08 August 2010

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine

Here are some helpful food tips from our friend, Dr Mercola. I agree with most of what he has to say about foods, and I think he does a great job of getting vital information out to the public through his website and videos, etc. These foods listed below can help to reduce inflammation, one of the major causes of disease. Include them in your diet on a regular basis. Of course raw whole milk tops the list.
Potent Anti-Inflammatory, Immune-Boosting Foods
Unpasteurized grass-fed organic milk -- Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows contains both beneficial fats and bacteria that boost your immune system. An outstanding source of vitamin A, zinc, and enzymes, raw organic milk is not associated with any of the health problems of pasteurized milk such as rheumatoid arthritis, skin rashes, diarrhea and cramps.

Although raw milk availability is limited in the US, depending on where you live, you can locate the source closest to you at RealMilk.com.

Whey protein -- Even if you don't have access to raw milk, you can use a high-quality whey protein derived from the milk of grass-fed cows to receive much of the same health benefits. Whey protein contains beta-glucans and immunoglobulins, which protect your immune system and support your body's natural detoxification processes.

Fermented foods -- If you are serious about boosting your immunity, then adding traditionally fermented foods is essential. One of the most healthful fermented foods is kefir -- an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly microorganisms that balance your "inner ecosystem" and strengthen immunity.

Besides kefir, other good fermented foods include natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, and olives.

Raw organic eggs from free-range chickens -- Raw eggs are an inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat. And as long as you have a good source for fresh, organic raw eggs, you need not worry about salmonella. To find free-range pasture farms, try your local health food store, or go to http://www.eatwild.com or http://www.localharvest.org.

Grass-fed beef or organ meats -- This recommendation is only valid if you are a protein or mixed nutritional type as carb types really should not be eating beef. Grass-fed beef is very high in vitamins A and E, omega-3 fats, beta carotene, zinc and the potent immune system enhancer CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid).

Don't confuse "organic" with grass-fed, since many organically raised cows are still fed organic corn, which you don't want. However, most grass-fed cows are raised organically.

Coconuts and coconut oil -- Besides being excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin – a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens a baby's immunity.

When selecting coconuts and coconut oil, make sure you choose organic ones that are unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and are non-GMO.

Berries -- Blueberries and raspberries rate very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables. They are also lower in sugar than many other fruits. As mentioned earlier, black currants are another potent source of antioxidants.

Natural cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, and have been found to decrease total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in animal studies. Unsweetened cranberry juice has been traditionally used to successfully treat urinary tract infections.

Interestingly, a 50/50 mix of cranberries and oregano has been found to form a potent antibacterial agent that can help reduce the risk of food poisoning from seafood. Both plants contain phenolic compounds that have anti-microbial effects, but the synergistic effect of the two combined boosts the overall potency.

Mushrooms -- Mushrooms are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and even vitamin D -- one of the only foods that can provide you with this essential immune strengthener. Like whey protein, they also contain immune enhancing beta glucans. Medicinal mushrooms, especially Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake are notable for their ability to activate/modulate your immune system.

Chlorella – A near-perfect food, chlorella is a single-cell freshwater algae that acts as an efficient detoxification agent by binding to toxins (most of which promote chronic inflammation), such as mercury, and carrying them out of your system. The chlorophyll in the chlorella helps you process more oxygen, cleanses your blood and promotes the growth and repair of your tissues.

Bee propolis -- Propolis is a bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world, if not the broadest spectrum, according to master herbalist Donnie Yance. Propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important phenolic compounds that aid in immune response.

Tea – I've written quite a bit about the many health benefits of tea, so for more detailed information you can search my site using the search engine at the top of this page.

Matcha tea is the most nutrient-rich green tea and comes in the form of a stone-ground powder, completely unfermented. The best Matcha comes from Japan and has up to 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries, and seven times more than dark chocolate.

Tulsi is another tea loaded with antioxidants and other micronutrients that support immune function and heart health.

Herbs and spices – Not to be underestimated, fresh herbs and spices are good for far more than just adding flavor. Many of them top the list of high ORAC value foods, and most seem to have some immune modulating properties.

One 2008 study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods, found a strong and direct correlation between the phenol content of common herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit glycation and the formation of AGE compounds, making them potent preventers of heart disease and premature aging.

The spice with the highest rated ORAC value, and the deemed the most beneficial of the herbs tested in the study just mentioned, is cloves. Cloves contain eugenol, which has mild anesthetic and anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for toothaches and sore throats, in addition to their ability to prevent more serious problems such as heart disease.

Another excellent choice is garlic. Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal, and unlike synthetic antibiotics, bacteria, viruses, and yeast do not build up resistance to it. Garlic also contains allicin, a chemical that is anticarcinogenic. It also has been shown to lower LDL, lower total cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of blood clots and stroke, lower homocysteine, and even prevent insect bites -- including mosquitoes and ticks.

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