Healing Foods For Optimal Health
So much is written about food and diets these days that it just becomes white noise to people.
Fewer people are interested in their health until it is too late. That is when they realise that their health is all they really had.
People spend too much time focused on their external world and environment (everyone and everything else) instead of their own inner world (their health and happiness for them).
In times where obesity is on the rise and mental illness is becoming more and more prevalent, it’s time to stop and take notice of your life and how to make YOUR health a priority.
Even though people live life in the fast lane, they sure don’t move very far or very fast anymore.
The warrior creed is fast fading and with it the meaning of what life really means.
Time to put a stop to that I think!
If optimal health is your goal, there’s no getting around your diet. Your physical health is a direct reflection of what you put into your body, and how you live your life in general.
The food we eat has an overreaching effect on our health and wellbeing whether we are conscious of it or not. Becoming more aware of your diet and the healing properties of food will help you to make the necessary adjustments to meet the needs of your body. It will also do an enormous amount to maintain and improve your health.
“Your health should be YOUR top priority!”
Too many people are taking their health for granted and make no mistake, it will catch up with you.
It seems that the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is fast becoming the subconscious mantra of society.
“It won’t happen to them”,
“I can eat what I want”,
“I will be fine, nothing will happen to me”.
The phrase “Smoking Kills” on every cigarette packet seems to apply to everyone else.
Your health is all you really have and it is vital to START listening to your body and to STOP thinking that you can eat anything you want and get away with it, because believe me if you are not careful, it will catch up with you at some stage.
Your body can only use the food you put into your body to literally rebuild you. Every day, cells die and are replaced using the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbs you give it….or don’t
“Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
Food creates hormones that affect your behaviours that become your actions.
Foods help you heal and help prevent real world diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. It is argued that everyone is predisposed to certain cancer genes and it is how you live your life both physically, mentally and spiritually as to whether anything becomes of that.
It has been said that 95% of cancers for example are preventable. We have to look at the underlying cause to help prevent this disease from forming.
Remember you cannot catch cancer or heart disease or obesity. They are diseases brought on by poor health, poor environment and not allowing your body to heal itself through correct nutrition and a strong immune system. Prevention is always better than the cure
“The microbe is nothing; the terrain is everything.”
Louis Pasteur (who invented pasteuristaion) is the god father of what todays modern medicine is based on. He noted that germs were the source of viruses and disease and his “germ theory” is what is used today to treat disease.
He based his whole theory on the prevention of germs and disagreed with the above statement until his deathbed. Louis Pasteur then admitted that the above statement was actually true, that when a body is in homeostasis or balance with a strong immune system it can look after itself and kill the germs that lead to viruses and diseases.
But Pasteur’s initial work on germ theory had already become most prevalent, and still is, which is why we try and kill all germs with drugs and keep hospitals sterile. Thankfully, more information is coming to the forefront all the time about healthy gut flora, probiotic foods, strengthening immunity, and preventing disease.
Our bodies are living ecosystems full of bacteria which sustain our lives. Healthy colonies of good bacteria help protect us from bad bacteria, and without the good gut flora we have little defense. People with severely weakened immune systems have to be careful not contact pathogenic germs, yes; but the normal ideal is to have a strong immune system that wards off pathogens without needing to hide from them.
The term “superfood” has become something of a marketing buzzword in recent years, and many processed food products will boast such ingredients. But don’t be fooled. Processing tends to denature nutrients, so what you end up with is typically a far inferior version compared to the real thing.
Your best bet is to simply stick with the originals, meaning whole organic foods where possible.
Protective Power of Food
Nutritional science has shed light on the importance of eating whole foods recently, something that has been known for centuries. Nutrients in foods work synergistically to promote health, whereas processed food, which is devoid of nutrients can promote disease.
It has been identified that there are around 50 essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential fats) that we regularly need to consume from our diet on a regular basis to function optimally and over 1200 phytonutrients from fruits, vegetables, beans and animal products.
These phytonutrients are bio active compounds that supply foods of their colour and flavour.
Anti oxidants for example help protect the body from free radicals, unstable molecules that are produced by your metabolism and exposure to environmental pollutants and can damage tissues and organs.
So you should aim to eat as many colourful foods every day and rotate them regularly to get the most benefit.
