From the common cold to diabetes, there are magazines and Web sites full of food-based cures. The best medicine is prevention, and food plays a role in that, too.
At the Jan. 26 CrossRoadsNews Health and Wellness Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest, I’ll demonstrate recipes that feature so-called “superfoods” that can give your body a much-needed boost to heal itself.
If you start out with a balanced diet, you’re well on your way to wellness. Certain nutrient-dense foods can expedite recovery and boost immunity. Check out these easy-to-find and simple-to-prepare foods.
Lower cholesterol naturally
These foods made Prevention Magazine’s list of cholesterol-lowering foods because they help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, maintain “good” HDL cholesterol, and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke:
-- Red wine
-- Salmon and fatty fish
-- Olive oil
Balancing blood sugar
These foods made Real Age’s list of 10 Foods for Diabetics and Blood Sugar because they have a low impact on blood sugar fluctuations, which help diabetics maintain even insulin levels:
-- Spinach and leafy greens
-- Chia seeds
-- Whole grain pasta
-- Olive oil
Chicken soup for the common cold? Absolutely.
Studies have shown that it reduces some of the symptoms of a cold, even if it won’t exactly cure it. These foods made WebMD’s list of 15 Immune Boosting Foods due to their immune-building properties, such as high-antioxidant content and nutrient density.
-- Button mushrooms
-- Acai berry
-- Wheat germ
-- Low-fat yogurt
-- Sweet potato
Inflammation is famous for causing pain, but did you know it is also a precursor to other major illnesses? Internal systemic inflammation often goes undetected until it triggers other more noticeable symptoms such as an organ or glandular malfunction.
Dr. Andrew Weil, author and integrative medicine expert, says: “It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.”
His Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, released on Oct. 12, 2012, suggests these foods, from greatest to least quantities, be consumed to fight inflammation (view the full pyramid at www.drweil.com):
-- Vegetables (4-5 a day)
-- Fish and seafood (2-6 a week)
-- Fruits (3-4 a day)
-- Whole and cracked grains (3-5 a day)
-- Beans and legumes (1-2 a day)
-- Whole soy foods (1-2 a day)
-- Pasta (2-3 a week)
-- Cooked Asian mushrooms (unlimited amounts)
-- Other sources of protein like eggs, poultry, lean meats, cheeses (1-2 a week)
-- Healthy fats like olive and other expeller pressed oils, nuts, avocados and seeds (5-7 a day)
-- Herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, tumeric and cinnamon (unlimited amounts)
-- Tea, white, green and oolong (2-4 cups a day)
-- Supplements (daily)
-- Red wine (optional)
-- Healthy sweets (sparingly)
As you can see, there are lots of food options to create a healthy menu of delicious meals. We’ll tackle this topic and answer some of your questions around healthy eating at the Health and Wellness Expo, noon to 5 p.m. on the mall’s lower level.
I will be on the Main Stage in front of Sears at 3:30 p.m.
Follow the Life Chef
Chef Asata teaches a “What’s Cooking?” healthy eating class at Sevananda Natural Foods Market (www.sevananda.coop) at noon on the second Saturday monthly. She also is leading a “How to Feed a Kid” seminar series for parents at Charles R. Drew Charter School for the 2012-2013 school year. She also has a healthy cooking series at the Truly Living Well Urban Farms (www.trulylivingwell.net) and the Villages of East Lake community in spring of 2013. For more information, visit www.LifeChef.net and follow her on Facebook/ChefAsata for daily healthy eating tips and recipes.