In my last post I discussed my decision to give up sugar. Which I don’t regret one bit. But I feel like I can do more than just delete items from my diet.
I want to add healthful elements to my diet. The healthier I am, the better my body is going to feel. I look forward to reaching my wellness goals, but I’ve only just begun the journey.
I’m currently doing some research on medicinal foods. What I’ve determined so far, is to add the following five ingredients to my recipe for wellness.
Harvested in the high Andes of Peru, maca is a root vegetable, having many health benefits. Similar to an onion in appearance, maca is primarily consumed dried as a powder or in capsule form.
Some of the reported benefits include:
- Fertility aid
- Libido enhancer
- Energy stimulant
- Hormone balance. Maca is believed to help control estrogen levels, thereby aiding symptoms of PMS, menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Immune system booster
- Adaptogen (helps your body manage stressors)
- Dense in nutrients such as calcium (more than milk!), Magnesium, iron, vitamin B and the list goes on. As well, maca is dense in amino acids and phytonutrients.
How I’m consuming it: in capsule form. I use maca from the Vega company. Theirs is organic, and they support fair treatment of Peruvian maca farmers.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
When we talk about apple cider vinegar (ACV) we are talking about the kind with the “mother” (remnants of the bacterial culture used to make ACV).
Though it might sound strange to consume vinegar, there are actually quite a few health benefits associated with ACV:
- ACV helps normalize blood sugar levels. When taken during meals, it can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose.
- ACV can lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- ACV can help prevent heart disease. It contains the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which prevents LDL cholesterol particles from being oxidized (a major factor in the heart disease process).
- When applied topically, it can be useful for aiding skin conditions such as warts and nail fungus. It also makes a great conditioner for your hair.
- The acetic acid in ACV improves nutrient absorption when consumed with meals, and aids in digestion.
I also give my rabbits ACV in their water. I feel it helps keep them from getting sick, and also helps them get the most nutrients from their food.
Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria and yeasts. When we hear people talk about “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria, this is the good stuff. Probiotics can be found in different foods, including yogurt, fermented foods, microalgae, as well as supplements.
Benefits of probiotics include:
- Maintain healthy gut bacteria and digestive functioning. Probiotics can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, thereby improving digestive functioning.
- Boosting immune system.
- Reduces the risk of UTIs in women
- Improve mood and mental health
- Improve heart health and cholesterol levels
How I’m consuming it: In capsule form and foods such as (plain) yogurt.
4. Raw Garlic
My grandpa always told me that garlic was a “perfect food”. A cure-all, if you will. But is this just an old wives tale?
Actually, garlic has some incredible health benefits:
- Garlic contains allicin, which is the compound reportedly responsible for its health benefits
- It can combat the common cold and infections
- It can reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels
- Historically, it has been used to reduce fatigue and improve energy levels
- Garlic contains a ton of antioxidants which protect against oxidative damage and aging
How I’m consuming it: Diced raw, then swallow like a vitamin. 2 large cloves (organic) per day.
Warning: It kind of makes you stink like garlic.
5. Fermented foods
Fermentation is a method of food processing where carbohydrates are converted to alcohol using yeasts or bacteria under anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions. This is how beer is made, how bread rises, and how we preserve our delicious cukes into pickles come fall canning season.
Okay, but why are fermented foods good for you?
- They contain lots of probiotics (we already know why these are good)
- They aid in digestion by promoting healthy gut bacteria and digestive enzymes
- Immune functions. Healthy gut bacteria means a healthy mucosa (gut lining) which is a natural barrier, thus making your immune system more robust.
For many of the same reasons probiotics are good for you, fermented foods are also good for you.
Common fermented foods:
- Pickled vegetables
- Kombucha (fermented tea)
How I’m consuming it: homemade kombucha, homemade pickled veggies, and currently adding more options to my diet.
My goal is just to be healthy. I will continue to add healthful foods and remove unhealthy options as I learn more.
What are some of your favourite healthy foods?