The Phytonutrient Rainbow
|Green||Broccoli, kale, Brussel Sprouts, Leafy green veg, peas, courgette, green beans, asparagus, cabbage and sprouted grasses||Protects eyes, boosts immunity and supports healthy skin and blood. Contains chlorophyll which helps detoxify the body, boost energy and helps rebuild red blood cells and also contains anti cancer properties and supports a good healthy hormone balance.|
|Orange/Yellow||Carrots, Squash, peppers, grapefruit, oranges, mangoes||Great source of vitamin A, has anti cancer and heart protective properties and protects, eyes, brain and strengthens the immune system|
|Red||Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red cabbage, tomatoes, watermelon, cranberries||Helps protect against heart disease and cancer and vision loss|
|Blue/Purple||Blueberries, aubergine, grapes||Helps fight free radicals, has anti cancer, helps balance hormones and supports healthy ageing|
|White||Garlic, onion, chives scallions, parsnips, cauliflower, potatoes||Boosts immunity and has anti cancer, anti inflammatory and anti viral properties|
Humans are highly adaptable. This comes from the overwhelming urge to survive programmed in all of us. But we choose whether that is through suffering or less that adequate health or giving ourselves the best health and happiness.
Check out these diets from different cultures to see how they compare.
The Western Diet
It is no secret that the diet of the western world is disease ridden, with high intakes of sugar, high fat food, artificial sweeteners, salt and refined grains. It also typically contains trans fats, high sugar drinks and processed meats. Many studies have indicated that this diet contributes to elevated incidences of obesity, heart disease and cancer.
In a western diet, typically the main nutritional building blocks are fats, carbohydrates and protein derived from processed, nutrient poor foods high in sugars and refined grains and saturated fats.
Mediterranean – Based mainly on fresh vegetables and some fruit with healthier oils from olives and fresh fish. This diet has been shown to help protect against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Palaeolithic – Also known as the cave man or hunter gatherer diet, this diet is based on what is assumed early man lived on i.e. grass fed meat, vegetables, fruits, nut and seeds, fish.
Japanese – Traditional Japanese cuisine is rich in fat soluble vitamins from seafood and plenty fermented foods such as Miso. Japanese meals tend to be smaller but nutrient dense, packed full of goodness. People who have followed this diet are amongst the healthiest in the world
The Difference between the traditional and western diets are that traditional diets are mainly one ingredient foods, plenty of vegetables and fruits with meats from clean sources, coupled together with plenty essential fats from fish with a higher balance of omega 3 oils to omega 6 and are high in antioxidants and nutrients and as such rarely snack between meals.
Variety is the Spice of Life
The key to nutrition is to eating as much variety as possible and looking to eat more portions of vegetables and fruits, nutrient dense foods that your body craves. No single food group can supply all the nutrients we need, so we need to mix it up. A varied seasonal diet, rich in plant foods can lower your total risk of diseases such as cancer and obesity. So look to eat as many different coloured fruits and vegetables as you can and aim for 10 portions per day with more emphasis on green veg and berries.
No more of this “but it tastes nice”. We have to become hardier, to start eating foods that our bodies are designed to use, not the crap that is peddled is supermarkets to make a fast buck.
In sports performance do you think your will perform at a high level using processed foods devoid of nutrients?
“Just because it is labelled as a food, doesn’t mean it should be consumed!”
As Nature Intended
The success of traditional diets in sustaining good health and wellbeing lies in the fact that they each contain a balanced range of seasonal nutrient dense foods, which is why they are so beneficial to your health.
Local and Seasonal
Nature moves in cycles. Before the advent of global distribution, local food produced was a staple diet.
Let’s look at that…
Berries for example, rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from harm come out as the summer starts so they help protect the skin against the sun. As more fruits ripen locally, more and more are consumed, which not only help the body’s immune system, but their sugars were stored for when winter came and food was scarcer.
Organic farming recognises the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced. Farming of organic foods is strictly controlled to allow fewer artificial chemicals to leech into the food. They also use more traditional farming methods to enhance the soil to produce nutrient dense food.
In contrast, modern day intensive farming methods do not replenish the soil with fertilizers packed with minerals and instead are sprayed with fertilisers to rapidly grow the plant, which contain fewer minerals and so the soil becomes depleted and less nutrients are passed onto the plant.
Let Food Be Your Medicine
Food is the foundation upon which a healthy life is based. DO NOT underestimate it!
It is the body’s buffer against the stresses and strains of an increasingly toxic environment and we must protect it as much as we can through proper nutrition.
Science has proven that good food can be used to support long term health as well as prevent us from catching diseases.
Make sure you start to listen to your body, to give it all the nutrients it needs on a daily basis. Reduce or eliminate foods that do not serve you. “It tastes nice” is not a good enough excuse, you control your taste buds, not the other way around!
Your health is the most important thing you have, remind yourself of that daily.
You choose the body you wear!
You owe it to yourself to eat the most nutrient dense foods available.
In re establishing the fundamental link between food and health and exploring the benefits of traditional diets we are looking forwards by taking the best of our inherited knowledge about food and applying it to our often fast paced modern world.
To your strength and Health