Sorry I’m not referring to white bread, pasta, processed cereals or cookies here. The type of foods I’m talking about are nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, seeds and whole grains that are good for our health. These foods contain compounds with strong anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Certain foods in this category also contain compounds that are great for liver and our hormones.
Being that fruits are mostly vibrant in colour, the list is limited but includes the non-skin part of apples as well as coconuts, dates, lychees, and pears. Lychees and pears are delicious particularly added to a summer salad, although if you are trying to lose weight these aren’t recommended due to their high sugar content.
This category of vegetables are my absolute favourite! Maybe it's because I know how good they are for our health on a number of different levels. Some of my favorites include cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onion, sauerkraut, and leeks. These are all rich in sulfur compounds (hence their strong odors) and are super supportive for the liver in detoxification as well as protecting against cardiovascular, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. They are also great for gut health! Mushrooms such as shiitake, button, portabello, crimini, and chanterelle have great immune boosting effects, more so than your average white mushroom.
Beans & legumes are my preferred forms of complex carbohydrates over grains due to their high fibre and protein content. These include chickpeas, hummus, black beans, cannelloni beans, peas and lentils. Whole grains however are much better than your processed grains. Gluten free grains include quinoa, rice and buckwheat and gluten containing grains are wheat, rye, barley and spelt.
Nuts, nut butters, seeds and seed pastes are also a wonderful source of neutral coloured compounds and a great source of healthy fats!
Saving the best for last… chocolate, dark of course. The phytonutrients in cocoa help keep the blood vessels wide and open so that there’s a healthy blood flow, particularly to the brain and heart. Make sure that your choice of chocolate isn’t high in sugar or contains unnecessary preservatives. The higher the cocoa percentage the better. Try to always choose 70% or more!
- Legumes (chickpeas, dried beans or peas, hummus,lentils, peanuts, beans)
- Nuts (almonds, brazil, pecans, walnuts)
- Onion, shallots, leek
- Seeds (flax, hemp,pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
- Tea (black, white)
- Whole grains (barley, brown rice, oat, quinoa, rye, spelt, wheat)
- Allyl sulfides
- Cellulose (fiber)
- Cell protection
- Gastrointestinal health
- Heart health
- Hormone balance
- Liver health
Allicin is one of the special compounds found in garlic that may contribute to its anti-cancer, blood pressure-lowering effects. To maximize the the allicin content, crush or chop the garlic and let it sit there for 5-10 minutes before cooking it or adding anything to it. This allows it to activate. This compound is what makes garlic a potent antibacterial and anti-viral food. .
Add some cocoa powder to your smoothies or mixed into yoghurt with some chia seeds for a mouse like dessert
Sprinkle cinnamon over your apples and finish with a drizzle of tahini or some nut butter for a delicious snack
Add brown spices such as clove and allspice to your cooking and baking.
Use dates instead of refined sweeteners to sweeten desserts and other dishes
Add a dollop of hummus to your salads or eat with some cut raw veggies for a healthy protein containing snack
Sprinkle nuts and seeds sesame seeds over your salads or proteins which gives it a nice texture and crunch
Coat your chicken in almond meal instead of breadcrumbs and bake in the oven instead of frying for a healthy schnitzel