Inflammation

Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods

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Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines.

It’s a fact.

Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it's chronic (i.e. lasts a long time).

Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes, just to name a few.

But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it's measured, and where it comes from; why don't I focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it?

Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:

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Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, and Cherries Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favorite of yours?

Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).

Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as "anthocyanins" and "resveratrol" are found in these small and delicious fruits.

In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.

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Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant "sulforaphane." This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin. Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colors. Peppers that are any other color are not fully ripe and won't have the same anti-inflammatory effect.

I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week's recipe (see below).

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Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, chia seeds)

Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: "trans" fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: "omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.

The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.

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Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.

EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer's.

Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It's thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.

Anti-inflammatory Food #5 - Turmeric Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?

Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.

This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.

I've added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation.

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Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely "flavonols"). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They've even been shown to prevent "neuro-inflammation" (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!

Conclusion There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colorful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.

You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of "anti-inflammation."

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Recipe (Broccoli, Pepper, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory Quinoa

¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)1.5 cups of vegetable broth1 medium onion, diced 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 dash salt ½ tbsp turmeric 1 dash black pepper 2 cups broccoli, chopped

In a saucepan place 2 cups of veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the veggie broth is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

Add diced onions, turmeric, pepper and salt, and lightly sauté for a few minutes.

Add broccoli and lightly sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it becomes softened.

Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.

References: https://authoritynutrition.com/13-anti-inflammatory-foods/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717884/https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/https://authoritynutrition.com/matcha-green-tea/http://neurotrition.ca/blog/brain-food-essentials-cacaohttp://leesaklich.com/foods-vs-supps/foods-vs-supplements-the-turmeric-edition/

Correcting Our Bodies & Making Them Better

Pictured are my 4 tools that go hand in hand to provide me with ongoing Kettlebell Sport skinny strong fun. My 2 in the background, clock n bells, are just as important as the 2 in the foreground, Risto Sports lifting shoes & foam roll. Most people think exercise alone is all that needs to be done. They're so set on getting in and getting out of the gym that they forget one of the most important aspects of overall big picture fitness well-being.

We want our bodies to work well for our entire lives. Some want their bodies to work at very high levels. No matter your goal it is imperative to do such things as mobility drills, static postures as in yoga & stretching, and finally regular massage and/or foam rolling, regular application of magnesium oil and/or Epsom salt baths.

Focusing on mobility drills and static postures while warming up and cooling down are extremely significant elements in Synergy Kettlebell Training programming. But what is usually pushed aside, because it's rather painful and tedious, is the foam rolling. This one action is something that removes a lot of toxins from the muscles as well as aids in bringing specific inflammation at bay within trigger points and achy areas. Compare it to mini-massages whenever you want them.

I remember when I first began rolling my illial tabial or IT Band along the side of my legs stretching from the hip down to the knees. WOW was that painful for a few weeks, and still is in a couple places, but I continued on to the point where my back problems have actually cleared up and never have any knee pain whatsoever. I rarely have to go to my chiropractor too. If anything springs up- which is usually an isolated case- I get right on the roller and 10-15 minutes on it typically resolves my issues. Chronic cases of neglect can often times take weeks and months of daily foam roll practice to finally resolve. Then once you get your body there simply maintain it with brief daily rolls and at the very least before and after your workouts. The IT Band is the first thing I look at when someone complains that their knees or back is hurting them. Correcting the IT Band often times corrects the other issues as well.

So what I recommend for you is to begin slowly and do it for only a 3-4 minutes before and after every one of your workouts. Then on your "off" days do it for about 5 minutes. Take breaks when you need to and build yourself up to about 10-15 minutes of post workout rolling as well as about 10 minutes a day for maintenance. Do it while right after every one of your workouts and at night before you go to bed while you're watching tv.

If you make mobility drills, static postures, and foam rolling part of your weekly, and maybe you have a necessity for daily, practice you will definitely notice the difference pretty quickly. Knock on wood I have been injury free for a long time and I have those 3 variables as direct reasons to acknowledge.

