Certain foods should always be in our grocery carts if you ask me, such as these foods with proven medicinal benefits. Most of these foods can be found at any supermarket or health food store such as Whole Foods, and many are very affordable, fun to use in your kitchen, and of course, delish! Medicinal foods aren’t just good for your body and brain, but also great for preventing disease later in life, and for lowering your chances of eating poor foods. I always tell people that are struggling to eat well that when you concentrate on thinking about what new healthy foods you can try things never get boring. Every time you go to the store, think about what new health foods you might want to try, or that you’re curious about. Even if they look or sound strange, you could end up loving them! Be curious about your food and your health. This is one of the easiest ways to fight temptations, and to get you excited about health. Food truly can be medicine when you focus on incredible foods with proven medicinal benefits like some of the ones below. Fill your plate with these and you’ll live longer, look lovelier, and be happier too!
Mushrooms have been deemed as one of the top foods with proven medicinal benefits for quite some time now. Researchers have found that Vitamin D in mushrooms is more bioavailable to our bodies than almost any other food, especially any other plant food. Vitamin D is important for preventing depression, colon health, digestive health and overall wellness. It also aids in calcium absorption, which is important for maintaining strong bones to prevent osteoporosis and other joint related issues. Mushrooms have also been proven to hold powerful antioxidant components that have been linked to cancer prevention, especially breast and prostate cancer. Get your daily fill of mushrooms through one of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms, which is like a pizza! I spread a little marinara on top of a grilled portabella mushroom top, sprinkle some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, and add some fresh oregano, basil, and pepper. It is one of my favorite snacks, and incredibly tasty, filling and healthy!
I indulge in this medicinal food multiple times throughout the day and it is one of my favorite brain and body foods, not to mention the best tasting if you ask me! Raw cacao is rich in more antioxidants than any other food, and is also richer in zinc, copper, magnesium, and iron than any other food per ounce. Researchers have linked raw cacao and cocoa powder (plain that is) to lower depression in women, lower anxiety, increased energy, radiant skin, and it even has anti-cancer benefits. I use one tablespoon in my morning superfood smoothie, raw cacao nibs in my raw energy bites and make hot cocoa with raw cacao as well, using raw cacao, maca, stevia and hot water. Use raw cacao however you like, but never ever feel guilty when indulging in this powerful medicinal food!
We all know broccoli is a great veggie for us, but do you really know why? Broccoli isn’t just good for you because it’s a veggie, but also because it holds powerful anti-cancer benefits, and one is one of the best foods containing high amounts of Vitamin B6 and plant protein. Vitamin B6 is wonderful for curing anxiety and offers extreme calming properties to the body. Protein from plants is not only alkaline for your body to help relieve inflammation, but also wonderful for quelling the blues, anxiety and boosting a low metabolism. For its low calorie content, broccoli is also chock-full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and compounds known as glucosinates that have been linked to breast cancer prevention. I love cooked broccoli the best since it is easier to digest and it makes a great veggie to eat with just about any type of protein or starchy vegetable for a healthy meal.
Don’t be scared of wheatgrass girls! It is incredibly good for you. Wheatgrass isn’t only one of the most powerful alkaline greens you can eat, but it is also rich in anti-cancer compounds and has been linked to diabetes prevention and treatment. It is full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and chlorophyll. It is in fact so rich in chlorophyll it has been said to be as powerful as hemoglobin for bringing oxygen into our blood cells. In ancient times, wheatgrass was frequently used to treat constipation, gout, cystitis, rheumatic pain, chronic skin disorders, and low blood sugar. It does not contain gluten like wheat does either, if you’re concerned. It is sprouted before the wheat germ seed germinates and gluten is formed. Many people juice with wheatgrass, but you don’t have to juice to reap the benefits of wheatgrass. I like to use wheatgrass powder in smoothies and just “cover up” the taste with a nice sweeteners like stevia or berries in my smoothie. Wheatgrass is such a powerful alkaline source of nutrients that I believe everyone should use it in their diet. You can also blend wheatgrass with almond milk or water and freeze it into ice cube trays to thicken up your smoothies instead of using ice cubes. You can buy wheatgrass juice, powder or fresh sprouted wheatgrass at health food stores such as Whole Foods or online.
Cinnamon is always in my spice cabinet, and not just because it makes delicious lattes, smoothies, oatmeal and just about anything else you can think of, though that would be reason enough! Cinnamon is an excellent spice, rich in antioxidants that lowers your blood sugar, enhances your memory, raises your serotonin levels, and has been linked to preventing and treating type 2 diabetes ( using one ounce per day for a period of six months). Cinnamon is also well known throughout history as being a digestive aid, helping to prevent constipation, gas, upset stomach and indigestion. Sprinkle it anywhere you want, such as in my next incredible medicinal food on this list!
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are awesome for you, and not just because they make the perfect pairing with cinnamon, as I hinted to above! Sweet potatoes have been linked to alkalizing the body to prevent and treat inflammation, along with lowering the blood sugar. It is regularly recommended by doctors to patients who have low blood sugar, high blood pressure and diabetes. Though sweet potatoes contains carbohydrates, they are carbohydrates that are released slowly into the blood stream and actually help crave a sweet tooth. Sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber, Vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. They are wonderful for conquering stress and also help to clear the skin. Eat three or four per week for maximum medicinal benefits.
Have you heard of chlorella? I hope so! Chlorella is a wonderful food to alkalize your body, prevent and treat constipation, and holds powerful anti-cancer compounds helping to detoxify the body on a cellular level. Chlorella is a sea veggie, almost identical to spirulina, though quite different in many ways. It has the dark green hue much like spirulina, but has a broader range of nutrients such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. Chlorella is also excellent for increasing your energy like spirulina, and I always use both liberally in my diet for the best all around benefits.
Who doesn’t love blueberries, right? Well if you don’t already love them, I highly suggest you start to! Blueberries are one of the top pieces of produce linked to multiple health benefits, starting with improved memory. Researchers have proven blueberries to be a key food in reducing dementia, Alzheimer’s and preventing cancer. If that’s not enough, research has also proven blueberries help to decrease your waistline too. We can credit the medicinal powers of blueberries to the antioxidants you’ll find in these magical blue berries known as anthocyanins. They boost brain power, regulate blood sugar and can also enhance your skin and mood. Add blueberries to smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or yogurt, oatmeal, or just munch on them plain. Any way you eat them is a great way to reap the benefits!
Flaxseeds have been linked to all sorts of wonderful health benefits. Their Omega 3 content is greater than any other plant source, making them a great alternative to fish for vegans, but I recommend everyone eating flax to reap the benefits of this magical seed. Flaxseeds are widely available and you can find them at any health food store. They are excellent for women going through PMS or menopause since they raise the beneficial types of estrogen in your body, helping to enhance your mood, boost low energy and fight depression. They’re also a great remedy for constipation and digestive issues. If that isn’t enough for you, flaxseeds are also linked to improvement in skin texture and lower rates of acne due to their healthy fat components. I eat about 2 tablespoons ground per day. Always eat flax ground since your body can’t absorb the nutrients from whole flaxseeds. If you buy whole flaxseeds, you can easily grind them in a coffee bean grinder. Just be sure to store them in a dark container in your fridge since light and air will cause them to go rancid. They taste marvelous over yogurt, in smoothies, oatmeal, or in homemade energy bars and breakfast bars.
I love to eat medicinal foods each day because when I fill my plate with foods that help my body, there is less temptation and room to eat foods that aren’t good for me. Some of my other favorites are salmon, green tea, coconut oil and kale. What medicinal foods off this list do you enjoy? Or, do you have any of your own you enjoy?