Food is information and food is medicine. It tells us how to act and sometimes how to react. But food is often accompanied by a lot of noise, too much advice and a host of conflicting information.
1. Remember the old pickles and relishes your grandmother used to make? There’s medicine in those jars! Naturally fermented and cultured foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, homemade yogurt and aged cheeses actually feed the good bacteria in your gut. Check out Nourished Kitchen to learn more about these traditional foods
2. You are what you eat, but really you are what you absorb. So in other words, if you eat foods that you can’t tolerate or you eat foods that give you headaches, make you feel bloated, give you strange aches and pains, you aren’t absorbing them and you are probably doing some damage too. So stay away from them and use those naturally fermented foods to restore the natural bacteria of your gut!
3. Think In Shades of Purple and Red: so you are in the produce department and want to know whether to choose green pears or red pairs, green apples or red apples. From a culinary perspective, you choose based on flavor and how you want to use the fruit. From a nutrition perspective, choose red. The deeper the blush, the greater your food-medicine in general. The red translates to anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants. Think of antioxidants as anti-corrosives for your body.
4. Think Deep Green over Light Green for Leafy Vegetables: The deeper the green, the bigger the health benefits. Deeper green often comes with more robust flavor, which means more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. If you are timid around greens, start with Napa cabbage, then move to spinach, onto bok choy and then to chard.
5. Think Loose versus Tight: when choosing your lettuce, look for the floppy loose lettuces such as Boston Bibb or Oak Leaf Lettuce. The more the leaves are exposed to UV light, the harder the plant has to work to produce phytonutrients to protect it from the damaging UV light. The higher the phytonutrient quotient, the more nutritionally beneficial the plant for you. So go floppy not tight!
So with all that in mind, these are five straight talking ways you can choose food that doubles as your best medicine.