Make sure to have these 10 foods in your home to ensure a greater consumption of the nutrients you need on a daily basis.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is loaded with medium chain fatty acids, which are linked to improving cholesterol levels, and it also contains antimicrobial lipids that help to improve immunity to various viruses and bacteria. Coconut oil also helps to control candida, reduce gut inflammation, maintain blood sugar levels, and provide quick, usable energy. Coconut oil can be used for cooking, but the benefits don’t stop there; you can use coconut oil in your hair to improve proteins and condition, on your skin as a moisturizer, on your face as an antimicrobial, vitamin-infused face wash, even on your baby’s dry scalp… the list goes on! Buy in bulk to save money or visit your local Trader Joe’s for an inexpensive jar.
- Cod Liver Oil: Oil extracted from the livers of cod fish was used in many ancient civilizations as a means towards achieving greater health and healing. Cod liver oil is high in vitamin A and D, especially when in conjunction with vitamin K, which can be found in grass-fed butter. I recommend consuming fermented cod liver oil rather than oil that has been extracted chemically. My brand of choice: Green Pasture Royal Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
- Greens: Eat more greens! We hear it often, but rarely do it. Dark, leafy greens and green vegetables are often missing from our daily food intake, when they should be a staple with almost every meal. Greens include but are not limited to: spinach, kale, broccoli, arugula, asparagus, swiss chard, bok choy, and endive. They provide usable vitamins, namely A, C, E, and K, along with other micronutrients and phytochemicals that work to boost our immune systems, improve vital organ functionality, balance gut flora, purify our blood, improve circulation, and even prevent cancer. Moreover, you can eat large amounts of any of these greens while keeping caloric counts low and nutritional benefits high!
- Fruit: Fruits are naturally sweet, low in fat and cholesterol, rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, and beautifully colorful. When incorporating fruits into your diet, look for those with a low glycemic load (think: berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, pears, apricots) to prevent a hike in blood sugar levels. Also, refer to the “Dirty Dozen” list to keep yourself mindful of which fruits are really necessary to buy organic whenever possible. Be responsible and take care of yourself: reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals now.
- Organic, Grass-Fed Meat: If you eat meat, or even just poultry, it would behoove you to vet your sources: look for products from pastured animals, free of antibiotics and added hormones. Animals that roam freely and that are grass-fed rather than grain-fed yield meat (and eggs and dairy products) that is naturally lower in fat and higher in omega 3’s, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Water: Purified water needs to be accessible to you in your home and wherever you go. This means that you may need to filter your tap water yourself and carry it along with you or purchase filtered, bottled water when you need it – and you probably need it more than you think you do. The consumption of water helps to keep our cells hydrated and is associated with boosting energy, improving moods, contributing to weight loss, reducing headaches, curbing cravings, and improving digestive health. Drink. More. Water. Period.
- Eggs: Eggs got a bad reputation for awhile when the dual existence of dietary cholesterol and saturated fats in egg yolks were linked to raising LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels years back. New research has cleared this up and it is now evident that the cholesterol we take in through food actually has little effect on raising blood cholesterol and that the majority of the fat present in an egg is actually monounsaturated, which is associated with raising good HDL. Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, vitamins A, B, D, E, biotin, choline, folic acid, and protein. Buy organic and pasture-raised whenever possible.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains have been an integral part of human diets since early civilization. A whole grain refers is a cereal grain that contains the three key, edible and nutritious parts of the original kernel, or seed: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole grains include brown rice, oats, millet, couscous, amaranth, and quinoa. Whole wheat is a whole grain, but it, along with barley and rye, contains a protein called gluten which some people find difficult to digest properly. Be mindful when shopping for bread and cereals; the label “multi-grain” only means that more than one type of grain has been added to the food and does not mean that those grains are whole and were not refined, a process that removes the fiber and essential nutrients found in the whole grain.
- Nuts & Seeds: Experiment adding seeds such as flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, chia, and pomegranate to your diet for a boost in omegas, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Seeds can be sprinkled on top of yogurt or whole grain cereals, mixed into smoothies, rolled into homemade bars, and baked into your favorite cookies, bars, and breads. Eat nuts for a quick source of protein and good fats- great for before a work out or an afternoon meeting. To help monitor the amount you munch on – imagine having to take off the shell of each nut you put into your mouth- the visual might help you slow down and stop shoving too many in at once.
- Spices: When you really take control of what food you put in to your body, you will inevitably begin to cook more often. And when you cook more often, you discover spices that are truly magical: tumeric, paprika, ginger, tarragon, cinnamon, chili pepper, sage, rosemary, saffron, parsley, basil… the list goes on. Depending on the spice, holistic benefits include boosting moods, improving digestive health, easing effects of colds, and alleviating arthritis pain. What’s more, spices make your foods taste delicious! Add to your chicken, tofu, soups, beef, bread, teas, and smoothies.
I hope you find this list helpful! Feel free to comment to share other suggestions or to ask any questions!