3 Superfoods to Enhance Your Diet
“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”
- Maimonides, twelfth-century Jewish physician
Before the invention of pharmaceuticals, people used food and herbs to treat their ailments.
According to a study in The Lancet that analyzed the diets of people in 195 countries, 11 million deaths per year can be attributed to unhealthy diets. This figure is more than deaths caused by smoking or road accidents. Countries where people consume high quantities of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and healthy oils have the lowest rates of diet-related health conditions1.
Countries with the highest rates of diseases ate high amounts of sugar, processed meats, sodium, and trans fats. Today, an estimated 77 percent of the American diet comes from processed foods2.
Prior to modern medicine, people treated ailments with vegetables, broths, mushrooms and berries. They also acknowledged that some foods, due to their shape and color hold clues to how they can improve your health.
Eat these 3 superfoods to unlock the power of ancient remedies to restore your health.
1. Bone broth
Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and ligaments of beef, chicken, lamb, and fish. This soup was a staple in ancient times, where people used every part of the animal without anything going to waste. In our modern diets, people tend to throw away bones. However, science reveals that the cooking process activates the release of healing compounds within the animal tissues. This includes collagen and its amino acids – proline, hydroxyproline, glycine, and glutamine – which help preserve youthful skin and joints.
Collagen is also highly beneficial. Collagen makes up a large part of your skin, hair, nails, bones, discs, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue, gut lining, and blood vessels. Consuming collagen protects these vital tissues. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, German researchers revealed that taking collagen daily enhances skin hydration, elasticity, texture, and density3.
In addition, bone broth contains vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur in an easily absorbable form.
Bone broth is key to healing your gut, as it promotes the proliferation of good bacteria, combats wheat and dairy sensitivities, and reduces overall inflammation.
You can make bone broth yourself by simmering bones in water over several hours and removing the bones once ready.
What remains will be a nutrient-rich broth. Alternatively, you can buy ready-made versions or use a bone broth protein powder. If you are using a powder, try to get 30 to 40 milligrams of collagen each day.
2. Organ meats
Organ meats have been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. A basic principle is that organ meats from animals support the same organ in your body. As some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, organ meats’ nutritional content far surpasses that of muscle meats commonly consumed today. Beef liver, for example, contains fifty times as much vitamin B12 as steak. The liver is very healthy and is packed with B vitamins, vitamin A, selenium, and folate. Venison, beef, and chicken liver contain more nutrients than spinach or kale and support the detoxification of your liver.
For those who have trouble eating organ meats, they can be taken in supplements. You can take three grams of a liver capsule supplement daily.
3. Healthy fats
In recent times, fats have been demonized in Western medicine for their effects on cardiovascular health. However, scientific evidence reveals that some of the healthiest cultures around the world consume high-fat diets and have been doing so for millennia. In the Mediterranean and Middle East, olives and olive oil are dietary staples. In South America, avocados are embedded into daily recipes. In the Caribbean, coconut is a dietary mainstay. In India, ghee has been used for centuries.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that subjects eating a Mediterranean diet high in healthy fats lost more weight than those eating a low-fat or low-carb diet4. This was most likely because eating fat is more satisfying and is slower to digest, keeping you satiated for longer. In addition, subjects reduced their levels of bad cholesterol, as monounsaturated fatty acids positively impact cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, fat is essential for your body to take up fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are key to maintaining energy levels, building strong cell membranes, and rejuvenating your skin.
Virgin coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which burn faster than other types of fats. This feature makes them a great source of fuel. Unlike other long-chain fatty acids in commonly found plant-based oils, MCTs and easy to digest, are not stored as fat and contain antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Extra virgin olive oil is a potent source of antioxidants and can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, alleviate pain, and enhance the good bacteria in your gut5.
Other healthy fat sources include ghee, grass-fed butter, nuts and seeds, eggs, avocados, grass-fed organic beef, full-fat dairy, and oily fish such as salmon and sardines.
Consume 40 to 70 grams of healthy fats per day to experience their benefits.
Author: Jesamine Dyus
1GBD 2017 Diet Collaborators. “Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.” Lancet (London, England) vol. 393,10184 (2019): 1958-1972. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30041-8
2 Poti, Jennifer M et al. “Is the degree of food processing and convenience linked with the nutritional quality of foods purchased by US households?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 101,6 (2015): 1251-62. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.100925
3Bolke, Liane et al. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2494. 17 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102494
4 Shai, Iris et al. “Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 359,3 (2008): 229-41. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0708681
5 Martín-Peláez, Sandra et al. “Effect of virgin olive oil and thyme phenolic compounds on blood lipid profile: implications of human gut microbiota.” European journal of nutrition vol. 56,1 (2017): 119-131. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1063-2
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