensive supplements to ease joint pain from arthritis).

  1. Coconut oil

The healthy fats in coconut oil together with the strong anti-inflammatory components of turmeric can create a powerful punch when it comes to controlling inflammation.

Coconut oil is a heat-stable oil, so it is great for sautéing anti-inflammatory vegetables.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. The health benefits of turmeric are invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. It has been found to be a more powerful anti-inflammatory that some of the most popular brands on the market containing ibuprofen or aspirin.

Bonus: Ginger

Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another spice that helps reduce inflammation. Ginger has been used since ancient times to treat allergies and asthma, along with cleansing the lymphatic system and breaking down toxins in the body.

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

When you being to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you will hopefully also begin to naturally eliminate pro-inflammatory foods and substances.

One of the biggest culprits is the combination of saturated and trans fatty acids, which are found primarily in processed foods These fats cause inflammation and increase risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart conditions.

Another problem causing combination are simple, refined sugars and. Limiting refined grains is an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet. Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as truly whole grains are important sources of nutrition.

Another piece of the anti-inflammatory diet is movement. You must establish a regular routine of physical activity, which can prevent inflammation from building up or returning. Try your best to lead an active life fueled by fresh, whole anti-inflammatory foods and get rid of processed, toxic and you could be on the road to eliminating inflammation from your body.

~ Doneane

NATURAL Cures for a Sore Throat

Flu season is right around the corner, but so are fall seasonal allergies for those of us who suffer. Sore throat pain is one of those things that comes with allergies, but can also be a lasting or lingering symptom of the flu as well.

If you have an occasional sore throat, before you take over the counter (OTC) medications or make a trip to the doctor (where you could be exposed to someone who is REALLY sick), try some of these natural remedies first.

Here are some natural cures for a sore scratchy throat, using ingredients you may already have in your spice rack or pantry:

Sage and Echinacea Throat Spray

Sage has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help relieve throat pain. Echinacea is another herb that has been shown to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Follow this recipe to make your own sage-echinacea throat spray:

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground sage.

1 teaspoon ground echinacea.

1/2 cup water.

Directions:

Boil water.

Place sage and echinacea in a small jar and then fill with boiling water.

Let steep for 30 minutes.

Strain, combine with 1/2 cup hard liquor (optional)

Place in small spray bottle and spray into throat every two hours or as needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar’s main active ingredient, acetic acid, helps fight bacteria. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, prescribed a combination of apple cider vinegar and honey to treat coughs and sore throats.

To help relieve throat pain, drink 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and an optional tablespoon of honey.

Salt Water Gargle

I grew up with both my mother and grandmother telling me to do this for sore throat relief. And I still do it to this day! Gargling with salt water is a long-used natural remedy to get rid of a sore throat. The salt helps reduce swelling by pulling water out of your throat tissue. It may also help kill unwanted microbes in your throat.

Combine 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Gargle with a mouthful of this mixture for 30 seconds, once per hour.

Honey

Honey is used with other natural ingredients to soothe a sore throat. Honey may be especially effective when combined with warm water and apple cider vinegar (see above). Caution: Do not give honey to children under the age of one, as it could cause serious problems.

Lemon Water

Lemon contains vitamin C and antioxidants, and also increases the amount of saliva you produce, keeping your mucous membranes moist. Combining lemon with warm water with honey or salt water with maximize its benefits.

Ginger Root Tea

Ginger is a spice with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger tea can be purchased from most grocery stores and health food stores, but you can also make your own from fresh ginger.

Here is an easy recipe to make your own:

Ingredients:

Fresh ginger root.

1 liter water.

1 tablespoon honey.

A squeeze of lemon juice.

Directions:

Peel and grate ginger root into a small bowl.

Boil water in a large saucepan.

Place 1 tablespoon grated ginger into the saucepan, cover and steep for 10 minutes.

Add honey and lemon juice, then stir to combine.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many health benefits, including fighting infection, reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Coconut oil is also very soothing, by lubricating the mucous membranes in the throat.

Here are a few ideas:

Add a spoonful to hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Add a spoonful to scrambled eggs (or cook the eggs with the oil).

Put a spoonful in your mouth and let it melt down your throat.

Caution: coconut oil has a laxative effect on some people, so limit your intake to 1 or 2 teaspoons per day.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. Cinnamon tea is available in most grocery stores, and you can add it to your own herbal or black tea.

