Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Super-Foods that are Probably Already in Your Cupboard

When considering the typical American diet full of fried foods, nutritionally-flawed fast food, and the ever-increasing amount of sugar and chemical additives, it leaves one wondering how in the world anyone lives to a ripe old age!

It turns out that hidden in the typical western diet of highly-toxic processed foods are wonders of nature that you'd never suspect are really health foods.
Here, then, is a short list of the five most powerful health-enhancing foods that don't seem like health foods but which are quite possibly already in your cupboard – foods that help to ward off disease even when the rest of the diet is not so healthy.

#1 - Mustard
Mustard, believe it or not, is a medicinal paste made from the seed of the mustard plant. It's a superfood that's been around for at least 5,000 years, and it's one of the few common sources of the anti-carcinogen, selenium, a trace mineral often absent from our produce because of over-farmed soil.
Mustard is known to help in reducing migraines, and it's a natural anti-fungal and antiseptic. Another benefit of mustard is that it's never made with MSG or yeast extract. Mustard products -- even conventional products from non-health-food companies -- are still very healthful to consume.

#2 - Cole Slaw

Cole slaw is made out of one of the most powerful natural medicines in the food kingdom: raw cabbage.

Raw cabbage is a proven cure for stomach ulcers. It's also an amazing anti-cancer food that can help prevent (or even reverse) many types of cancer. Cabbage has been one of the most medicinal foods ever consumed in the history of mankind. It's also good for you even when cooked, such as in the case of cabbage soup, or fermented, such as in sauerkraut.

Cabbage is rich in indole-3-carbinol (I3C), one of its many anti-cancer nutrients.
It's best to make your own cole slaw at home, but if you purchase store-bought cole slaw, be sure to avoid processed ingredients often used in cheaper cole slaw recipes, such as high-fructose corn syrup and canola oil (which is often GMO).

#3 - Cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, paprika and other spices
Nearly all the pungent cooking spices are actually powerful medicines.

Cinnamon, for example, helps regulate blood sugar in diabetics. Cinnamon is also a powerful anti-microbial agent (i.e. it kills bad bacteria).
Cloves are the No. 1 source for the highest density of antioxidants found in the entire food supply. Yes, cloves have a higher ORAC value (an antioxidant score) than any other food or spice.

Rosemary is a great source of antioxidants as well, and is also a powerful digestive tonic, anti-inflammatory, and internal detoxification herb.
Ginger is legendary as an immune-boosting, circulation-enhancing tonic herb that's also fantastic for beating winter colds and flu. Ginger even works to relieve muscle pain!

If you like curry, then you'll be glad to know that turmeric, the main ingredient in curry, is also an amazing source of natural medicines. It's a powerful anti-cancer as well as an anti-inflammatory medicine.
In Southern and Midwestern cuisine, barbeque sauce is a surprisingly good source of bitter alkaloids and health-enhancing spices (often including mustard and paprika), but this is only true with the rich, homemade sauces, not the highly-processed super-market sauces, which are usually loaded with sweeteners.

Nearly all the common spices you find in grocery stores are medicinal foods.

#4 - Raisins
Raisins may not sound unusually healthy, but if you think about what they really are, it becomes obvious how powerful they can be as a health food. Raisins are dried grapes, of course, meaning they contain all the natural phytonutrients of grape skins.

Remember: Most of the phytonutrients in grapes is found in the skin. This is why it's so important to buy only organic raisins, because grapes sprayed with fungicides have low levels of resveratrol – one of the most powerful of all the nutrients found in grapes. Organic grapes have the highest levels of resveratrol.

Raisins are also very high in naturally-occurring antioxidants, making them a fantastic overall source of nutrition.

#5 - Common nuts: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, etc.
Once again, nuts may not be on your list of the healthiest foods, but they probably should be. Walnuts are an amazing natural medicine that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. They're very high in natural antioxidants and also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Pecans boost brain protection and also help lower cholesterol levels. Almonds are now being widely used to make almond milk (a natural anti-cancer milk beverage) and almond butter, and even the common peanut is now making a comeback as a health food.

Just remember: When you buy nuts, raw is best because heat processing destroys the phytonutrients found in foods. Avoid "salted" nuts because they're almost always salted with toxic sodium chloride (simple table salt). Avoid "flavored" nuts because they almost always are made with MSG flavor enhancers such as yeast extract or autolyzed proteins. Just look for plain, simple, unsalted nuts.

So there you have it: Five simple and common foods that you probably didn’t know were healthy super foods.