I get some version of this question almost daily...
"What can I add into my diet today that will help improve my health?" And, the answer is simple…. and some things may surprise you. My top 4 superfoods are --- green leafy vegetables, bone broth, ginger and sauerkraut. And here's why....
Green Leafy Vegetables
I often hear that people don't like green vegetables.. or their kids won't eat it. My response is always – “eat it anyway”. We can't deny the huge health benefits from this amazing superfood.... it's truly incredible. First, dark leafy greens give your body folate. Folate (B-vitamin) is crazy important in how your genes express themselves (epigenetics). Folate is essential to important things like DNA and RNA synthesis, production of amino acids and cell division. I will do a blog JUST on epigenetics as this is complicated... but just know, as far as folate goes --- your body really, really needs it.
Did you know greens are recommended for weight loss? And NOT just because they're really low in calories. Greens are jam-packed with nutrients and other active compounds but the weight loss benefits are directly tied to nitrites. These nitrites have been linked to changing fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown cells. Ultimately, this means your body goes from storing to burning fat... which means --- weight loss!
Ok, hold onto your seats everyone --- this one is going to make you reach for a green smoothie before you're even done reading. Dark, leafy greens are anti-aging. Yes, a study by Rush University showed a significant decrease in mental decline, improved brain protection, improved cardiovascular health, cellular support and anti-inflammatory benefits --- all supporting anti-aging. To fuel our body and prevent aging, we have to fuel our body with what our cells eat... so they stay healthy. Greens have a lot of what our cells needs. Greens provide PROVEN health benefits for every one and at every age. My favorite way to get these greens in everyday -- a smoothie. I add them to my smoothie and that of my kids. We call theirs "Shrek juice".
At first I thought this seemed strange... and quite frankly, very overrated in it's "supposed" benefits. UNTIL I looked into this further and started drinking this myself. Think healthy gut and beautiful skin, hair and nails (essentially looking younger right? Who doesn't want that?). Why those benefits are hard to match, the gelatin in bone broth helps to "seal and heal" the holes in the intestines. It can cure chronic diarrhea, constipation and even some food sensitivities. While you may not want to talk about your daily BM's... the regular elimination of toxins and absorption of nutrients are KEY to optimal health. Joint pain? Family history of arthritis? If you want to keep your joints happy, bone broth includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate... not only decreasing pain but even preventing osteoarthritis. Can bone broth help you sleep better? The glycine in bone broth has several studies that show benefits in sleep patterns AND better memory.
I grew up being fed chicken soup when I got sick. Funny thing is, it's not just emotionally soothing to have soup when you don't feel well, but a Harvard study showed that those with auto-immune problems experienced relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth. Lastly, bone broth provides the building blocks for healthy bone and even increases energy. Even the Farmer's Market has this available now. I get mine from www.ossogood.com. Making your own is cheaper.. but I've found having some good bone broth in my freezer insures I get my 1 cup/day in.... every single day. And it tastes great too!
Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet with a variety of ways to get it into your diet. It's loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that can have many benefits for the body and the brain. Ginger can help with digestion, nausea, improve immune function (you can get over a cold faster), decrease menstrual pain, joint pain (AND the use of arthritis pain meds), lower blood sugar levels, decrease heart disease risk factors, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer (the substance 6-gingerol shows promising evidence against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer). Ginger may also improve brain function and prevent Alzheimer's. Wowza... this "superfood" is worthy of that title. My favorite way of eating it is to juice it along with various greens, an apple and lemon or make tea with it.
For me, I still do not like the taste of this fermented food.... but love the health benefits. And those benefits are undeniable and vast! So how does this hot dog condiment actually work? It's all through the probiotic benefits of cultured foods. Good bacteria in a healthy gut, is critical for lowering the risk of just about every acute or chronic illness. Think mental illness, irritable bowel, depression/anxiety, cancer, asthma, hormone imbalances, food sensitivies, diabetes, weight gain, and various autoimmune diseases. The "good" bacteria in your gut is critical to the proper function of the entire body as they create a barrier against "bad" invaders such as pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites. It also helps us absorb our nutrients, detox the body and control inflammation.
I recommend this powerful combination of superfoods for anyone that is looking to transform their health. If you feel this was of benefit to you, please pass it along to a friend or family member. Too many people suffer needlessly.
At Yost Wellness Center, we are leading a Wellness Revolution that advances a new model of health care by pioneering cutting edge treatments while utilizing Functional Medicine.