Here is a great recipe for cinnamon almond milk:

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk.

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

1/8 teaspoon baking soda.

1 tablespoon honey.

Directions:

Place cinnamon and baking soda in saucepan and mix together.

Add almond milk and mix again until well combined.

Heat mixture to simmer, remove from heat.

Stir in honey

Drink Plenty of Fluids

When your throat hurts, the last thing you may want to do is drink a lot of fluid, but it is important to keep hydrated so your throat can heal. Try drinking tea, water or other beverages at whatever temperature feels best.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds. There are many varieties on the market. You can make your own by steeping fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea can promote better sleep, which is important when you are not feeling well. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is widely available at local grocery stores.

So, before you take OTC meds or run out to the doctor’s office or clinic, try a few of these for relief. If your symptoms do not subside in a day or two, then you might need medical intervention for an infection, especially if you begin to run fever or feel achy.

~ Doneane

Fiber: Important for a Healthy Immune System

Believe it or not, flu season is right around the corner. Many doctors and pharmacies are starting to advertise that the first batch of the flu vaccine for this year has arrived.  So this is the time of year to think about your immune system, and ways to keep it functioning at its highest ability in order to keep you well through the coming months.

I have blogged about digestive health and immunity before, in the context of fighting allergies and other ailments. With the flu becoming more rampant each year, and more people succumbing to it, it is most important that at this time of year we focus on immune health, which means digestive health.

Most of our immunity to disease lives in the digestive tract. So in order to keep your resistance to disease up, your gut needs to be as healthy as possible. Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diets, which leads to digestive problems and a lowered immune response.

The signs and symptoms that you may not be getting enough fiber can include one or more of the following:

Constipation

Constipation is the classic consequence of not eating enough fiber. Adequate fiber intake plays a role in everything from helping you manage your weight to lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. This could also be a sign of not drinking enough water, so be sure that you are getting at least 50% of your body weight in ounces per day.

Rabbit poop

Your poop is the wrong shape. If your bowel movements are small or hard, like pebbles, that’s a sure sign you’re low on the fiber intake scale. A “C” or “S”-shape or a straight piece is ideal.

You’re hungry after a meal

Fiber takes up lots of space in your digestive tract. So if your stomach starts rumbling within an hour or two after eating, that’s a sign that you probably didn’t get enough fiber in your meal. Next time, try starting off with a small side salad or a small bowl of vegetable or bean soup. And opt for Romaine lettuce, as its fiber content is higher than most other varieties.

You’re bloated

Fiber acts like the broom that sweeps everything in your pipes and keeps it all moving at a smooth and steady pace. Without enough fiber, the products of digestion often get stuck along the digestive tract, leading to backups and bloat. This can also contribute to painful episodes of diverticulitis if you are already susceptible.

You need a post-meal nap

Fiber plays an essential role in helping your blood sugar levels stay stable. When you eat a low- or no-fiber meal, your blood sugar will spike more quickly, resulting also in a quick drop of your level, which will make you feel tired. Instead of a big meal with lots of starchy carbs, opt for a nice salad or fiber-rich soup and some lean protein.

You fail this at-home test

I like to call this the corn test. We all know what happens to corn as it makes its trip through our system. But try swallowing a forkful of corn kernels without chewing them and seeing how long it takes for them to make their way out. This little at-home test will give you a good idea of whether food is passing through your digestive system at a healthy rate, and whether you’re getting enough fiber. If you spot the kernels in your stool within 18 hours, all is well. If it takes longer than that, you probably need more fiber and to up your water intake.

Experiencing any of the above? What should you do?

Women need 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, men need slightly more. If you suspect that you aren’t getting enough, try gradually adding more fiber-rich foods into your diet. Just keep in mind that if you go full speed ahead (instead of gradually adding these foods into your daily intake), you may have to deal with gas, pains, and bloating.

What foods are fiber rich?

Take a look at the picture at the top of this blog and use it as a basic guide. Whole fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones, along with whole grains, beans, and nuts are the best sources for good, healthy fiber. And again, if you are not accustomed to eating these fiber rich foods, begin by adding them slowly to avoid additional digestive upset as your body gets used to having more fiber.