30 Day Challenge: iFast

September 1st means a brand new 30 Day Challenge. I gave you a break during August, but am ready to launch one that I've had close to my heart for a while and am super excited to share with you. I'm calling it the "iFast Challenge". This is a Step Outside Your Comfort Zone challenge so be ready for that and heck that's really what a challenge is all about. It's those who push all the way through till the end who experience the BEST benefits(see below). I tell my Kettlebell Kampers all the time: we're working for the entire minute not 56, 58, or 59 seconds, but the whole minute is what gives us the best results physically and mentally. The same is true for other things... apply that here. Welcome to iFast.

Benefits Of iFast

Increased energy Mental clarity Recovery Lower inflammation Better sleep Lower insulin response Higher growth hormone Lower cortisol & estrogen Balanced testosterone Radiant skin and the list goes on...

In the video (watch the part where I lift my shirt up LOL) I give you all the details so I won't go into them here, but what I will list are the requirement days for the month to successfully complete the challenge as well as each iFast Level. Ok and so before people actually think the above pic is real and that Jessica Simpson has gone all anorexic... do not fear. She's fine and the pic has been modified. Oh and fasting will NOT make you look even remotely like that as long as you follow a proper fast protocol.  Alright... now onto the good stuff...

Qualified Days To Be Successful For iFast

Week 1: 1 Day Week 2: 2 Days Week 3: 3 Days Week 4: 4 Days

iFast Levels

Level 1: Full iFast Day Level 2: Synergy Cleanse iFast Day Level 3: Smoothie iFast Day

Level 1: Full iFast Day

This one is the easiest to give details for and will produce the greatest benefits to you with results. From Sun Up to Sun Down you will not consume any food except water and/or tea. After about 6 or 7 eat a well balanced meal of good moderate portions of lean meats, lots of veggies, nuts & seeds, and fruits... optional legumesexcept soy. Notice I didn't mention dairy or grains. ‎4 Little White Devils: flour(aka grains), salt, sugar, dairy. Get them out of your diet and you will rarely if ever get sick, allergies will be gone, skin will be shining, energy will be SUPER high, and fat... well... you'll be saying "What Fat?!".

Level 2: Synergy Cleanse iFast Day

The goal here is to eat as little as possible to get us through the day. So a couple years ago I designed a Cleanse Protocol that accomplishes just that alongside guaranteeing you to lose 5-10lbs in the 3 days. I have never had anyone lose less than 5 and several experience more than 10. The greatest being 12.8lbs weight loss when she weighed in on the fourth day (day after her 3 day cleanse). For the best results follow the protocol exactly as directed. Download the Synergy Cleanse HERE and even though I talk about doing it for 3 days simply use the protocol for any individual day. Ex. Week 1 only requires 1 day of iFast so you only practice the Synergy Cleanse protocol for that one day. During week 3 it would be very easy to follow the Synergy Cleanse since that's the way it's designed, but you're flexible to choose how you want to run your iFast.

Level 3: Smoothie iFast Day

Level 3 is great for beginning iFasters or for those folks who have never iFasted before in any way, shape, or form. For level 3 of the iFast you will drink a max of 3 smoothies for the entire iFast Day. You certainly can, AND SHOULD, drink a lot of water and/or tea ongoing during a smoothie day, but other than that your smoothies no other food will be consumed. Again, you will drink a max of 3 smoothies. So that being said, you can drink 1 or 2, but definitely not more than 3. Keep them to 8 ounce size at the absolute most, but 6 ounces are better on Smoothie iFast Days. The smoothies will supply you with enough to get through the day while still iFasting and not draw a high insulin spike to completely break your iFast. For great smoothie recipes CLICK HERE.

One of my friends said this: If you get a mushy watermelon, you just blend it up in the blender, and you have a delicious cleansing and hydrating energy drink! Replace a meal with this and melt some pounds away! Different kinds of melons like cantaloupe make a lovely milky drink too. Blend in some ice for a really refreshing natural cocktail!

So choose your level and challenge yourself to a full iFast Day during the next 30 days. If you have any questions on any of the iFast levels or the 30 Day Challenge in general leave me a comment below this blog post and I will address them all there. Have an awesome month and an amazing experience iFasting as I have for the past 3 years.