10 Foods You Should Eat to Boost Your Health

When it comes to health and weight loss, there is no shortage of advice. But what you want is certainty. You may find yourself searching through posts and comments on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram, trying to find the perfect diet or foods for you.

There are many conflicting opinions about what it means to eat a healthy, balanced diet. In Functional Nutrition, a “balanced diet” is one that is appropriate for your lifestyle, health concerns, and food preferences. And there is not one specific diet or way of eating that works for everyone. Your food and lifestyle plans should be tailored to you in order to improve your overall health and well-being.

A great start towards boosting your health or weight loss is by learning which foods work best for you. With my Elimination Diet, here, you will feel more certain about any foods that may have been suppressing your energy, weight and health goals.

Once you know what foods work best for your body, you will be able to start using food to boost your health at a cellular level. Your mitochondria are the powerhouses within every cell of your body that convert energy from food into a form that cells can use.

Mitochondria help to detoxify poisons such as pesticides, air pollution, or toxins in food supply that get into your cells. During this energy exchange, ‘free radicals’ are produced. Just as iron rusts in the presence of moisture and oxygen, a similar process happens inside your body, called ‘oxidation’. To avoid oxidation, these free radicals need to combine with other molecules.

To defend itself from free radicals, your body produces antioxidants to neutralize their effects. Without these antioxidants, excess free radicals can “rust”, or deteriorate mitochondria. This is a major cause of all neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, or dementia. It also increases your risk of developing diabetes and premature aging. And damage to the mitochondria can be the result of eating foods that encourage generalized inflammation and pain.

Food has the potential to support and heal your body, but only if it is fresh and whole. Leading experts have found that there are key foods that support mitochondrial health, helping to boost overall wellness. The importance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods with a strategic position of fresh fruits and vegetables are core to mitochondrial health, i.e.; your health. You can support healthy mitochondria using healing foods.

By choosing specific foods to enhance your mitochondrial function, you can prevent the development of chronic neurological disease. When your mitochondria are working well, they help to reduce fatigue, pain and cognitive problems while supporting your muscles mass and burning excess fat.  You will think clearer, have less aches and improve your body composition.

This list of foods contains an abundance of antioxidants. These foods will activate the detox function of your mitochondria. Think of these healing foods as “medicine” for your body:

  1. Avocado Often referred to as brain food, they are a healthy source of fat, potassium, Vitamin E and another potent antioxidant called glutathione. Eat ripe avocados mashed onto toast, or guacamole, as a garnish to salads, hamburgers or in wraps. Avocado oil can also be used for cooking or to dress vegetables.

 

  1. Grass-Fed Beef Quite different from conventionally raised animals, it is a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and is higher in Vitamin E and lower in saturated fat than meat from grain-fed animals. Keep serving sizes small, just as a compliment to a meal rather than its main component.

 

  1. Blueberries and all Berries An excellent source of fiber and powerful antioxidants. Beneficial brain food, low in carbohydrates and a low glycemic impact. Eat fresh or frozen as a snack, in your oatmeal or in smoothie.

 

  1. Almonds Data supports that eating a handful of nuts each day can help reduce your risk of chronic disease. There are chemicals in almonds that work as building blocks for your brain signal functions. High in Vitamin E and glutathione, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Eat as a snack, ground into flour or as an alternative to peanut butter.

 

  1. Virgin Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil Can be helpful in raising “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol with its medium-chain triglycerides, (MCT). Its MCT’s contain antioxidants which can help support your immune system. Also, a rich source of brain fuel, called beta-hydroxybutyrate. Can be used for cooking, added to steamed vegetables and as a butter substitute. Shredded coconut is great in oatmeal, salads and yogurt. Coconut water is great on its own or added to smoothies.

 

  1. Broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables Associated with reduced damage in nervous system, slowing and even reversing age-related decline in brain and cognitive function. Assists in detoxification, stimulates the immune system, slows down cognitive decline, reduces risk of heart disease and many cancers. Chop and allow to rest a couple minutes before cooking to boost its cancer-protective properties. Raw and cooked is best, steam only a few minutes when needed.

 

  1. Pomegranate Seeds One of the richest sources of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits. High in fiber, nutrients that support brain health and a good source of Vitamin C and potassium. Seeds can be eaten as a snack or garnish. Pomegranate juice can be used to flavor dips, sauces and dressings.

 

 

  1. Spinach Dark green leafy vegetables contain many antioxidants which helps improve cognition and memory. Spinach is high in nutrients that provide anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. Cooked spinach supplies more antioxidants than raw spinach. Boil uncovered for no more than one minute to reduce loss of nutrients and flavor.

 

  1. Wild Alaskan Salmon Great source of Omega-3 fat which is key to a healthy brain. Contains multiple powerful antioxidants and supplies your body with important amino acids. Avoid farm-raised salmon as it often contains contaminants that can lead to chronic illness and inflammation. Add Wild Alaskan Salmon to stews, soups or slow-roasted and added to salads.

 

  1. Extra Virgin, cold-pressed, unfiltered, Olive Oil Contains protective antioxidant phytonutrients called polyphenols that also offer antioxidant benefits. Use EVOO only when cooking over low to medium heats otherwise it can become oxidized and rancid. Dress vegetables after cooking or in salad dressings.

 

 

Food provides a complex message to your body and you want to ensure that message encourages health and wellness. Healthy mitochondria are pivotal for your cells to survive, for your overall vitality and graceful aging. Try these food options above to boost your health.

For more information on Functional Medicine visit my website at KiranGrewalMD.com

 

To Your Health,

Kiran Grewal MD

 

References:

Institute of Functional Medicine

 

 

 

 

 

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