With a title like this, you would probably expect me to tell you about my top five nutritional supplements, right? Well, not so fast as I thought it would be more fun if my secret ingredients came as common, ordinary foods that you may just want to incorporate more of into your diet - some of which may actually surprise you.
- Chocolate - yes, this is actually a super food as it packs in more disease fighting polyphenols than almost any other food on the planet. Polyphenols are the molecular components of food that gives it it’s color or flavor. For instance, the blue in blueberries; the purple skin of an eggplant, etc. But, it can’t be an ordinary chocolate bar stuffed with sugar and waxy ingredients. You should choose a 99% or 100% dark chocolate. It will taste bitter; but, do what I do: melt it down in a pot on the stove; add in a few drops of your favorite natural sweetener (like stevia or monk fruit) and sip it down, toss it into a smoothie. Heck, this entire article could be about the wonders of chocolate, but let me stop here by saying it is one of the heart healthiest and brain healthiest foods around.
- Onions/Garlic/Leeks/ShallotsChives - I am not cheating here as these foods are in the same family called allium. So if I had put Allium up there, you may not have known to what I was referring. Since these foods add much flavor to so many dishes from so many cuisines around the world, you are bound to like one if not all of these. But, their surprise, amongst many other health benefits is that they act as prebiotics in the body. They provide food for the good bacteria that live in your gut to thrive. Many of you have heard of probiotics but without prebiotics our guts just can’t be healthy. And if our guts aren’t healthy, our immune system and pretty much every other system in our bodies won’t be functioning at their peak. Oh, one other thing - garlic is the biggest source of allicin - a powerful anti-oxidant that also does wonders for your blood pressure.
- Eggs/Mushrooms - okay, these aren’t anywhere close to being related but they do make for a great omelet. And the other thing they have in common is that they are one of the few food sources that contain vitamin D - in fact mushrooms are the only plant based way of getting some D. Vitamin D plays a critical role in our health - from immunity to cancer to bone health and almost everything in between. There isn’t enough I can say about vitamin D, so make sure you get enough every day. Sunshine helps but for most of us, to get enough vitamin D from the sun is near impossible.
- Manuka honey - not any honey will do in this circumstance. It has to be honey derived from a specific New Zealand plant; because when honey bees pollinate from this plant, their honey is more potent because it has a higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO). This is considered to be another superfood because this particular type of honey has medicinal properties that has been used to help heal wounds, increase immunity, and to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities. Many people put it on minor cuts and scrapes to hasten healing. And still others use it for stomach aches and to improve digestion.
- Fish - any fish will do here, but in order to keep it healthy, you want to choose smaller, more oily fish. I am talking sardines, herring, fatty wild caught salmon, etc. The smaller and more oiler the fish, the less likely that fish is contaminated with mercury and PCB’s - another very toxic chemical. So, fish provides us with many healthy things including vitamin D; but also, the all important omega 3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA - they are one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory agents. And high levels of DHA taken when we are children may even aid in brain development.
I could go on and on about the health benefits of these superfoods. The only way to get healthy and stay healthy is to eat heathy. These foods are a good place to start.