raspberriesYour eyes do not deceive you, those are fresh, organic raspberries and chunks of avocado. I’m on a Raspberry Avocado roll this week, and let me tell you why.

Inflammation and Fat Loss.

Have you ever had swollen joints, belly aches, irritating or chronic aches and pains, even headaches? All of those – signs of inflammation.

Do you exercise regularly? Building muscle actually happens as a result of tearing the muscle up and the subsequent repair – and that process involves inflammation too.

We’re lucky our body gets inflamed actually, because that’s how it deals with those external and internal stressors. Inflammation is the protective effort of the body to remove the offending substance or cause of irritation, and initiate a healing process. It can be a very good thing – except that staying in prolonged state of inflammation (for example overtraining, constantly eating irritating foods, long-term emotional or psychological distress) can lead to health problems and disease.

As you may have guessed, when the body is constantly in a state of repair and fighting off threats, trying to lose weight becomes an even bigger battle. The last thing your body wants to do when it’s chronically inflamed is let go of its energy reserves (stored fat). In fact, elevated cortisol levels (the stress hormone) have been linked to increased belly fat, especially in women.

What you can do to remedy this potentially threatening situation is get some food ninjas on your team like I do.

Here are a few reasons I like to include raspberries and avocados in my anti-inflammatory ninja food list:

• The metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by the phytonutrients found in raspberries
• Recent research shows that organic raspberries are significantly higher in total antioxidant capacity than non organic.
• Fully ripe raspberries provide significantly higher antioxidant support.
• Raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role in lowering oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and thereby altering the development or reproduction of cancer cells.
• High in Vitamin C, manganese and fiber, raspberries also contain vitamin K, folate, omega 3’s, copper, Vitamin E and potassium. WHAT A TINY POWERHOUSE!!
•Including avocado or avocado oil when consuming leafy greens significantly increases (between 200-400%!!) your body’s ability to absorb two very important carotenoid antioxidants: lycopene and beta carotene. That’s actually a fun fact about vitamins and phytonutrients in general – because they’re fat-soluble, we absorb way more of them when we eat them with fat. So don’t skimp on the real butter, or be afraid to eat nuts, oil, avocado or any of the good fats!
•Speaking of carotenoids, avocados have them in abundance. Carotenoids benefit us with their anti-inflammatory properties.
•Because of its unusually high concentration of extremely beneficial fats, avocado is one fatty food that you should never avoid. For example, oleic acid (which makes up about half of avocado’s total fat) helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids.
•Avocados are one of the few land plants that carry the fatty acid polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs). PFA’s are widely found in ocean plants, but rare in land plants. PFA’s have excellent anti-inflammatory benefits.

Too many of us walk around with inflamed joints, just waiting to start aching the moment we overtrain or turn the wrong way. My friend Rebecca just told me today she has to stop weight training because she found out she has a stress fracture in her foot. Another person wrote me through the site today asking me if it would be a good idea to start doing cardio 3 hours a day 4 times a week to lose 50 pounds fast – even though she experiences joint pain in her knees.

My reaction in both of these cases was the same – don’t add to the inflammation in your body! Focus on FOOD, anti-inflammatory foods specifically (like avocados and raspberries, lemon, ginger, blueberries, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables and omega-3 rich foods), and decreasing the stress in your life and on your body. Sleep. Hydrate. Do pain-free exercise.

If you’ve ever experienced a plateau in your training, even though you were working out 5-6 times a week, it might be time to allow your body to rest and reset, rebuild and shore up its reserves. It will not burn fat when it is constantly trying to heal you. I’ve burned my adrenals out overtraining, and let me tell you there is nothing fun about being forced to stop exercising when you’re an active person.

Pay attention to your training, and be smart about your weight loss strategies. Employ some ninja foods like the ones I mentioned and start kung-fu-beating the crap out of stress and inflammation!


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