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5 Foods You Need Every Day

20 J0000004UTC 2011

I’ve recently noticed that Nutrition is often lumped into “alternative healthcare” or “alternative medicine,” a totally illogical move on the part of both health care (or sickness care) professionals and of us as the patient-client.

First off, it’s food, people. You do it every day. You think about it all the time. You lust after it, loathe it, crave it, and are drawn to it or repulsed by it based on taste, appearance, texture, and history. Food is psychological, emotional, relational, aesthetic, and ritualistic.

Second, food is not alternative in it’s capacity to either make you sick or keep you from becoming sick. It’s doing one or the other all the time. In this, it is the first factor in your wellness or illness, not the alternative factor. I suggest that drugs, procedures, surgeries, and supplements are alternative to nutrition and food. Everything you put in your mouth has an action and creates a reaction, even if it’s at the unseen, cellular level.

This being said, what should you eat? There are lots of amazing, nutrient-rich, health-promoting foods to eat. There are also foods good for your soul– to rest your anxiety and soothe your psyche. These are often not “good” for your health in the strictest sense (not celery or flax), but here I will disagree just enough to say that we are more than cells and tissues.

Here’s 5 foods I recommend you eat everyday. These are all high in vitamins, minerals, and cancer-battling antioxidants. The caveat is that each of us in an individual with a unique body and unique needs. Some of these foods might be allergens for you. Listen to your body, but don’t listen too much to your taste buds or your kid-brain, because tastes do change and you will probably thank yourself for it later.

1. Garlic: In the allium family with onions and shallots, garlic is chock full of vitamins and minerals and is historically tremendously healing. It’s high sulfur content (chiefly allicin) is heart protective, cholesterol reducing, blood pressure lowering, infection fighting, antibacterial, pathogen fighting, anti-Candidia, and cancer-protective. Allow to sit chopped or crushed for several minutes before cooking or using.

2. Greens: Take your pick from romaine lettuce, Bibb (Boston) lettuce, arugula, spinach, field greens, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, watercress, beet greens, and bok choy. Guess what? Greens and other vegetables are made of almost entirely carbohydrates! So, when you get a carb craving, your giant salad might not fix it, but you can tell your girlfriends that you’re going for it anyhow.

3. Berries: These dark red, purple, and blue fruits are rich in the phytonutrients and are free-radical scavenging antioxidants. They are also sweet, juicy, easy to eat, and able to be used in a plethora of dishes and recipes. Buy cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries fresh, frozen (no added sugar), or dried (same) in order to use year-round. Some can be picked wild, but make sure you know what you’re up to– we pick serviceberries here in Colorado in the late summer and they are a tasty, super-nutrient-dense treat.

4. Crucifers: Also known as Brassicas, this family of typically green vegetables includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, Chinese (Napa) cabbage, arugula (rocket), and my favorite, kale. Mega-high in a massive amount of vitamins and minerals, these are also high in sulfur compounds needed for liver detoxification and particular plant-nutrients needed to fight cancer. Broccoli is also particularly high in a substance needed to metabolize “used up” estrogen, often problematic in sex organ cancers.

5. Cacao/Dark Chocolate: For sanity, pleasure, and the plant pigments known as flavonoids (also found in berries, grapes, and apple skins). Though cocoa butter is fat, it does not tend to raise blood lipid levels when eaten in very dark chocolate. Find really quality stuff of 70% cocoa and eat only a small amount (way more satisfying that the brown food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, and 2% cocoa found in Hershey’s). User beware if you are prone to cold sores as cocoa is high in the amino acid arginine, which causes the sores and needs to be balanced with the amino acid lysine.

You might still be eating Totino’s pizzas and Oreos (I’ve eaten my vastly huge fair share) but now you know the five foods to add each day to make nutrition mainstream, not alternative.

Happy Eating!

References: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray; The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood; my brain.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 J0000004UTC 2011 10:58 am

    I’ve had all but dark chocolate today. :o)

    • 20 J0000004UTC 2011 10:59 am

      There’s still time– and probably motivation!

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