5 Healing Foods We Can’t Get Enough OfWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, February 6th, 2017

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.


Turmeric

turmeric-healing-foodsBenefits: 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.

Garlic

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. 

Dark Chocolate

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.

Figs

black-mission-figs-healing-foodsHealth 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.

Sesame Seeds

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.

Sick of getting sick? Try these 5 surprising immune-boosting foodsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The air is getting cooler and with cozy nights by the fire comes another not-so-friendly reminder of the season—the annual cold. Don’t ring in the season by catching something unpleasant. These immune boosting foods can help you fight off bugs before your first sniffle. Bonus, they taste pretty great too!

Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been used to support immunity for centuries, but it’s only now that researchers know why they’re so effective. Studies show that consuming funghi enhances the number and performance of white blood cells. Since these cells are the body’s first defense for fighting any kind of infection, a healthy supply is essential. Try shiitake, maitake or reishi mushrooms which appear to offer the biggest immunity boost.

Yogurt
Much of how we feel is regulated by the gut. Craving sugar? You may have an overgrowth of Candida. Feeling the end-of-summer blues? Research shows it’s bacteria in our digestive tract that regulates levels of the “happy hormone” serotonin. If you’re coming down with a cold, it may be time to check in with your gut. While we’re still learning a lot about how the gut works, most doctors recommend consuming probiotics as one way to keep it happy. Consuming yogurt is a great way to get your probiotic dose. A Swedish study found that of 181 factory employees, those that consumed a daily supplement of Lactobacillus reuteri—a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells—took 33 percent fewer sick days than those given a placebo. Try Stonyfield Farm yogurt (which contains this specific strain) with almonds, pistachios and warming spices in our favorite Mediterranean Spiced Yogurt

Oats and Barley

There’s good reason mom sent you to school with a belly full of oatmeal. The beta-glucan (a type of fiber) in the grains has more antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities than Echinacea, according to a Norwegian study. Enjoy a bowl in the morning to boost immunity and promote speedy wound recovery. We like it with almonds, coconut milk and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Lamb

Do you know the secret ingredient in over-the-counter remedies that is  guaranteed to shorten the duration of your cold? It’s zinc, which is integral for the development of white blood cells. Unfortunately many of us are short on the this key nutrient which means when cold season comes we’re more susceptible. The good news is there’s an easy way to get your daily dose. Oysters, beef and lamb are great sources. Try these Dried Cranberry Apricot Braised Lamp chops. If meat isn’t in your diet, regularly consuming cashews is another way to get your zinc hit.

8. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to bolstering your gut and white blood cells, also consider your skin for cold prevention–after all, it’s your first barrier against bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A is the nutrient to consider here since it plays a major role in keeping skin healthy. Look for foods rich in beta-carotene which your body uses to make Vitamin A. sweet potatoes are our pick since they’re also delicious just about any way they’re prepared.  Try them in this mouth watering casserole.