One of the factors in integrative health is the immune system. Along with nourishment, breathing, mental training, and movement. These 5 vectors are all interlinked. Working with these areas and “connecting the dots” is the key to good health.
What is our immune system? The system in our body that fights disease and foreign bodies. It consists of the lymphatic system. Part of the function of this system is to transport white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes. In this way, it helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
What is inflammation? It is the body’s response to harmful stimuli from foreign organisms. This is a biological reaction to the work of the white blood cells, sent by the lymphatic system.
Is inflammation bad? Not at all, when it is acute. It tells you to stop injuring yourself further – by movement, for example, in a joint injury. In other words, acute inflammation is a good thing. The body repairs itself this way.
So when is it bad? When in becomes chronic, or systemic. Many factors cause systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation can lead to major health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. We do not want systemic inflammation. We want to avoid it.
What has food got to do with it? Certain kinds of food cause systemic inflammation. Not in everyone. Some people have a genetic predisposal to react to some foods. For example, foods from the nightshade family – potatoes, aubergines, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Hardly surprising when deadly nightshade (belladonna) is a poison. At a cellular level, the toxins present act as an irritant, thus causing inflammation.
Luckily, there are many foods that are anti-inflammatory. They reduce inflammation.
I recently saw a list of 24 foods that are anti-inflammatory. There are more than this number. I noticed that several of them were in my smoothie. So I tried to expand my smoothie to include more. Only my smoothie became a porridge. On account of chia seeds, I suspect.
I will explain my porridge.
The base is buttermilk. Nothing too anti-inflammatory here. 250 ml. Organic. To this, I add a little fruit. Not too much so as not to kick me out of ketosis. As I have this for breakfast, or “break fast”, I drink a bullet-proof coffee before. I add a small piece banana, just 20g. A good source of potassium and soluble fibre – good for the gut. You can substitute this with cauliflower for less sugar. Red seedless grapes. 20g. They contain anthocyanins and resveratrol.
So that was the fruits. Now the seeds. I mix seeds together, adding 40g in total to the porridge. Chia seeds (16g) are the reason it becomes a porridge. They undergo a dramatic expansion when put in liquids. Lots of omega-3 fats. Not as bioavailable as those from oily fish, but still. Important in reducing the inflammation related to heart disease. Flax seeds (8g) for similar benefits to chia. Hemp seeds (8g), anti-inflammatory due to gamma linolenic acid. Sesame seeds (8g) contains sesamol. Also, these seeds contain lots of minerals.
Then we add the spices. Ginger (10g) is the one you are most familiar with. Contains gingerols. powerful stuff. Turmeric is also touted as a superfood. The active ingredient here is curcumin. Be careful handling this (as a root). It stains everything! Do not get it on white plastic appliances! I also add a fair amount of cumin, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Almost like a curry!
Sometimes I will cut a sprig of kale from the garden. Kale is available the whole winter.
That is 11 of the list of 24. I don’t think I want to add fish or olive oil! I take 5ml of cod liver oil on the side to get DHA and EPA plus vitamin D. Garlic would be useful. It tends to screw your social life.
All this can be a little bitter, so I add some vanilla flavoured stevia drops.
Then I use the hand blender and after I have liquefied everything, I leave it for a while. This lets the chia seeds bloat.
Yes, there are other things I could add. You can vary the recipe a bit. Apple peel and cherries might be a tasty addition.
What does it do? For me, it eliminates joint pain. I used to have to wake up every hour to roll over at night. This was due to pain in my back and my hips. I do not do this anymore. I get a good night’s sleep.
I know that by eating or drinking this concoction, I am reducing inflammation. I am including other factors that reduce chronic inflammation. I am following the integrative health protocol. This is the key to good health. A life without pain. This is important when you are over 60. No – this is vital when you are over 60. It is the difference between living and existing.