Is There Really Food That Delivers Powerhouse Benefits Including Detoxing & Supporting Health?
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Let’s face it, Americans are lacking in the vegetable department in a big way. The recommended daily intake for vegetables varies from 3-7 servings per day. But more and more evidence is coming out that lends itself to increasing those recommendations. The merits of a plant based diet can not be overlooked anymore. In fact, “researchers for the greatest benefit came from eating 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. The estimate that if everyone ate this amount - equivalent to about 800 grams, or 28 ounces - approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented.”1
When someone talks about a plant based diet, it can mean different things for different people. Some people interpret that as being a strict vegan or vegetarian. Others interpret it as being the foundation of well rounded diet that includes other whole foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and responsible sourced animal protein in limited quantities. I generally subscribe to the later, as there are many health benefits of including small amounts of organic, pasture raised, grass fed, wild caught protein. These include iron, vitamin B12, essential amino acids, zinc, vitamin A, and omega-3s. Several eating styles that follow this basic outline are the Mediterranean diet, the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Dr. Hyman’s Pegan Diet and a clean approach to a cyclic ketogenic diet with a plant focus. Each of these approaches to eating include some source of clean protein in limited quantities, although the recommended sources vary from diet to diet.
Let’s take a quick look at why a plant focused approach to eating can benefit your health:
Better focus and energy
Stabilize blood sugar
Reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes
Help protect against cognitive decline
Powerhouse line up of protective vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients
High fiber content helps keep digestion and elimination regular
Improved weight management
Increases longevity and vitality
Since I had a few health issues and began transitioning to a more plant centric approach to eating, I have felt better, had more energy, and lost weight. I also have the increased peace of mind that I am protecting my health for the long term and reducing my risk for disease. It is a process to begin eating plants as the main focus of your diet, and I did it little by little. Today, I aim to eat 75% of each meal as clean, healthy plant based nutrients with a focus on vegetables. Little by little you can create a lifestyle that pushes toxins out and brings more nutrients in.
So, while you get the quick and simple overview of my approach to food, I want to share two of my “go-to” veggies that pack a lot of punch when it comes to providing ample nutrients while supporting some natural detox pathways in the body. I eat these most days and mix them into recipes and meals often.
There is currently a “moment” happening with celery, specifically celery juice due to the hype associated with the book Medical Medium by Anthony Williams. Some of the health benefits touted include improved digestion, clear skin, less bloat, mental clarity, and weight loss.4. There are no notable studies done on celery juice to confirm these claims, but plenty of anecdotal evidence exists.
Celery has also been revered as a beneficial herb for centuries in folk medicine.
While I do not drink celery juice, some of the benefits are most certainly transferable to eating the actual vegetable.
I try to eat at least three stalks a day, sometimes more.
It is a great snack that can be satisfying while acting as a carrier for other flavor. It is a great replacement for chips and crackers - I bring cut celery when we eat a Mexican restaurant to substitute the chips with salsa and guac.
It can also serve as a way to enjoy healthy nut butters, pestos, cheese or dips.
Here are some of the nutrients and benefits in celery:
Once cup of chopped celery contains approximately 16 calories
Extremely low glycemic load
Contains the a molecule called apigenin that helps lower inflammation and “is being studied for anti-cancer properties.” 5
Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients
High in Vitamin K
High water content
Good source of fiber
Contains other vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C
These nutrients are thought to:
provide cardiovascular benefits such as possibly improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It may also act as a natural diuretic and may reduce bloating for some
Some data suggests celery may help protect the liver, contribute to weight loss, protect against urinary tract infections and may have immune supporting properties.
QUICK WAYS TO INCORPORATE CELERY
Raw celery with no sugar added nut butter
Raw celery with guacamole
Raw celery with sun-dried tomato pesto
Diced celery added to chili or stew
Diced celery added to any salad
Diced celery added to a smoothie
Yes, you know, those plants that drive us crazy when disrupt a beautiful green yard. That’s the one - dandelions. Because so many yards are treated with chemicals that pose many health dangers, I ALWAYS recommend buying organic dandelion greens at a local market or health food store. These greens are extremely bitter. However, for me, the listed health benefits are far too great to ignore, so I pull off a handful most days and eat it raw with nothing on it. I almost think of it as a “dose of medicine.” Chew it up, swallow it down.
So, here’s why I eat these great greens:
The Green Pharmacy states dandelion greens are a diuretic and may show some effectiveness in offering protecting against seasonal respiratory discomfort. They may also offer some immune boosting benefits as well.
Organic Facts website lists benefits that may help liver disorders, diabetes, and urinary issues.
Because of the bitterness, dandelions can help digestion and contribute to a healthy weight by stimulating liver, regulating hunger and quenching sweet cravings.
Low in calories, high in fiber, and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including calcium vitamin A and vitamin K.
Contains antioxidants such as luteolin that may keep the liver functioning well
Contains fiber and a special carbohydrate called inulin that helps maintain healthy gut microbiome.
Contains natural detoxifiers that may help cleanse the body and help with some skin issues like acne.
EASY WAYS TO CONSUME DANDELION GREENS
Just eat a handful
Cut them up and add to any salad greens or try this salad
Saute as a side dish with a little olive oil and seasoning
Throw some in a smoothie
Other parts of the dandelion plant offer promising benefits too, such as the flower and root. But for now, to keep it simple, I am sticking to the greens.
For a one two punch, make a quick salad with dandelion greens and chopped celery. Dress with a quick homemade dressing by tossing together dijon mustard, olive oil and maple syrup.
If you are on any kind of blood thinning medication or anti-coagulant, or have type of
cardiac or blood issues, you should check with you doctor prior to increasing vitamin K in your diet.
**always check with your health care provider if you hav questions about any foods and how they relate to your individual health concerns, any allergy/sensitivity concerns, or interactions