These top 7 functional foods for your health help your body by preventing disease and promoting well-being.
Most folk think of food being divided up into just proteins, carbohydrates and fats; add in a few vitamins, perhaps. Is there more? Yes, there certainly is and, by learning just a few of these basics, you can easily assimilate most of them.
Supplement companies want you to buy them in pill form; they are known as nutraceuticals. The problem is that there are literally thousands of these phytochemicals, each with their own particular benefits. You would go crazy trying to track them all down; simply eat more coloured-foods.
So why take chondroitin sulphate when you can so easily extract it from chicken bones?
Why spend a fortune on acetyl L-carnitine when its side effects include nausea, vomiting and seizures? You can get it by eating wholesome proteins such as fish, eggs and dairy products; peas and beans too. It is also in a host of greens like kale, broccoli and parsley; and many other fruits and vegetables.
I could go on; why buy beta-sitosterol supplements when it is found abundantly in avocados?
Is it not foolish to purchase di-indole methane when the strong suggestion is that in women with a condition related to their hormones that it can worsen matters? Remember that one in eight females get metastatic disease of the breast.
Rather enjoy your broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage from which they extract the chemical.
Using these nutraceuticals is simply an expensive alternative to sensible eating, from which one derives all the thousands of these phytochemicals without having to fork out hundreds of dollars.
Top 7 functional foods for your health means you should enjoy at least one of these every day of the week; in reality they should all be there on a daily basis but starting with just a single meal would be a breakthrough for some folk.
Functional foods have a positive effect on your wellness that goes beyond the basic protein, carbohydrate and fatty acids they contain.
Dark-green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage are rich in folate which has a host of vital functions including the prevention of spina bifida. They help reduce inflammation in our joints and muscles, promote better learning in children and prevent premature frailty-syndrome in the elderly.
That is not small beer. Green lettuce is also good, but I am unsure of the innards of Iceberg.
Then there are the phytosterols that compete with cholesterol at absorption sites in the gut, carotenoids that block malignant cells and lutein that prevents macular degeneration; and vitamin K for normal blood cells and proper transportation of calcium to prevent osteoporosis.
That is a massive step up to well-being.
Enjoy a variety of greens as a salad for lunch, and cooked vegetables for supper; and, if you are totally crazy like me, then eggs Florentine for breakfast too. We have a lot of metastatic disease in our family, and I would rather be called a food snob than go through the agony that I see others experiencing.
Let your food be your medicine; get your lutein from dark-green leafy vegetables. A deficiency causes totally unnecessary blindness in literally tens of millions in the West.
Perhaps best of all, going to the toilet becomes a two minute affair as the stool is so easy to pass. Colorectal malignant disease of the bowel is not fun, and it is very common in those who suffer from constipation; nearly twice the risk. Every year there are 100,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States alone.
They are very low in calories and rich in many nutrients; very high in potassium with minimal sodium.
True free-range eggs, if you can find them, have large amounts of omega 3, a fatty acid vitally important in reducing inflammation in the body and, according to Johns Hopkins university, depression and anxiety. So too they are the best source of another vitamin called choline; they are definitely one of my top 7 functional foods for your wellness.
The hens in our garden love the purslane plant that grows like a weed, the clover and a host of other greens. Given the chance they'll devour the cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli too! They know what is good food. Give them white bread and they turn up their beaks, but our bread made from 100% flour they will fight for.
Enter our chicken tractor design.
If you're a vegan, then the other source of omega-3 is to consider the freshly ground flaxseed vs oil debate.
Free-range eggs are difficult to find; one of the best choline food sources; be more than willing to pay the extra.
Apart from the high quality protein in cold-water fish, it is the source of two other very important omega 3 fatty acids; in a well-researched trial, along with evening primrose oil, they were shown to dramatically reduce hyperactivity and attention deficit in children.
A large part of the brain is made of omega-3 fatty acids; it is vitally important in young and old.
We give two of our top 7 functional foods for your health to a vegetable and a seafood source of omega-3 so you can get plentiful supplies of ALA, EPA and DHA, the three important fatty acids. The alternative is Ritalin for the children and a downhill mental spiral for the elderly.
This very simple smoked salmon dip recipe is one of my favourites.
Tomatoes and avocados make up an important part of my top 7 functional foods for your health because they contain two phytochemicals, lycopene and beta-sitosterol, that have abundant research backing up the fact they prevent prostate tumours and benign enlargement, which afflict men; no research indicating what they do for women, but it is coming I'm certain.
