4 Fantastic (Anti-Inflammatory) Foods for the Summer
Summertime is a great time to consume foods that cool us down and soothe and heal our body. This summer make sure to enjoy these four foods that help your digestion, bring down inflammation, and nutrify your skin and cells.
Cantaloupe contains a remarkable diversity of nutrients, including huge amounts of vitamin C and about thirty times more carotenoids than oranges. It ranks high in B vitamins (including folate) as well as vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It also contains an impressive amount of omega-3, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (stacking the odds in your favor for the best skin ever), and possesses the flavonoid luteolin, the antioxidant organic acids ferulic and caffeic, and the anti-inflammatory cucurbitacins B and E. Here’s what all this means: strengthened immune system; improved heart health; reduced stress; prevented hair loss; soft, conditioned hair; clear, bright eyes; weight loss; and a whole lot of hydration, regeneration, and rejuvenation. It makes an ideal breakfast and is a great addition to any fruit bowl!
Pineapple is perhaps most famous for its tremendous bromelain and vitamin C content. The dream team combination of this enzyme and water soluble vitamin is great for healthy, shiny hair; the repair and prevention of fine lines; clear, soft, blemish-free skin; and healthy cell regeneration. This bromeliad has been used for thousands of years in South America as a natural anti-inflammatory and throat/vocal relaxant and rejuvenator.
Pineapple is from the Amazon basin originally and, for me, connects naturally to the far-seeing third eye of Amazonian shamans—pineapple dissolves pineal gland calcification. This fruit also helps to cleanse the digestive track and deliver digestive enzymes for breaking down food and absorbing nutrition.
Aloe is hands down nature’s best emollient. Being high in methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), it has the ability to heal sunburns and other burns quickly. It’s also loaded with enzymes, particularly bradykinase, which is an inflammation fighter and skin soother. There have been numerous reports showing the positive role aloe plays in healing psoriasis, dermatitis, and burn injuries.
Aloe vera makes the skin more elastic and smooth, and helps to maintain the skin’s microbiome (community of healthy bacteria) without destroying beneficial skin bacteria, unlike harsh soaps and petroleum-based moisturizers. Its power to enhance collagen and elastin, along with its ability to soothe, hydrate, and nourish, makes aloe vera the number one topical superfood for skin regeneration and repair.
Raw aloe gel is made up mostly of water and long-chain sugars (polysaccharides), and it contains numerous exotic nutrients including anthraquinones (laxatives), gibberellins (plant hormones that speed healing), salicylic acid (aspirin compound), anti-inflammatory sterols, and choline (protects the liver and brain), among many others. Raw aloe also contains minerals, like calcium and magnesium, as well as trace minerals, such as manganese, chromium, and copper, all of which promote radiant beauty. It is a fantastic source of zinc too, an element that keeps the immune system strong and is a key component for hormone receptors, which contribute to a balanced mood and appearance.
Did you know that aloe is just as nourishing to your hair and dry scalp as it is to your skin? Its moisturizing properties keep hair strong and healthy while its antibacterial and antifungal properties help to eliminate dandruff and the itching associated with it. Walking down cosmetics and skin care aisles, you may see aloe sap, aloe juice, or other aloe vera derivatives listed on shampoos, makeup, sunscreens, shaving creams, and moisturizers. Unfortunately, these may be chock-full of numerous chemicals of dubious safety. Instead of buying more aloe vera products, try filleting a real aloe leaf and applying the fresh aloe gel directly to your body and see how powerful it really is.
The miraculous effects of aloe vera aren’t just skin-deep. Consuming aloe vera gel heals the intestinal lining, boosts the immune system, enhances gut flora, and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and deliver them to the skin, all of which are essential for beauty. Aloe vera is a demulcent, meaning it relieves irritation and inflammation, and in today’s world, it is critical to get these types of foods into our diet. A broken digestive system wreaks havoc on our health. Plus, the gel is anti-inflammatory and can help eliminate puffy eyes, bloating, and constipation.
Aloe vera is not a tonic and therefore should be used only occasionally, not every day, especially when using it internally. It has a very strong mechanism of action, so once or twice a week topically or internally is all you need. It is also very bitter, so I recommend mixing it with fruits or vegetables to mask the flavor.
Cacao contains protein, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, bioavailable iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, omega-6 fatty acids, sulfur, and phosphorus. It is loaded with antioxidants that protect and repair your skin from premature aging. The oil in the cacao seed helps to improve and rejuvenate your skin’s condition and appearance because it’s a potent anti-inflammatory. The polyphenols in cacao also help to create healthy gut bacteria, which aid digestion. All of this assists the flow of blood throughout your body, which promotes cellular healing and increases hydration, leading to youthful, radiant skin. Cacao butter is often used topically as a natural skin lotion and skin rejuvenator.
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