The food you eat can either kill you or cure you! Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said it first…Let Food by thy Medicine! It’s the tagline of this blog and my coaching practice.
Another doctor, less famous asked this question; “Do you know that more people commit suicide with their knife and fork than with any other implement?”
So if food is medicine, then what are the healthiest of the healthy foods, the super duper of the superfoods that we should be putting into our bodies?
Well according to the April issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You and the charity CANCERactive, the following Superfoods are 10 of the most important foods for fighting cancer, but are also effective for battling any disease and so, are the best form of prevention.
Salmon, tuna, makerel, sardines and any other oily fish are packed with long chain omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in Vitamin A. Omega 3’s fight inflammation in the body. More and more inflammation is being recognized as a major factor in many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Studies have also linked Omega 3’s to improved mood, brain function, circulation and metabolism, and lowered blood pressure. I prefer my salmon to be wild caught Alaskan salmon, but any salmon is better than no salmon. 😉
Broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables, has health benefits that just don’t quit. It’s high in fiber, just like it’s cousins cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. It’s rich in galactose, a monosaccharide (single sugar), that binds to free radicals in the intestines to help flush them out. It also has sulforaphane which helps detoxify the liver. Just one cup of broccoli provides over 100% of your daily need for vitamin C and vitamin K, and is also a good source of vitamin A, folate and potassium.
Garlic… great for warding off more than vampires. Garlic is one of the oldest medicinal foods in the world. It is mentioned repeatedly in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medicinal texts. Just two to three of it’s selenium, tryptophan, and sulfur filled cloves will help support your immune system, but that’s not all. In numerous studies, garlic was shown to be lipid lowering, anti-clotting, anti-hypertensive, a powerful antioxidant, and antimicrobial. Impressed??? I was.
It seems the health benefits of garlic is found in a compound called allicin, which is created from the reaction of alliin and allinase, two other compounds that live in different parts of the garlic clove, coming together. So to get the full benefits of garlic, the way you prepare your garlic is very important. Garlic must be chopped or crushed in order to release the alliin and allinase allowing them to combine to create the health packed benefits of garlic. Also, allow your crushed garlic to rest for at least 15 minutes before using it.
Beets, Not for everyone, but they should be. I love beets, that wasn’t always the case, but I do now. In fact beets are in my smoothie daily, along with red grapes, spinach, walnuts and other goodies. Beets contain resveratrol, and anthocyanins, a group of compounds, and are one of the more than 6,000 members of the flavonoid family of polyphenol phytochemicals found in various plant foods. In addition to anthocyanins, the flavonoid group includes flavanols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and isoflavones. Anthocyanin pigments have been used in folk medicine for generations.
Mushrooms: Three years ago, if you would have asked anyone that knew me would I eat mushrooms, they would have flat out told you that mushrooms never pass her lips! And that would have been the truth. I still don’t like mushrooms, I think they taste like dirt and smell like what they are grown in…But, that being said, I now put them in every recipe that I can sneak them into and eat them regularly, because the health benefits of eating them far outweigh the smell and taste.
Some health benefits include:
- they prevent DNA damage
- slow cancer cell or tumor growth
- cause programmed cancer cell death
- and/or prevent tumors from acquiring a blood supply.
Eating mushrooms regularly is associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer in both pre and post-menopausal women. Consuming mushrooms frequently can decrease the incidence of breast cancer by up to 60 to 70 percent.
Mushrooms fight breast cancer in many ways. They contain compounds called “aromatase inhibitors” that help the body reduce the level of estrogen and prevent estrogen from stimulating breast tissue. The beneficial anti-breast cancer action in mushrooms was found in all species of mushrooms tested and was heat-stable, meaning that it continued to be effective even after the mushrooms were cooked.*
Maybe if more women ate more mushrooms, we would be able to finally say “We have a cure”.
Tomatoes: If you are worried about cancer, then you should be consuming seven to 10 servings of cooked tomatoes a week. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is the main active ingredient in tomatoes and you need between 25 and 40 mg of that a day to stay well. Other sources of lycopene are strawberries, peppers, peaches and carrots.
Believe it or not, tomatoes contain a high level of Calcium and vitamin K, and because tomatoes contain Vitamin B and potassium, they are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. The vitamin A found in tomatoes is fantastic for improving your vision. In fact, it’s been said that eating tomatoes is one of the best ways to prevent the development of night blindness. They are also packed full of the valuable mineral chromium, which works effectively to help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels under better control.
Carrots, are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. So when mom said eat your carrots, their “good for your eyes” she was right.
Studies show that carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers believe that carrots anti-cancer properties come from falcarinol and falcarindiol, which is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice.
Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers, the pigments (beta-carotene), that give these peppers their vibrant colors is also what makes them so healthful. They are named for their bell-like shape and are low in fat and calories, high in fiber and water content, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthan, and they are a richer source of vitamin C than oranges. A large red pepper contains 250 mg of vitamin C, whereas an orange only contains a mere 65 mg. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system cells and neutralizes toxins.
Pulses or Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans, are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and low in fat, have a low glycemic index, are an excellent source of folate, are naturally gluten-free, and should be included in a healthy vegetarian diet.
They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol levels, while insoluble fiber helps with digestion as well as maintaining regular bowel movements. Fiber-rich foods like legumes are often more filling than other foods, helping to keep you full until your next meal.
Legumes are very beneficial for people who:
- Are overweight
- Have diabetes
- Have high blood cholesterol levels
- Tend to be constipated
- Have celiac disease
- Are vegetarians
Brazil Nuts: One of the health benefits of Brazil nuts comes from their high levels of an important amino acid know as methionine. Methionine plays an essential role in the prevention of chronic illnesses, as well as in fending off premature aging symptoms and signs.
Another is Brazil nuts are high in selenium content. Just six Brazil nuts will provide you with your daily selenium requirement of 100-200 mcg, (micrograms).
Selenium, although not an anti-oxidant, plays an important role in the anti-oxidant defense system of the human body.
Here are just a few of the more important health benefits of selenium:
- Selenium helps fight free radicals and boosts the immune system. It encourages the production of glutathione, the most important antioxidant enzyme that defends our body against free radical damage.
- Selenium is essential to thyroid gland function.
- Selenium aids in protection against breast and prostate cancer, as well as other forms of cancer
- Selenium prevents blood clotting and helps protect from heart diseases.
Brazil nuts are a good source of complete proteins, meaning that they provide all of the essential amino acids needed for human growth and development, and required for muscle tissue repair.
Seeds make great between meal healthy snacks. Pumpkin seeds are a tasty source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and protein, this protein contains a high level of Tryptophan, which helps lower anxiety levels. Pumpkin seeds also have high levels of essential fatty acids that help keep our blood vessels healthy and lower bad cholesterol.
Sunflower seeds are another excellent source of B vitamins including folate. They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage, helps maintain healthy hair and skin, and may help to prevent cancer. These multitasking seeds are also rich in protein and heart-healthy fats.
And what is the perfect drink to wash all these super foods down with? Why green tea of course! Green tea is rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, which may also help to reduce the risk of some cancers. Green tea is recommended as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
* Taken from Super Immunity. by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
This is a phenominal list and includes foods that aren’t on the normal “Top 10” lists. Great explanations that are short, sweet, and to the point.
Thanks Marian, glad you liked it.
Good thing I incorporate most of these in my regular diet. Thanks for all the great information about the benefits of these foods. Not a fan of putting beets into a smoothie, but I do like juicing them with carrots and ginger for a nice cleansing juice.
I’ve never had juiced beets, I may have to try them. The way you do them sounds really good! I love beets any way I can get them.
Great selection, Mary. You provide in depth information on the nutritional value of each. These facts add much value. We especially love beets, roasted in parchment paper with balsamic vinegar, eaten hot or cold.
That sound delicious! My husband has just recently found that he likes balsamic vinegar, (his old stand by has always been apple cider vinegar). We both grew up eating pickled beets and eggs, well I grew up eating the eggs, not the beets until adulthood, so I’m sure we would love your recipe.
Great list! I love all of the great information you provided. These are all wonderful foods in implement into a healthy diet. I really appreciate how well rounded the list is as well. Thank you for sharing!
As soon as I saw the title of this blog, I knew I was going to love it! Yes, yes, and yes — tomatoes, garlic, seeds, beets, carrots, salmon & more – you are totally speaking my language. I will share this with my healthy community. Thanks!!
Thank you Johanna! Glad you found it worth sharing.
Thanks for the reminders of these great super foods. Garlic is a staple for me. Its a go-to as soon as I feel a bit off. I love eating fish this time of year as well! Thanks for this- well put together!
Garlic is a staple in my family too, Shelly. It finds it’s way into almost everything I cook.
When I was pregnant I craved mushrooms like crazy! I ate them at practically every meal and couldn’t get enough. I love them. It was interesting to learn that they help prevent breast cancer. My grandmother had breast cancer and it is something that concerns me about my own health. This post was awesome! So informative! I have a meatball recipe on my blog that uses half meat and half mushrooms…sounds good to me right about now!
Thank you, I’m so glad you liked it. I may have to go find that meatball recipe of yours and try it out.
Veggie heaven! This is a fairly good paleo list which I try to stick with for the most part. It can be tough to not get too acidic on that diet but good list of veggies here and nuts are my night time snack.
Nuts are my go to snacks also, Cynthia.