The best “healing” foods

MelissaK Blogger

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Last year multiple news sources reported multinational food company Nestlé is developing “medical food” supplements to address diseases such as epilepsy and intestinal disorders.

 

But given that the active ingredients in these medical foods come from actual foods like tomatoes, coffee, and grapes, we have to ask: Why not just eat real food?

 

Real food is not only more nutritionally complete than supplements, it’s also cheaper, tastes better, and leads to better social relationships.

 

When it comes to eating for best health and disease prevention, there are several “superfoods” that you should get into your diet as much as possible.

 

  • Soups made from old-school broth. Homemade broth contains collagen (why inject it when you can eat it?), as well as glucosamine, which keeps your joints healthy and less creaky. And because it’s made from bones, homemade broth also contains crucial bone-building minerals calcium and magnesium. There are numerous recipes out there, but the basic method is tossing bones into a soup pot or crockpot, adding just enough water to cover them, adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of salt, and simmering or cooking on low for 4-24 hours (the longer you cook it, the more nutrients will be extracted). Pro tip: Roast a whole chicken once a week for dinner and just save the bones for your next batch of broth (you can keep them in the freezer).
  • Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels-sprouts, and other cruciferous veggies are high in eye-health nutrients like beta-carotene and lutein, as well as vitamins C, K and E, folate and other minerals. They also contain substances called glucosinolates (which give them that sulfury smell) that have been shown to inactivate carcinogens, protect cell DNA, and prevent tumor growth and migration.
  • Omega-3 fats. Did you know the human brain is almost 60% fat? Aside from supplying raw materials for keeping your brain in top form, eating fat helps your body make healthy cells and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Additionally, omega-3 fats prevent abnormal heartbeats and lower the factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and possible heart attacks or strokes. Great sources of omega-3s include cold-water fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines. and anchovies. Omega-3s are also found in grass-fed animals, pasture-raised chicken eggs (eat the yolk!), walnuts, and flaxseed. Find sustainable seafood near you with the Marine Stewardship Council’s free tool, or get seafood from Vital Choice shipped to you.
  • Tea and turmeric. Polyphenols found in black and green tea and turmeric have shown antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects in several animal-based studies. Reap the benefits by adding tea time to your daily ritual and incorporating turmeric in your cooking.
  • Ginger root. Ginger has piqued researchers’ interest recently as a potential cancer fighter that prevents ovarian and prostate cancer cell growth. Ginger is delicious in soups, meats, or vegetables, or try brewing tea with fresh ginger and adding honey to taste. If you’re on anticoagulant medications, make sure you check with your doctor before eating ginger.

For great recipes that use many of the foods and ingredients we covered, check out The Zenbelly Cookbook, Ruhlman’s Twenty, and Nom Nom Paleo.

 

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1 Comment
Anonymous

I try to incorporate as many whole real foods in my cooking. I also use turmeric for seasoning and make my own bone broth.