Top 7 functional foods for your health help your body to prevent disease and promote well being.
Most folk think of food being divided up into proteins, carbohydrates and fats; add in a few vitamins, perhaps. Is there more? Yes, there certainly is.
And food supplement companies want you to buy it in pill form; they are known as nutraceuticals. The problem is that there are certainly thousands, literally, of these phytochemicals, each with their own particular benefits.
So why take chondroitin sulphate when you can so easily extract it from chicken bones? Why spend a fortune on Acetyl-L-caritine when its side effects include nausea, vomiting and seizures, and you can get it by eating wholesome proteins such as meat and dairy products and a host of veggies like kale, broccoli, parsley and many other fruit and veg?
I could go on; beta sitosterol when it's found abundantly in avocados. Yet another is di-indole-methane when the strong suggestion that in women with a hormone related condition that it can worsen them; remember one in eight women get breast cancer. Rather enjoy your broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage from which they extract the chemical.
Using these nutraceuticals is simply an expensive alternative to healthy 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 these at least one every day of the week; in reality they should all be there on a daily basis but starting with just one a single meal would be a break through for some folk.
Functional foods have a positive effect on your health that goes beyond the basic protein, carbohydrate and fatty acids they contain.
Dark green leafy vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, parsley, kale and cabbage are rich in folate which has a host of vital functions including the prevention of spinal bifida.
Then there are phytosterols that compete with cholesterol at absorption sites in the gut, carotenoids that block cancer cells, lutein that prevents macular degeneration, vitamin K for healthy blood cells and proper transportation of calcium to prevent osteoporosis; that's a massive step up to better health.
Enjoy a variety of greens as a salad for lunch, and cooked vegetables for supper; and if you're totally crazy like me then eggs Florentine for breakfast too. We have a lot of cancer in our family, and I'd rather enjoy my greens than go through the agony that I see in others.
Let your food be your medicine; get your lutein benefit from dark green leafy vegetables. A deficiency causes blindness in tens of millions in the West.
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 health.
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 healthy 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.
Apart from the high quality protein in fatty fish, it's 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's 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 cancer and benign enlargement, which afflict men; no research indicating what they do for women, but it's coming.
Prostate gland health is a vitally important subject for young and old.
Breast cancer and prevention is what it's all about for women.
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Whilst there's 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 whole wheat 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 lignins 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% wholewheat bread; it's 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 like we do; this easy sourdough bread recipe is my favourite; if you are going to the trouble use only healthy flour.
With the now unequivocal research that processed red meat definitely causes cancer, and all red meat 'probably' does, high on our list of top 7 functional foods for your health must include some vegetable high in protein.
My favourites are chickpeas, green peas and pole beans and broad beans; to that we can add lentils and the assorted pulses.
Personally we eat homemade hummus made with chickpeas daily, it's so easy to make, and the others several times a week; green peas and beans from the garden daily when they are in season.
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 health. It's 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 anti oxidant 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% 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. Berries like strawberries, blueberries and mulberries 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 that apples lie so high on the list of top 7 functional foods for your health; they lower cholesterol by 10% too.
These fresh spinach recipes with apple and avocado are amongst my favourites; notice again three of our top foods in one dish.
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Critics of my list of top 7 functional foods will complain that I haven't included this and that; it's true, there are huge gaps. Like citrus and grapes, figs and butternut, onions and garlic; these too are vital functional foods for your list. Where's the oats and the olive oil? They should be there too; nuts and seeds? Mushrooms, too.
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'll 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, what make us hugely obese.
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 test to test your blood sugar after these meals; if they give you a surge, enjoy in small quantities only.
What I believe is important it not to overwhelming accept or reject this list, but to embrace functional foods in their entirety; these are the foods that prevent disease and promote sparkling good health.
What I can tell you is that both Helen and I are approaching our seventieth orbit of the sun, take no medication whatsoever and can't remember when we last consulted a doctor.
Actually that's not quite true; I had a serious sequestered disc in the lumbar spine after a stupidity and was saved from almost certain surgery by a very skilled chiropractor; and a painful testicle that proved to be a known side effect after a vasectomy, and of no great consequence, and 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 almost 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 diet.
I won't pretend it was easy; purchasing a grinder to make 100% whole wheat flour proved expensive. Baking bread every other day makes a small but important contribution. Making 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's 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've been spared the poor health that dogs the lives of so many. These 7 functional foods for your health 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.
Tonight try some of these functional foods.
Cut one whole butternut in half, spoon out the seeds and lightly criss cross 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's 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 your top 7 functional foods for your health.
Mm, roasting vegetables raises the glycemic index; if you're obese a very small piece only.
Only little though is about the reheating resistant starch; it's a vital subject for those battling with their weight.
Okay, I'll admit that this quick curried chicken dish looks like a dog's breakfast. But it's so easy to make with three of our top 7 functional foods for your health; 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, curry and jalopenos 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 and or thighs.
In a separate pot, fry an onion to which you've added half a tomato, celery and an apple thinly sliced. Add 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 potatoes if you like.
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 health. 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%. Here you already have five of them in one dish.
» Top 7 functional foods for your health
Bernard Preston is the webmaster for the amazing site Chiropractic-Help.com that lies in the top 0.4% of all 70 million sites on the web, receiving 20,000 hits per day. This site 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 better health or suffer the consequences. And, let's 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?
This 'alternate' way of life of enjoying these top 7 functional foods for your health, taking plenty of exercise and regular holidays... is it such a burden?
Here 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... 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.