When I think of stiffness and inflammation, the image of the Tin Man from the Wizard
of OZ comes to mind. What he needed was a little oil and a healthy heart to keep him
going strong. Adding the right fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and increasing specific minerals
in our diet, will support a healthy heart and help reduce and relieve the stiffness and pain
from which many people suffer. Obviously, the Tin Man didn’t know about the anti-
inflammatory benefits of flax seeds, chia seeds, or almonds for heart health. If he did, he
would have felt a lot better.
The Tin Man lived in OZ and was forced to battle a wicked witch and thousands of flying
monkeys. The demon monkeys you and I battle are all of the unhealthy food choices that
fly in our face everywhere we go.
Like a lot of people, I bought into the low-fat/non-fat diet program. The thought process
made sense to me. Eating fat makes you fat. So I stopped eating fat, and in a short
amount of time, I gained 10 lbs. and felt terrible. I was hungry all of the time, craved
carbs. and ate too much protein. My joints ached and recovery time from exercise took
longer. I felt like the Tin Man every time I moved. This scared me, particularly because
my family has a history of rheumatoid arthritis.
I started doing research and discovered that the subject of fats had generated some of
the greatest confusion surrounding eating a healthy diet. What I came to realize is the
fact that we need specific fats in our diet to be healthy. Eating the right fats can make
you thin! Most of us have trained our bodies to burn carbohydrates for energy, which
does not result in metabolic efficiency. This is especially true when the diet contains
processed hydrogenated fats and carbohydrates (fructose and high fructose corn sugar,
HFCS). HFCS increases the appetite, converts into fat (free-fatty acids, damaging
cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin levels soar. Insulin is a storage hormone and
HFCS contains a compound which “locks” fat into tissues and prevents it from being
released. This also results in damaged veins, arteries, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty
liver disease, and insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome and Type II
What I discovered is just avoiding processed food and drinks can take you a long way
down the road to improved health and move away from addictive foods that destroy
your life. Including the right fats and carbohydrates in your diet will help you lose and
manage your weight, keep your joints lubricated and your heart healthy.
Nuts and seeds provide a great source of essential fatty acids, which is a cornerstone to a
healthy dietary plan. Here’s why:
When you eat seeds and nuts, they fill you up quickly, shut down your appetite,
and keep you satisfied for a longer period of time.
Chia and flax seeds provide a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids
(ALA, alpha linolenic acid), which is built into the structure of every cell wall,
providing fluidity so nutrients can easily flow in and waste can flow out.
ALA allows cells to communicate easily.
Clean burning fats provided in nuts and seeds promote healthy DNA and genetic
expression on a cellular level.
ALA reduces and balances the amount of inflammatory cytokines in allergies,
chronic skin problems, joint diseases, migraines and bowel disorders. They
function somewhat like an aspirin, only in a healthy way.
ALA contributes to the production of eicosanoids, which are powerful hormone-
like substances that work in the body to support proper functions of the heart and
blood flow, healthy regulation of the immune system, strong digestion, proper
breathing, fertility and kidney health.
Sunflower seeds and almonds are great sources of vitamin E, a wonderful
antioxidant which keeps your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Your blood
stream is your “nutritional highway” delivering essential nutrients to every cell in
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of zinc, which supports the immune
system and hormonal health of both men and women.
Nuts and seeds are excellent food choices if you want to replenish mineral levels
as they provide selenium, magnesium, calcium and copper, all critical for bone
and heart health.
Nuts and seeds are very healthy dietary options. The best way to eat them is to either
soak them over night and dry them at a low temperature or lightly roast them in your
oven on a low temperature. Before drying, you can lightly sprinkle them with sea salt
to increase mineral nutrients. Soaking nuts and seeds prior to eating them improves
digestibility and assimilation of nutrients.