Last week, I started discussing very important foods to help heal silent inflammation. These were vegetables and greens such as dandelion, alfalfa, grain grasses (wheat, oat, barley) and parsley. Since one article cannot cover all these precious healers coming from your kitchen, I find it necessary to continue with the other ones. I will also be talking about the benefits of mushrooms and others. Here, we go!
Spinach is another dark green leafy vegetable, which has anti-inflammatory characteristics. It is very nourishing to the body; enriching to the blood, especially to the red blood cells; cleansing to the liver and blood; clearing to rashes and acne; and eliminating to bacteria and yeasts. It contains carotenoids and chlorophyll that protect the eyes and vision from cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and blind. Vitamin K in spinach helps prevent bleeding. The green benefits the digestive tract with its laxative and hydrating effects. Its diuretic properties relieve water retention problems. Folates are abundant in the leafy green, making it important for mothers-to-be and breastfeeding mothers to help the development of foetuses and infants. The green is not recommended to those with kidney stones due to its content of oxalic acid that promote kidney stones.
Sea algae are another type of greens, but they grow in water. Seaweed, a general name for all kinds, has all the good characteristics of greens and more. They are even richer in nutrients than any vegetable we know. They are a bundle of immune-boosting proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibers, which lower cholesterol and hypertension and prevent cancer (breast). Kelp, one particular type, contributes to lower incidents of hormone-dependent cancers and other inflammatory disorders, cleanses from environmental toxins and counteracts radiation effects. Their abundance in iodine makes them a good remedy for thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism.
Research at the University of California, Berkeley, suggested that breast cancer risk is low among Japanese women because of Japan’s high consumption of brown kelp. Once they live in the US, this protection disappears possibly due to less seaweed consumption.
Moreover, what helped the Japanese counteract the powerful and devastating radioactivity left behind by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing during World War II, was their high consumption of a variety of seaweed, miso soup, brown rice and shitake mushrooms, which detoxified their bodies from radioactive material, acting as a protection against the widely spread nuclear radiation from the bombs. On the other hand during the Chernobyl (1986) nuclear disaster, cancer became prevalent among the affected population in the then U.S.S.R. Unfortunately, they did not have the seaweed protection.
Sea algae come in a wide variety and in different forms: Fresh, dried, powdered and in flakes. The most potent type is micro-algae, which is known to be anti-inflammatory immune boosters. There are more than a hundred species of edible seaweed; the most popular ones are nori, arame, dulse, alaria, hijiki and kelp (wakame and kombu). Most of them carry Japanese names, because they are widely cultivated and appreciated in Japan. In fact, they are one of Japan’s staple foods. The origin, quality and purity of seaweed and supplements are very important. The manufacturer of the supplement or importer of seaweed should purify the sea vegetable in order to make it free of contaminants like pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals.
Both cereal grasses and algae help deficient conditions such as anemia, fatigue and low immunity, resulting from chronic or other disorders, such as hepatitis, joint and other inflammations, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, hemorrhoids, prostate difficulties, extreme stress, depression and metal (lead, mercury) toxicity.
Most greens are rich in vitamins A and C, folates, calcium and magnesium. When living in polluted areas or undergoing emotional, mental and physical stress, greens can come in handy to help in detoxification, either by consuming big amounts of greens, drinking the very fresh green juices, or taking good quality supplements. They are highly lauded for their potency and healing and alkalizing properties.
For cleansing the body, people living in very polluted environments are advised to increase their consumption of chlorophyll-rich foods. To achieve continuous cleansing, dark green vegetables should be 15 to 20 percent of their daily diet. With such a diet, the renewing and detoxifying properties of greens should counteract the effects of inflammation and environmental toxins and pollutants.
Another anti-inflammatory plant is mushroom. Mainly, it produces similar effects to antibiotics without their effects of wiping out both “harmful” and “beneficial” bacteria. It targets pathogens and defective cells only, leaving immunity, “good” bacteria and health intact. It enhances white blood cells; attacks growths and tumors; improves the immune defenses and cell oxygenation and decreases the effects of toxins, resulting from charred meat and food.
Mushrooms have many healing varieties; each one targets a specific disorder or system. For example, shitake mushrooms reduce stomach disorders, boost immunity; and work against stomach and cervical cancers due to their cancer-fighting interferon. They also act on blood cholesterol and cleanse the body of leftover animal protein toxins. Because of their deep cleansing effect, overconsumption of shiitake mushrooms is not advisable for long-term vegetarians or during convalescence. Remember, the body needs small amounts of free radicals to help fight infections, viruses and inflammation.
Studies have shown that some types of mushrooms like maitake, Portobello, white cremini, oyster and reishi can protect DNA from damage, inhibit cancer cell propagation and choke tumors from their blood supply. Dietary supplements can reduce breast cancer risk as much as 70 percent.
Fruits fight inflammation, too. According to Dr. Paul Gross’ book Superfruits, whole fresh fruits contain an abundance of vitamins A, Bs, C and E, essential minerals, amino acids and protein, enzymes, soluble and insoluble fibers, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, phytochemicals and phytosterols. They protect health and prevent inflammation, which is at the base of common disorders like cardiovascular disease (heart and stroke), bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections, metabolic syndrome (obesity, hypertension and diabetes), digestive problems, premature aging, neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders (allergies, lupus), osteoporosis, skin and gum diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers. The deep pigments in plants and fruits are responsible for their anti-inflammatory antioxidants and phytochemicals like carotenoids and polyphenols.
Other cleansing and anti-inflammatory foods are garlic, onions and probiotics (strains of “good” bacteria) in active culture yogurt. They also produce healing agents that act similarly as antibiotics without their “bad” effects. They wipe out “harmful” bacteria without disturbing the “healthy” intestinal bacteria, microflora.
Next week, I will follow up with more on other body detoxifiers, inflammation healers and health restorers. I shall also focus on a very important lifestyle that produces anti-inflammatory substances and neutralizes inflammatory compounds. For the time being, don’t hesitate to make the above aliments part of your daily nutrition. They are also your magic potion for “good” health and disease-free energetic longevity.
P.S. Most of the information in my previous and last articles on inflammation come from the below books and more, Internet and other sources.
• “The Inflammation Syndrome,” an interesting simplified book written by Jack Challem, the publisher and editor of the newsletter, The Nutrition Reporter
• Dr. Sears, The Anti-inflammation Zone Diet
• David Agus, MD, The End of Illness
• Paul Gross, PhD, Superfruits
N.B.: Individuals with medical conditions or on medication should consult their physicians when they decide to introduce anything new in their diet even if it is natural.
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