And skip out on the fiber supplements, which often can cause stomach upset and bloating. Unlike a pill or drink, fiber-containing foods deliver an entire package of beneficial nutrients, without all of the added and often artificial ingredients you might find in a fiber supplement.

~ Doneane

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Did you know that green tea can help you lose weight?

Did you know that green tea is packed with powerful nutrients which keep your brain and heart healthy?

Did you know that green tea added to your clean eating plan is a powerful way to detox or “reset” your body? Read on to see how I can help you with this . . .

All of the varieties of green tea on the market now contain varying amounts of antioxidants and phytonutrients (those derived from the sun), along with a big dose of caffeine (some varieties contain more than coffee!). Some varieties are sweet, some are bitter, but you can add your own flair to them with lemon zest or local honey if you like.  Some varieties are meant as a “pick me up” while others are made with added herbs or flowers to help you sleep (like chamomile).

The power behind green tea is antioxidants, those little workers that seek out and destroy “free radicals” which can cause us to age faster and cause disease processes in the body. Green tea packs a hefty load of powerful antioxidants which are great for both brain health and heart health.

Do YOU need a reset after summer vacationing, eating off of your normal routine, or just not feeling so good? Submit the form below to get my FREE 5 Day Green Tea Detox. It is a SUPER easy plan with clean-eating meals and snacks mapped out for you, along with green tea each day. It is a great way to reset and get back into your normal healthy routine.


Disclaimer: Doneane Beckcom is not a medical doctor. You should consult with your doctor before changing your eating plan, attempting to lose weight, or doing a detox plan, especially if you are on medication for any condition. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol or who suffer from digestive disorders should NOT use this detox plan.

FAT: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There is a big misconception when it comes to weight loss, that you must cut fat from your daily nutrition. This is not true: your body needs healthy fats in order to function properly! In fact, cutting any food group out in its entirety is not a healthy way to lose weight. And, avoiding fat for any reason is not a healthy decision, because your body NEEDS it!

If you ARE trying to lose weight in a healthy way, submit the form below to get a FREE copy of my NEW Fat Burning One Week Meal Plan:


Healthy fats are those that aid the body in processing nutrients from the food we eat. Without these healthy fats, all of the vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrient content of what we consume is not adequately absorbed by the body. Fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, are lost without a dose of healthy fats to go along with them.

So which fats are healthy? Which ones should you avoid? And what are some examples of each?

First, monounsaturated fats. There is some science behind the name, but that’s not the important part. What is important is where to get these healthy Omega 9 fats: from olive oil and avocados. These fats help the body to naturally lower bad cholesterol.

Next, polyunsaturated fats. These help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, helping the arteries stay clear and the blood to move freely through the body’s circulatory system. These are Omega 3 fats that you can get from wild-caught Atlantic salmon, or from taking a fish oil or flax seed oil supplement.

Lastly, saturated fats. Now these have gotten a bad rap over the years, but a little bit of healthy saturated fats are also necessary to maintain good health. Real, organic, unsalted butter (made from cattle that has been free range and grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics), organic coconut oil, and lean cuts of animal protein such as organic and free range white meat chicken and turkey (again, with no hormones or antibiotics), along with free range organic eggs (eat the yolk, that is where the healthy fats live!). These healthy fats help to boost your immune system so that you can fight off diseases and stay healthy when exposed to illness.

All of these healthy fats are essential to good nutrition, and DO need to be a part of your nutrition plan, even if you are trying to shed a few pounds. Don’t worry, you do not have to overdo it, just be sure you are getting a few servings per week.

Now for the bad fats. TRANS fats are the ones to avoid. You must read the ingredients list of the products you purchase to make sure there are none of these nasty synthetic imposters in your food. Any product that is meant to have a longer shelf life (things in a box, bag, can, or other packaging) will likely have this ingredient, and it will be listed as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils. It does not really matter what type of oil it is, the hydrogenation part is what makes it a bad fat and not good for your body.  This substance is basically like “lard” or “vegetable shortening” and is used as a preservative in things like crackers, cookies, chips, cakes, breads, just about anything you would store in your pantry or on a shelf could contain this ingredient. So be diligent in reading labels to avoid this harmful substance!

