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Healthy Skin Starts from Within
Healthy Skin Starts from Within

Inflammation.  It’s a loaded word, and often misunderstood.  Our bodies naturally use inflammation - through the inflammatory response - to fight pathogens, infections and to help us recover from acute illness and injury.  Inflammation also helps us acutely respond to stress and is a critical adaptive response.  Acute inflammation is vastly different from chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is getting a lot of attention lately as a major contributor to disease in our lives.

Chronic inflammation - or low-grade inflammation - causes aging, both inside and outside our bodies and is the major cause of many preventable diseases.  It is aptly called “Inflammaging”.  One of the main contributors to chronic inflammation inside of our bodies comes from our diet. This means we can greatly influence of this type of aging by what we do and don’t put into our mouth.  

Fortunately, our bodies respond quite quickly when we make lifestyle changes to improve our health.  Even toxic habits and their deleterious effects, such as cigarette smoking, can be neutralized in a matter of months after stopping the habit.  Changing to an anti-inflammatory diet can yield positive effects in a matter of days, or even hours. Food really can be a powerful medicine and a useful tool to help us achieve optimal health.

A diet containing even modest amounts of sugar, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods causes inflammation in our bodies and contributes to Inflammaging.  And, while most of us do not have Celiac disease, there is some compelling evidence that gluten can cause inflammatory problems in the colon.  I recommend trying a 30-day diet without gluten to see how you feel without this sticky substance lining the gut.  I have heard from countless people how much better they feel while on a gluten-free diet.

Fortunately, foods that fight and help neutralize inflammation are all around us and easy to find in any good grocery store.  I encourage you to challenge yourself to see how many of these foods you can incorporate into your daily life.  Even a few substitutions can have a profoundly positive effect on your health.  These foods, along with an anti-inflammatory skincare regimen, can help our skin - the largest organ of our body - glow with good health.  

The following is an incomplete list of foods with anti-inflammatory benefits.  Adding these foods to your diet is a great start to improving your health and decreasing inflammation.  I’ve also included a favorite soup recipe I developed that is delicious served hot or cold.

  • Cruciferous vegetables
    • Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage. Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Arugula, Radishes
  • Onions and garlic
  • Healthy oils & nuts
    • Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Avocados, walnuts, almonds, cashews
  • Healthy fruits
    • Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
  • Healthy fish
    • Wild Salmon
  • Dark Chocolate (70% cacao or more)
  • Beverages
    • Green Tea, Coffee, Fermented Tea
  • Herbs & Spices
    • Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon
  • Seeds
    • Hemp, Chia, Brazil Nuts, Pumpkin seeds

Cauliflower Kale Soup:

  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium piece of ginger, peeled and minced (can substitute 1 tablespoon dried ginger)
  • 1 head cauliflower, washed, chopped with stem into small pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 8 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large soup pan, sauté onion and ginger in coconut oil until translucent - about 10 min.  Add cauliflower and continue to cook until tender, about 10 min.  Add chopped kale, stock, and turmeric and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes, then blend soup using a hand blender or countertop blender.  Transfer soup back to pan and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot or cold with a crisp green salad.

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