Forget all the buzz about acai berries (although, not a bad nutritional profile. however, how much longer until these “sustainably harvested” rainforest berries destroy some amazon environment?). Here is a remarkably unexotic list of some of the best foods out there.
Sure, they taste a little like dirt and they’ll tint your poop a lovely burgundy, but beets are a superfood. Betaine, their primary metabolite, is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and liver-protective agent. Beets improve liver function and detox largely by thinning the bile, allowing it to flow more freely through the liver and into the small intestine, stimulating digestion and assisting in removal of toxins. Beets are high in folate, potassium (good for blood pressure regulation), and iron. Delicious steamed and served tossed with ginger and balsamic, or grated raw into an apple-carrot salad. Good for juicing with celery, green apple, and ginger for a power punch nutrient drink! Best in springtime. Look for baby beets, which are sweeter. And don’t forget the greens! Beet greens taste a little like spinach (same family) and can be sauteed up for a lovely side dish.
Coconut oil and coconut butter are making a comeback. Unfairly victimized as a “bad” fat due to its saturated fat content back in the day, many have wrongly shied away from coconut oil. But it is highly stable, making it good for high temp sauteing or frying, and it is high in lauric acid, making it anti-parasitic and anti-pathogenic (read: it’ll kill parasites, bacteria, and yeast). It also may boost metabolism and thyroid function. Your brain is something like 70% fat, and your cell membranes need saturated fats to remain pliable, so this is an important fat. Oh, and it is delicious. Try coconut butter in smoothies or in place of butter as a spread. Use it in your skin or in your hair for extra beauty.
Spirulina, chlorella, and other micro-greens make excellent additions to smoothies and should be consumed daily. They are high in trace minerals, necessary for every body function and sorely lacking in our diets. Minerals are crucial for good cardio function, good sleep, and enzymatic reactions. These greens foods help alkalinize the body and give you a boost. Also great for detoxification.
I write a lot about leafy greens, which should really be the foundation for every meal. Kale is one of my faves and on the most nutrient-dense of all the leafys (others include chard, dandelion greens, spinach, collards, bok choy, arugula, mustard greens), high in vitamin K (needed for blood clotting), A, C, minerals, and fiber. Kale also contains a sulfur phytonutrients that is cancer-preventive and helps liver detox potentially carcinogenic substances. Delicious sauteed with onion and garlic in olive or coconut oil. Red russian is my fave. Also try purple, lacinato, or dino kale.
Raw cultured vegetables (krauts) are some of the most health-promoting foods out there. Made by culturing cabbage and any combination of other veggies (like beets, onions, carrots or sea veggies) and spices like cayenne and ginger all together in stainless steel, the veggies are never heated. Therefore, the resulting culture is high in enzymes and is filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your “inner ecosystem,” the balance of bacteria in your gut. Krauts are excellent complements to meals – they enhance flavors and help digestion immensely. But don’t grab any kraut of the shelf: unless it says raw or organic, it may contain chemical preservatives or may have been heated, killing the beneficial enzymes. Eat every day.
Yogurt is so 2008. Try kefir: a cultured, enzyme and probiotic-rich food (like krauts) to foster good digestion. It is more nutritious than yogurt because it supplies more protein, probiotics, and B vitamins. Kefir can be made at home and is thick, rich, and very delicious, like a drinkable tart yogurt smoothie. The new hot thing is young coconut kefir, which is dairy-free, although those sensitive to dairy have better luck with kefir since the resulting enzymes from the culturing process aid in digestion. Coconut water is very high in magnesium and potassium and makes an excellent and VERY healthy kefir. An all-around delicious protein-rich treat.
Of course, a shout out to all those other superfoods you may be eating: salmon, lamb, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, blueberries, pomegranate, etc, etc.
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