Eat It, Eat It (No, Not a Weird Al Yankovic Song)
As a Health Coach, I get a lot of the same questions: what should I cut from my diet? What shouldn’t I be eating? What’s bad for me?
My answer to those questions is why focus on the negative? Why is it all about what not to do? Let’s talk about what you should be eating and why? Did you know food can cure you of disease? Did you know food can give you energy, improve your brain health, and even help your heart, lungs, circulation and bones? That’s only a few ways food can positively fuel your body.
Let’s take a second to talk about supplements as I believe them to be relevant when it comes to better health [and this conversation in particular]. While I believe in supplements, I always start from a place of nourishing your body with the food you eat, but I understand that’s not always possible for several reasons such as being vegan or not being able to eat fish and even in some cases, it’s impossible to get enough of one mineral or vitamin by just eating food. In those cases, you may need some supplements, and if it gives you peace of mind, and you like taking supplements go for it, it helps, but get your blood checked often to make sure you are not overdoing it.
Back to real food. The point I am making is Food is KING. Not all food. For instance, if nothing else, I advise people to cut out or “crowd out” processed foods and sugar. You can replace those things with real food – food raised from the earth or born on a farm. Go for ingredients that are at their purest. Buy meat that is organic, antibiotic free and grass-fed. When you shop produce also try to buy organic. There are some veggies and fruits that are among the worst when it comes to pesticides and other chemicals. Check out the Dirty Dozen https://draxe.com/dirty-dozen/
While there are hundreds of wonderful foods to eat, I am listing my Top 10 Power Foods.
- Beets are hands down one of the best power foods. They are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Apples It’s true an apple a day can keep the doctor way. Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Beans are a top source of fiber and protein, as well as B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Black beans pack disease-fighting antioxidants. I like to add black beans to my brown rice to make it a heartier meal. Try adding some hot sauce for extra punch. Hot sauce will also speed up your metabolism.
- Salmon is the number-one source of omega-3s, the fatty acids that can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and may even increase serotonin, a happy-mood brain chemical. If you plan to make fish, consider making salmon first. I try to eat it at least once a week.
- Berries are packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, that may help keep memory sharp as you age, and some forms like raspberries contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. All berries are great sources of fiber, a nutrient important for a healthy digestive system.
- Spinach is a great, natural multivitamin because it is packed with A, C, K, and folate, which boosts the production of brain chemicals that affect your mood (low levels of folic acid are associated with depression). When making a salad, go for the spinach. It has more nutrients than any other lettuce.
- Whole Grains In general, carbohydrates get a bad rap, but you need them in your diet as a source of energy. It is the number one nutrient that gives your body the fuel it needs to perform optimally. People who eat them are better able to lose belly fat. I like to eat whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and quinoa to name a few. Some of these grains like quinoa count as a complete protein, which means it supplies all the essential amino acids your body needs. Toss in veggies and it’s a balanced meal. Also bread is fine, just go for the whole-grain kind because it is a stellar source of insoluble fiber.
- Garlic packs a lot of heart-healthy benefits, and can protect against stomach and colon cancer. According to Redbook, a recent study also suggests that adding garlic—or onion—to whole grains may help you absorb more of their iron and zinc. I use garlic in 90 percent of my recipes. Each of them starts with a sauté of garlic in some olive oil.
- Mushrooms are one of my favorite ingredients. These little guys offer so much. Mushrooms are a good source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral, as well as copper, niacin, potassium and phosphorous. They provide protein, vitamin C and iron. Research suggests mushrooms can help prevent cancer, offer relief from high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Eggs can help you feel full and consume less calories throughout the day so don’t skip breakfast. Eat your eggs, and don’t ditch the yolks. Yolks are a good source of vitamin D and choline, a nutrient important for keeping the liver, heart, and brain healthy.
- I encourage you to incorporate each of these into your diet at least once a week. Not sure if you like them, try them, and even google a recipe with the ingredient to taste it in a meal. There are so many ways to heal yourself. Let food be one of them. Which one of these ingredients are your favorite?
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”