On my quest for good health there are 5 foods that really stand out in my mind for the amazing benefits they offer! I thought I would share them because not only do they taste good but they are things that you can start incorporating today to help support and strengthen your body!
Oh boy do I love blueberries! When they’re in season I tend to overindulge a little to much! Blueberries are nutrient dense superstars! They are loaded with fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese and some copper. One of the many benefits of blueberries is how well it supports cardiovascular health. They have been found to offer protection to the delicate cell walls of the blood vessels. They also contain nutrients that help to stabilize high blood pressure in those that have that issue and helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels in those that don’t. It supports both systolic and diastolic pressures when a couple of cups are consumed each day. They also performed some clinical studies on people over the age of 76 and determined that blueberries offered improvements in some areas of cognitive ability. So if you’re struggling with memory or a foggy brain it sure wouldn’t hurt to eat some blueberries! I love to use them in smoothies or just eat them fresh with a little bit of coconut cream. When purchasing blueberries they are more heavily sprayed then other produce so be sure to grab some organic ones. I like to pick them or go to a local farmer that has them and buy a lot at once and freeze them for use all year long!
A really interesting twist on blueberries comes from Sarah Jackson, the Fermented Foody. She actually ferments her blueberries for a healthy twist. I can’t wait to try them! Here’s the link if you want to give them a go!
I’ve mentioned mushrooms a lot on my blog because of all of the great benefits. I love them so much I intend on trying my hand at growing some this year. This will be a totally different venture for us! Mushrooms have quite a bit of Vitamin D which is essential to keep the immune system healthy. Shiitakes and Reishi are two of the best ones in my opinion. Reishi mushrooms are nicknamed the “Mushroom of immortality” and have been used for centuries in Asia for it’s medicinal properties. I love to add them to just about anything like soups, stir fry, roasted meats and even veggie side dishes! Here’s an easy recipe that uses mushrooms to try.
Miso is a Japanese word that means “fermented beans.” I really like to use miso to flavor up some of my dishes. If you are avoiding soy you can find miso paste that has a bean or chickpea base. I think it has been instrumental in supporting gut healing within myself. You can make a simple miso broth with a few veggies for a quick probiotic soup. Because of the fermentation process that it goes through it contains antioxidants that increase with the fermentation process. Usually longer fermented misos which can even span years have more of these benefits. Miso also contains protein and fiber as well. If you are using it to flavor foods it will still contain the protein and fiber benefit but to retain the probiotic benefit it is best not to boil it or bring it up to a high temperature. I will usually add it at the end of making my dish when it is brought down to a very low simmer or just stir it into the hot meal and warm it for a few minutes before eating. If you are getting a soy based miso it’s best to only buy organic as most all soy in this country is GMO and not healthy.
Here is another fermented goody that could really help with digestion. It is one of the easiest ferments to make at home and it is just simply fermented cabbage. Raw Sauerkraut is loaded with probiotics and just eating a fork full or two before your meal could give your digestive tract an added boost. If you make your own or buy a good raw fermented kraut and not the vinegar type it may contain Lactobillus Acidopholus, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. caret, and L. brevis to name a few of the live cultures. Populating the good flora in your gut has numerous benefits since the majority of the immunity is located in the gut. Many times the digestive flora has become out of balance due to antibiotic/steroid use or just eating processed food. This is a good ally to use when trying to restore that balance. It helps to fight infections and helps the digestive tract to function better.
Coconut oil has a ton of benefits! This is one of my favorite oils to use since I don’t eat dairy. It contains something called Lauric Acid which has been found to reduce the risk of some cancers. Coconut oil contains approximately 40% of this acid. There are also clinical studies being done to see how coconut oil stacks up for use in fighting Alzheimers disease. There have been several instances where Alzheimer patients report improvement in their memory with regular use of coconut oil. The results of the clinical studies should be released mid 2017. On top of the internal benefits it is also great to use on the skin and I include it on a regular basis with my skin routine. You can also use coconut oil for oil pulling first thing in the morning by taking a tsp of the oil and swishing it in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes to help detox. Be sure to spit the coconut oil in the trash can and don’t swallow it!
So those are a few of the foods that I’ve incorporated in my healthy eating plan. They are all foods you could easily find and they taste great too!