7 Foods to Heal, Balance, and Nourish
By myyogaonline on February 11, 2009
My Yoga Online - For anyone feeling that their nutrition plan is lacking in offering optimal health benefits, here is our top 7 food items that should be added to one's diet. With this initial foundation of dietary changes, most people experience profound changes in their health and daily living: increased energy levels, improved digestion and gastrointestinal health, improved body weight management, increased immunity, reduction in chronic health conditions.
1) Whole Grains
*The majority of processed foods contain versions 'enriched white flour'. This highly processed flour contains little value in terms of fiber and carbohydrate quality. Replace as much as possible white flours with WHOLE GRAIN flours. Switch from white rice to brown or wild rice. Pasta now comes a great variety of whole wheat, multigrain, and even quinoa-based. When dining out, ask for these high fiber options as more restaurants are becoming more accommodating to those wishing for healthier alternatives. Shift from the habit of eating white bread and croissants, and feed your body with fiber-dense grains and flours.
2) Leafy Greens
*Green leafy vegetables are so readily available and so highly nutritious, however most people do not eat enough of them. Studies continuously confirm that populations that eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables run a far lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Fresh raw green leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys. Try any of the following: rocket, spinach, dandelion greens, kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce, endive, chicory, broccoli sprouts and mustard sprouts.
3) Raw Nuts
*Raw nuts are excellent sources of protein, minerals, healthy mono-unsaturated fats and other nutrients as well they're good for promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Consuming nuts has shown to lower the risk of heart disease, lower “LDL” (bad) cholesterol, and aids in reducing body fat and managing body composition. Consuming a small quantity of nuts between or prior to meals helps reduce hunger and increases the feeling of satiety, thus reducing the incidence of over eating. Nuts with the best nutrient value are walnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews.
4) Omega oils
*A regular consumption of omega oils has shown to reduce bad cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and improve circulatory health. Our preferred source of omega oils is from flax seed. Flax seed oil can be consumed directly as prepared oils or as ground seed. Flax seed contains high levels of alpha linolenic acids, which is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish. Regular intake of flax seed may also keep platelets from becoming sticky in the circulatory system therefore reducing the risk of heart attacks. Flax seed also contains a balanced level of soluble and insoluble fiber that, together, act as a natural cleanse and detoxifier.
*Quinoa is a gluten-free seed from South America that is high in protein, iron, phosphorous, B-vitamins and vitamin E. It has more calcium than milk, and has more protein than any other grain. Unlike most other vegetable-protein sources, quinoa is complete in all the necessary amino acids for cellular development, therefore it is an ideal protein for vegetarians. Although it is botanically a seed and not a grain, it is used in place of rice and is excellent in cold salads, cereals, with curries and satays, and, when ground as flour, in breads and cakes.
6) Sweet Potatoes and Yams
*Along regular potatoes are nutritious (when eaten with the peel), they pale in comparison to the level of nutrients of sweet potatoes and yams. Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. When comparing the fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium of sweet potatoes to other vegetables, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value.
7) Herbal Teas
*Daily consumption of herbal teas is an easy way to dramatically increase your intake of antioxidants. Green tea, rooiboos, and honey bush teas offer the highest levels of antioxidants which promotes enhanced repair of cellular tissues from free radical damage. Have a glass of herbal first thing in the morning to aid in digestive mobility and continue to replace coffee, pop, and other caffeinated beverages throughout the day with these high-nutrient teas.
By adding these foods to your nutritional plan, you will create a powerful foundation towards healthy living. You can then build on these nutritional enhancements by gradually adding more and more vegetables, fruits, and super foods into your diet. Gradually, you will develop a cleaner diet free of processed foods, additives, and by products. Develop a conscious appreciation of what is going into your body. Go past the desire of satisfying only the taste buds and satisfy the requirements of the entire system. Eat to nourish, eat to heal, eat with mindfulness.
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