The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, “let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” We couldn’t agree more. While every whole-food ingredient delivers its own unique blend of healthful vitamins, nutrients and minerals, the following 5 healing foods may be effective in addressing the health challenges of many of us face today.
Benefits: Reduces inflammation
This vibrant root, which is a quintessential ingredient in curries and a cousin of ginger, is also an inflammation fighter. This is because of curcumin, the compound in turmeric that gives it its bright color. In one study turmeric extract supplements were just as effective as ibuprofen in easing the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.
Try this: Because the flavor of turmeric is subtle and earthy, Turmeric makes a colorful addition to many dishes. Add it to scrambles, roasted vegetables, rice, greens and soup.
Health Benefits: Fights bacterial and viral infections, controls yeast.
There’s a reason this ancient root has been used for thousands of years around the world as both a food and medicine. Considered in some circles to be “poor man’s penicillin,” garlic contains several compounds with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Because it also contains high levels of vitamin C, it is also a natural immune booster.
Try this: Garlic is delicious and versatile so it’s easy to consume regularly. Try roasting it, which brings out its naturally sweet and nutty flavors and makes it easy to spread on a baguette or add to soups, salads and dips.
Health Benefits: Lowers blood pressure, boosts brainpower and lowers BMI
We love chocolate and chocolate loves us! Numerous studies show flavanols, the antioxidants inherent in cacao, deliver a host of benefits including helping you lose weight! In one study, frequent consumption of small quantities of dark chocolate was associated with a lower body mass index.
Try this: To reap chocolate’s healthful benefits choose bars with a high cacao content (70 percent or more), which is indicative of higher amounts of flavanols. Here’s one of our favorite chocolate-featuring recipes.
Health Benefits: Regulates blood sugar, supports healthy metabolism, eases anxiety, stress and depression.
Figs are a source of magnesium, which is a vital nutrient needed for muscle, nerve and bone health. Unfortunately, due to diets that are often void of magnesium-rich foods, and the magnesium-depleted soil much of our food is grown in, magnesium deficiency is common. Make sure you’re getting enough of this essential nutrient to support bodily function and mental wellbeing.
Try this: While figs are a good source of magnesium they’re not the only one. Magnesium is also found in: Almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic. For an easy and tasty, magnesium-delivering treat, try our Figgy Pops which contain magnesium-rich figs, pumpkin seeds and dates.
Health Benefits: Support healthy blood pressure and balance hormones.
These tiny seeds pack a considerably nutritious punch. Sesame seeds are rich in many nutrients including copper, manganese and calcium. They also contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin, which are members of a group of special fibers called lignans. Sesamin has been shown to prevent high blood pressure, naturally lower cholesterol and positively impact sex hormone production.
Try this: Sesame oil is one of our favorite ways to flavor roasted vegetables. Tahini, which is ground sesame seeds is a common ingredient in hummus. You might also try adding it to a smoothie. Here’s one of our favorite recipes featuring sesame seeds.