Functional foods are the difference between achieving optimal health and simply having a slimmer waistline – and the foods listed on this page are loaded with more than traditional, but necessary vitamins and minerals. Sprinkling these foods in your diet throughout the week can have a significant impact on your health. Choose variety and when making your selections, consider your lifestyle, family medical history and disease risk. Read about each food item carefully – powerful chemicals in some of these foods can be really beneficial or really dangerous, especially in high doses – monitoring your intake is crucial to reaping the benefits.
- Broccoli. When mom tells you to eat your veggies, you may way to reconsider that disgusted face you make. Eating broccoli could save your life. Broccoli is loaded with carotenoids and glucosinolates (forms isothiocyanates when chewed or crushed and releases sulforaphane when cooked) These phytochemical compounds have been proven to ward off many types of cancer by inhibiting the growth of tumors. Raw and cooked broccoli have significant benefits, although different for each form. Enjoy your broccoli steamed, blanched, sauteed and raw to reap all the benefits of this powerful vegetable. Of course, don’t forget that aside from these unique compounds, broccoli is one vegetable that offers a sufficient and diverse number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B complex, C, calcium, potassium and fiber.
- Cabbage. Cabbage, like broccoli, is a serious cancer-fighter. Cabbage contains compounds known as isothiocyanates (ITC), indoles and dithiolthiones. Each of these phytochemical compounds inhibit pathways that can contribute to the formation of cancerous cells in the body. Red cabbage has some added benefits – anthocyanidins (a potent antioxidant) contribute to its purple color. Brussel sprouts may be included in this category as well, being a rich source of sigrin, which contributes to the taste and inhibits the formation of precancerous cells. Cabbage is a rich source of traditional vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, E and B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and selenium.
- Carrots. Carrots are the quick and easy on-the-go healthy snack. Loaded with more than 600 carotenoids – it is the “standard” antioxidant. The ability of this compound to inhibit free radicals contributes to its ability to lower LDL cholesterol, inhibit cancer initiation, progression and proliferation. Falcarinol is a potent anticarcinogenic compound found in raw baby carrots. One study also revealed that in patients with cystic fibrosis, the beta carotene in baby carrots reduced the need for antibiotics. Carrots are well-known for their vitamin C content, which is what makes them so good at fighting free radicals, but this sweet veggie also include other essential vitamins and minerals: vitamins A and K, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Mushrooms. Mushrooms are potent disease-fighters that must be consumed with caution. This age-old fungus can be as deadly as it is beneficial – so don’t go around haphazardly consuming mushrooms you find my the wayside. Even extensively educated and experiences researchers that study this toxic fungi have died testing the safety and efficacy of mushrooms. Nonetheless, reishi, shiitake, portabella and oyster mushrooms that line the shelves of supermarkets have been confirmed safe and can improve your health. Throughout ancient times, mushrooms have been held in high regard for their anti-viral properties. Oyster mushrooms have been shown to inhibit HIV replication and naturally produce statins, like those used in cholesterol-lowering medications. Reishi, shiitake and oyster mushrooms all have antibacterial, anti-tumor, anti-viral properties as well as the ability to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels and improve immunity. Mushrooms in supplement form have been shown to be toxic in high doses, including contributing to the formation of cancerous cells – choose natural consumption to reap the benefits without toxicity. Today, some food manufacturers treat mushrooms with UV rays to fortify this fungus with vitamin D3.
- Onions. The potency behind this intensely flavorful vegetable does more than give you breath that could clear a room. Onions are the only vegetable known to contain prostaglandins, one among several biologically active compounds that effectively lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation inside the body. Onions also non-sulphur compounds, such as querecetin, rutin and kaempferol that have been shown to decrease rates of LDL oxidation, inhibit progression of breast cancer tumors and reduce platelet aggregation. These effects have been observed in vitro (outside the body) in a lab – more research may be necessary to confirm the effects inside the body. What has been proven, however, is that the saponins, another non-sulphur compound in onions, decrease the absorption of fat and cholesterol from the diet and lowers blood lipid levels. These compounds collectively haven been shown to prevent diarrhea and lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer and are effective raw or cooked with low heat.
Fruits – COMING SOON
- Citrus fruits
- Cranberries. Not all cranberries are created equal. There are 6 to 7 “varieties” of cranberries and only one “true” cranberry. This “true” cranberry is quite sour and powerful as a source antioxidants – ranking #6 among all fruits for antioxidant quality. The most widely known and effective use of cranberries is their role in urinary health. Cranberries prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria (Proteus mirabalis and E. coli) that commonly infect the urinary tract. The phenolic compounds in cranberries also protect against heart disease, infections of the gums and cancer. Much like in the urinary tract, cranberries inhibit the adhesion of harmful bacteria on the gums. It has also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation, which contributes to heart disease. In mice, cranberries have inhibited tumor growth and decreased the spread of tumors.
- Acai berry
Spices, Herbs & Teas – COMING SOON
- Green tea
- White tea
- Oolong tea
- Roobios tea