"Prostate gland vitality" is such an important subject for young and old.
"Breast tumours and prevention" is what it's all about for women.
Type these phrases into Site Search in the main menu above for more information.
Whilst there is a strong movement away from bread, pasta and rolls, really the opposition should be to the refined grains that we are fed with today by the food companies.
Add to that a spurious anomaly that the grain can be described as "whole wheat" even when up to forty percent of the goodies have been removed.
Yet bread and butter has been a staple for centuries and should continue to do so, provided it's baked with 100 percent wholewheat flour.
Butter is back, and should never have been removed from our diet in favour of margarine; a meta-analysis of all the research is unequivocal.
Removing the E and B vitamins, the lignans and choline from bread has been a sin against mankind, even if bakers are only giving us what we really want; delicious cakes and loaves that melt in the mouth should not be called food, and kept only for high and holy days, if then.
Look for 100 percent wholewheat bread; it is one of the best choline food sources that help prevent the build up of toxic homocysteine, a normal breakdown product of protein metabolism.
You may have to bake your own as we do; this easy sourdough bread recipe is my favourite.
If you are going to the trouble use only 100 percent real flour.
With the now unequivocal research that processed red meat definitely causes tumours, and all red meat probably does, high on our list of top 7 functional foods for your wellness must include some "vegetable high in protein." Type this phrase into Site Search.
My favourites are green-peas, pole beans and favas; to that we can add lentils and the assorted pulses.
Personally we eat homemade hummus made with chickpeas daily, it is so easy to make, and the others several times a week; assorted green-beans from the garden daily when they are in season.
Chickpeas are also the single richest source of one the four vitamins, pyridoxine, that help prevent frailty syndrome; do you know what the other three are? Is granny having them daily?
Our authentic hummus recipe is perhaps one of the most important links on this page. In itself it will make a very significant improvement in your wellness. Its real virtue is as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, so it goes off very quickly; consequently that purchased in your supermarkets must of necessity be loaded with antioxidant chemicals which spoil the taste. It takes me only five minutes to make; once you have the ingredients which include tahini, a sesame seed paste.
Hummus on 100 percent wholewheat bread with a few slices of lycopene-rich tomato or pepper is simply delicious; three of our top foods.
Fruit in general and apples or pears in particular should be on the menu on a daily basis. All the berries should really be here too but they are so seasonal; they contain the lutein, a deficiency of which causes a terrible and not uncommon affliction called macular degeneration.
The research on the benefits of apples is simply astonishing; this is an old wives' tale that is worth its weight in gold. The pectin in particular is the reason why they lie so high on the list of top 7 functional foods for your well-being; they lower cholesterol by 10 percent too.
These fresh spinach salad recipes with apple are amongst my favourites; notice again there are three of our top foods in one dish.
Sweet fruit like pears and freshly-squeezed orange juice may raise your blood glucose; enjoy only small portions to keep the glycemic load down, and take a short walk after the meal.
Critics of my list of top 7 functional foods will complain that I have not included this and that; it is true, there are huge gaps. Like citrus and grapes, figs and butternut, onions and garlic; these too are vital functional foods for you to keep in mind. Where are the oats and the olive oil? They should be there too; nuts and seeds? Mushrooms are fantastic.
And really there should be a probiotic like kefir or sauerkraut there too. At least one several times a week is mandatory in my opinion.
But my top 7 functional foods for your health I consider so important that we try to include most of them in our daily program and certainly enjoy them weekly.
You will notice that it's particularly low in refined starches, and especially those carbohydrates like white rice, pasta made with processed wheat, and even potatoes. Sugary foods are kept for high and holy days. These are the villains of the peace, that make us hugely obese, raise our blood pressure and increase the likelihood of succumbing in misery to malignant disease.
However, three of my top 7 functional foods for your health are rich in starch; all are completely unrefined. If you are obese, or insulin resistant, you will need to test your blood sugar after these meals; if they give you an unacceptably high surge, enjoy in small quantities only and take regular short walks. Using the stairs instead of the lift is not so onerous.
What I believe is important it not to overwhelming accept or reject my list of top 7 functional foods, but to embrace them in their entirety; these are the meals that prevent disease and promote sparkling good well-being.
What I can tell you is that both Helen and I are approaching our seventy-fourth orbit of the sun, take no medication whatsoever and cannot remember when we last consulted a doctor. Actually that is not entirely true; it was to get a certificate to allow me to continue being a blood-donor; about two years ago.
