Celery is high in Vitamin K, which is often an unknown vitamin. It plays a role in bone health and the body’s coagulation process known as clotting. It is also rich in antioxidants. It has been known to help lower blood pressure, sooth joint pain and prevent cancer. Eat 4 stalks daily (about 1 cup) to help lower blood pressure.
This includes cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbages, rutabaga, and turnips. All of them are rich in a variety of nutrients including folate, niacin, choline, potassium, vitamin K, iron, zinc, and phytonutrients. These foods are especially helpful to support the body’s detoxification and hormone production. As a result they can be helpful for PMS, insulin regulation, thyroid health, sleep, moods, bone health, lowering risks of certain cancers. Consume a minimum of 2 cups per day.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid, known as MUFAs. This is considered a healthy fat that is necessary for the human body. There is plenty of research being done on olive oil, especially for its impact on lowering and maintaining blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and helping with carbohydrate metabolism. Olive oil is best used for salad dressings and cooking over low/medium heat. Heating olive oil past its smoking point can cause an unpleasant taste.
Carrots are well known for its Vitamin A content. The orange color indicates that it is rich in beta-carotene (so this applies to other orange foods like sweet potatoes and pumpkin). Vitamin A is best known to help with vision. A daily serving of carrots, about ½ cup, can provide about 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A.
The leafy greens include spinach, arugula, kales, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, and leaf lettuce. These greens are high in magnesium and calcium. They can help improve energy, are beneficial for bone health, lowering blood pressure, managing blood sugar and insulin, and more. You should think about incorporating greens into every meal. Add spinach to your eggs or smoothie (you won’t even taste them in there!), have a salad with a variety of greens, add them to soups, stews, sauces, make kale chips…the list is endless.
Almonds are a great source of protein and healthy fats. In addition they are packed with nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium. There have been studies indicating that almonds help to prevent cardiovascular disease and decrease the risk of certain cancers. Don’t overdo it though. This nutrient packed food also is higher in calories. The average serving size is about 12 almonds, which makes a great 100-calorie snack.
Many people are familiar with the term probiotics now. Fermented foods naturally contain these live cultures that are beneficial for overall digestive and immune health. The research in this area of health is abundant and continues to grow. We understand that the probiotics (often called the ‘good bacteria’) play a vital role in digestive health, immune health and weight loss. The most common fermented foods are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles and miso. However, there is a big word of caution here. When consuming fermented foods, it is best to consume those that are HOMEMADE! (Check out my upcoming blog post on how to make these homemade fermented foods. I will be sharing pickles, cabbage and yogurt.)
This includes salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring, and anchovies. It is a good source of lean protein and Omega 3’s fatty acids. Omega 3’s have been noted to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, brain health, moods, improving memory, eye health, skin, nails and hair, and lowering inflammation.
Choose these fish 2-3 times per week. A 4 oz. serving of salmon provides about 2.1 grams of essential fatty acids.
Asparagus is high in antioxidants, in particular, glutathione, which is often called the “Mother Antioxidant”, which helps to lower inflammation, and oxidative stress in the body. It is high in vitamin K, folate, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
This is great as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It also helps to regulate the immune system and is beneficial for liver health. It is commonly used to reduce swelling in the ankles.
Flax Seed/Chia Seed
Flaxseeds and Chia seeds contain linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, which are two of the essential fatty acids beneficial for overall health. They are also a good source of fiber and help to create satiety of a meal. This simply means that you will feel fuller longer.
To understand what chia seeds do in your stomach, simply take a spoonful of chia seeds with some water and watch the gelling action that takes place.
Flax seeds have been shown to help reduce hot flashes in women, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and help to prevent certain cancers. Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds provides 2,500 mg of Omega 3’s, 4.5 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. It is perfect to add to your morning smoothie, over your homemade yogurt or add to salads.
BONUS FOOD: Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a source of magnesium and flavonoids. Most research about dark chocolate is around cardiovascular disease acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Don’t be misled though, dark chocolate is considered beneficial then it is 70% or higher. This means that there is not much sugar. The higher the percentage, the higher the benefits! Eat about 1 oz. 3-4 times per week.