So there you have it. There really are some GOOD fats that are necessary to good nutrition, so be sure you are including them in your healthy eating plan. To watch a short video on this subject, click here: https://youtu.be/K7eUY3VoVEQ

~ Doneane

Healthy Imposters

Lots of product manufacturers have capitalized on our busy lifestyles by marketing pre-made “healthy foods” such as fruit smoothies, protein shakes, green smoothies, mixed Greek yogurt, and salad dressings. Yes, these are very convenient since they are already made, but did you know that most of them contain UNhealthy additives like high fructose corn syrup, emulsifiers, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives? So much for healthy!

While it does take some planning, time, and effort on your part, it is easy (and much healthier) to make these healthy food items yourself. When you control the ingredients, you control what goes into your food and can avoid unnatural ingredients.

For a quick and easy recipe for a fruit and green smoothie that will also help you lose weight natural, submit this form and receive my FREE eBook “5 Foods to Help You Lose Weight Naturally”


Here are a few suggestions for how you can make your own healthy smoothies, shakes, and dressing and avoid these imposters. If you would like to watch a video of the recipes, click here: https://youtu.be/B_r-J0iQ9sA

Fruit and green smoothies, and protein shakes are very popular and very frequently pose as health food imposters at the grocery store. These are SO easy to make yourself, requiring either a blender or a smoothie maker (which you can get very reasonably priced models and not spend hundreds!) and your choice of berries, fruits, greens, and your favorite protein powder.  There are any number of combinations you can make, just depending upon your taste IMG_1342preferences.

Greek yogurt is another frequent imposter, especially those which have fruit in the bottom or a separate cup of other ingredients to mix in. These are very convenient, but many have preservatives and added sugars which make them not-so-healthy after all. Just pick your favorite brand of natural yogurt without any added ingredients, and then add your own choices: berries, nuts, granola, or seeds and you have your own healthier version of this popular imposter.

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing and marinade is another popular healthy option, unless you purchase a pre-made version with artificial colors, emulsifiers, and high fructose corn syrup in the mix.  My favorite simple recipe calls for only three ingredients: balsamic vinegar, local honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Save your empty balsamic vinegar bottles and you have your own decanter to mix in. Add equal parts of the three ingredients, shake well, and you have a healthy salad dressing or marinade which is perfect for chicken, fish, and lean cuts of red meat. No need to refrigerate, just store in a cool dark place and shake well when ready to use (it will separate upon standing). IMG_1343

With just a little time and planning, you can cut down on the number of artificial ingredients and added sugars in your nutrition plan. Will you try one of these healthy ideas this week?

~ Doneane

Natural Sugar Substitutes

If you are watching your sugar intake, you have probably looked at any number of different ways to sweeten your favorite foods and drinks. Not all of the sugar substitutes out there are good for you, and not all of them really have low or zero calories. And NONE of them have been proven to help you lose weight! In fact, studies have shown that people who drink so-called “diet” drinks actually GAIN weight, not lose it!

Artificial sweeteners which contain the chemical compound “aspartame” should be avoided. Brands (which I will not name) which come in those little colored packs (pink, blue and yellow) contain chemical compounds which, studies have shown, can cause serious health problems.  Even though some claim to be zero calorie and have added vitamins, these sugar imposters are not good for you. In fact, they are harmful!

Instead, consider some of the natural alternatives such as Stevia, Monk Fruit, Maple Sugar, or Agave Nectar, all of which come from plants and are all natural (you can even find organic brands of each one). Stevia is a zero calorie option while the others have very low sugar content and low calorie count per serving.

These natural alternatives to sugar are typically found at your local grocery store on the same aisle as the sugar, but usually in a place up high or down low and not with the usual sugar substitutes. They are also a bit more expensive than the artificial alternatives, but I sure don’t mind paying a little extra for something that is natural and not likely to make me ill from chemicals breaking down in my body into non-digestible and harmful byproducts.

So, if you are looking for a way to decrease your sugar intake and your calories, but still need a little sweetness in your foods and drinks, consider one of these alternatives. Making healthy changes take time, and every little bit helps!

~ Doneane

 

Stay Hydrated in the Heat

You probably know by now that one of my favorite subjects is water: how much to drink, when to drink, what kind to drink, etc. And I am always coming up with a “new favorite” when it comes to water bottles. This summer is no different!