I had a serious sequestered disc in the lumbar spine seven years ago after a stupidity and was saved from almost certain surgery by a very skilled DC; and a painful testicle that proved to be a known side-effect after a vasectomy, and of no great consequence. The routine PSA was so low that it was almost off the scale. The urologist was astonished; 0.9. This all comes from enjoying our top 7 functional foods for your health on a regular basis, read most of them daily.
I realised many years ago that if I wanted to reach my eighties with all my joints and marbles intact I would have to embrace a radical change of food.
I will not pretend it was easy; purchasing a grinder to make 100 percent wholewheat flour proved expensive. Baking artisan bread daily makes a small but important contribution. The decision to raise our own free-range hens with a cockerel was hugely challenging and time consuming. Growing our own green leafy vegetables was not without its difficulties. Climbing the avocado trees once a week, risking life and limb, is a consideration. It is all part of a move to what we call backyard permaculture; working with nature rather than against it.
But it was worth every cent and every joule of energy, because we have been spared the sickness that dogs the lives of so many. These 7 functional foods will keep your waistline in check, your blood-pressure and sugar down and your pecker up.
Seemingly boundless energy comes to those focus on functional foods, and plenty of exercise.
Have you heard of blue zone longevity? There are five regions of the world where ten times as many folk live into vibrant and strong old-age. These principles about functional foods are at the core.
Tonight try some of these others.
Cut one whole butternut in half, spoon out the seeds and lightly crisscross the flesh with a sharp knife; microwave for ten-minutes and then place in the hollow a clove of garlic, a blob of butter and a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden; it is such an easy herb to grow and definitely my favourite. Perhaps add a couple spoons of hummus if you have any, dribble the whole with olive oil and put the two halves in a hot oven for about half an hour.
This roasted butternut squash recipe is one of our favourites to be included in the top 7 functional foods for your health.
Roasting vegetables raises the glycemic index; if you are obese have a very small piece only to keep the load down. Rather have them boiled, or in a soup.
Reheating resistant starch is a vital subject for those battling with their weight; enjoy your roasted butternut freely the next day after cooling.
Okay I will admit that this quick curried chicken dish looks like a dog's breakfast. But it is so easy to make with three of our top 7 functional foods; eggplant fried in a batter with free-range eggs, slithers of apple and half a tomato. The taste is to die for; the garlic, ginger and jalapenos are unseen.
Quick curried chicken is a breeze to make; always use bony parts like drum sticks that have the cartilage that is so good for our own bodies.
Lightly char eight chicken drumsticks or thighs.
In a separate pot, fry an onion to which you have added half a tomato, celery and an apple thinly sliced. Teaspoon in small amounts of curry powder, cumin and cinnamon, and some red chili if you like it hot. Stir in a little water if it looks like burning. Pop in a couple of new potatoes if you like; they have much less of a glycemic reaction.
Add the onion mix to the chicken parts, and another tablespoon or two of water. Simmer for half an hour.
Towards the end, add the other half of the tomato and half a dozen lightly chopped cloves of garlic.
Notice this dish has five acknowledged functional foods that prevent disease and promote wellness. Onion and garlic, apple and celery, and of course the tomato. Research shows that eight per day will decrease the likelihood of death from all causes by a massive 33 percent. Here you already have more than half of them in one dinner.
Bernard Preston is the webmaster for the amazing site for DCs that lies in the top 0.4 percent of all 70 million sites on the web, receiving 20,000 hits per day. This gives you the background behind the man who is so passionate about a life without medication; that means plenty of exercise and a commitment to these top 7 functional foods for your health.
There is unfortunately no compromise; follow the rules of greater well-being or suffer the consequences. And, let us be honest; is it really that difficult to find or bake 100 percent whole wheat bread and free range eggs, and enjoy tomatoes and avocados on a regular basis? Is taking a short walk every day so onerous that we'd rather risk getting the dreaded A or having a heart attack?
Is this alternate way of life of enjoying these top 7 functional foods on a regular basis, taking plenty of exercise and enjoying regular holidays such a burden?
She who must be obeyed and I have not darkened the door of a doctor's office in the last twelve months, and take no medication; I promise you this "heavy" way of life pays huge dividends. A PSA way off scale on the low side, cholesterol that is dangerously low are just two of the benefits; life is good.
But you'll find we abhor refined starches; they are the devils that raise our blood sugar and set up inflammation in every part of our bodies.
Can I recommend you regularly peruse the web for the scientific basis as to why we should be enjoying lentils and other legumes regularly?
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