There are any number of water bottles on the market, but the one that I have fallen in love with this year is the DYLN Living Water Bottle. It MAKES alkaline water! It is a stainless steel, BPA free bottle with a small replaceable “Vitabead” diffuser which alkalinizes the water! You have to fill it with already filtered water, as it is not a filter bottle in itself. But it does alkalinize the water to a full 9+pH! That is awesome for those of us who prefer alkaline water.

You can read about and order this bottle here: https://www.dyln.co/

For some other tips on making water more palatable, check out this short YouTube video: https://youtu.be/wGCaMEkPVxE

Remember, it is best to drink half of your body weight, in ounces, of water per day. For example, at 140 pounds, you would drink 70 ounces per day. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t! Just take it slowly. If you are going to be out in the heat, drink at least 8 ounces of water before you go, so that you are already hydrated before you get in the heat.

~ Doneane

Nutrition Labels — So What’s New About the “New” FDA Rules?

We have all seen them: Nutrition labels. They come in all shapes and sizes, in all sorts of different places on packaging, and most of them are in such tiny print that you need a magnifying glass to read them! Do YOU pay attention to them at all? Should you?

The answer is YES! But what is most important to look for? And why has the FDA come up with new requirements for these labels?

Seems like the obesity epidemic is what is driving the new requirements, which deal mostly with added sugars and servings size. These new guidelines are meant to make it easier to make healthier choices, if the consumer is aware of the calorie and sugar count in the entire package as well as in a serving size. Changes regarding serving size and what information is included in that area of the label are also coming into effect soon.

Here is a link to a recent article regarding the new FDA labeling requirements:http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/05/new-fda-rules/483653/

But to a nutritionist like me (whose main concern is what is REALLY in the foods we consume), what is MOST important is what the ingredients list contains, along with other labels that will either make you purchase the product or place it back onto the grocery store shelf and walk away.

To receive a copy of my FREE eBook on this subject, complete and submit this form and it will be sent to your inbox immediately:


Just remember to take your time in the grocery store and READ the nutrition facts panel AND the ingredients list. Have a good pair of reading glasses or a magnifying glass (I am SERIOUS here!!), and pull your cart over to the side so that you do not impede traffic in the aisles. Once you get the hang of it, it will not take you as long to glean all the information you need, but it is a learning process to be able to identify what is good — and not so good — for you and your family on a nutrition label.

Health & Happiness,

~ Doneane

Proper Storage for Produce

Produce can be finicky.  Most fruits and vegetables are not meant to last more than about 5 to 7 days beyond their purchase date, so knowing the best ways to store them will help you to prevent waste and save you money.

A good deal of fruits and vegetables can be left out on the kitchen counter. If it is not kept refrigerated in your local produce department, then chances are you do not need to do so at home (unless it is your personal preference).  Fruits and vegetables with a thick peel can generally be left out (bananas, oranges, grapefruits, avocados, and cucumbers for example).

Grapes and berries do not need to be kept cold, but if it is your personal preference to have these treats cold, then pop them in the fridge. Berries and grapes also keep well when portioned into small baggies and placed in the freezer, which makes for a nice treat on a hot day or provides convenience for making fruit smoothies.

Leafy greens that are “spritzed” at the store can be treated like cut flowers — trim the stems, place them into a jar with a bit of water, cover with a Ziploc bag, and place in the fridge. Things like bunch spinach, kale, mustard greens, and asparagus can be treated this way. Herbs like humidity, so they can be bagged and left out on the counter (they will keep for about 5 days this way).

Fruits like the humidity low, whereas vegetables like it a bit more humid. So for whatever you place into the crisper drawer, if you are able to adjust the humidity be sure and do so for whatever you are storing.

Those “green bags” and other things claiming to keep produce fresher longer: don’t waste your money! You want your fruits and veggies to be able to breathe, and not close them up in plastic bags. Use these tips and tricks to keep your produce fresher longer and save money at the same time!

Here is a link to my recent TV segment showing you these helpful tips: https://youtu.be/7Tg41Pg0NEk

And, my thanks to HGTV  for inspiring this idea for a topic. Here is a recently posted short video from their Facebook page on the same topic: https://www.facebook.com/HGTV/videos/10153856652254213/?pnref=story

So be sure and treat your produce in they way that it will stay fresh longer, so that you save money from going right into the compost pile!

~ Doneane