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Healing Foods

October 15, 2008

For our second nutrition discussion topic, Jess and I chose “healing foods”.

This stems from the belief that choosing a variety of healthy foods can help prevent disease. I could have talked all day–so I had to limit myself a bit! I love that Jess and I could tackle the same topic with very different ideas –which makes for great discussion. And for the record–we are big fans of flax seed meal in our house as well. Delish!

The RD Perspective: Foods with Healing Benefits

Antiviral Foods:
Foods such as citrus fruits,melons, strawberries,broccoli, bell pepper, tomatoes, and potatoes all contain Vitamin C. They have the ability to boost the immune system by helping it to fight viruses. There is numerous research to support that these foods help us fight off common colds, and other respiratory ailments.

Antibacterial/Antibiotic Foods:
Honey, onions and garlic contain properties that fight infection. They can be eaten or even applied topically for wound care. Before modern medicine, ear infections were treated with garlic water applied to the ear and wounds were dressed with garlic or onion poultice’s and sometimes sealed with honey.

Honey is an amazing food–managing to be antiviral, antibiotic, and antibacterial–as well as having a shelf life of FOREVER. I use honey in the winter as a moisturizing face mask–just apply to clean dry skin and rinse away after 5 minutes. You wouldn’t believe how soft your skin feels!
Berries: Cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries have all been shown to prevent/reduce urinary tract infections by reducing bacteria in the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys.

Antioxidants:
On any given day, our cells are constantly breaking down and repairing themselves. Oxidants are unhealthy bi products of this process and are believed to cause cell damage and even cancer. Consuming foods high in Antioxidants helps to prevent and repair damage.
Foods high in antioxidants include green and black tea, and deeply colored fruits and vegetables. These foods may be able to inhibit tumor formation and prevent/reduce the risk of certain cancers. With antioxidants–many of the benefits change with the color of food that you eat–so it is good to consume a wide variety of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies weekly.

Antioxidant Rich Black Bean Chili
2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 med onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c cilantro, chopped (optional)
1tbs olive oil
Heat olive oil in large skillet

Add garlic, saute 2 minutes

Add onion, saute 3-5 minutes until translucent

Add bell pepper, carrots and saute 4-5 minutes

Add black beans and tomatoes

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes for flavors to combine

Serve garnished with chopped cilantro
I serve this with green Chile corn bread and garnish with avocado and shredded cheese. Morgan likes it all mixed up together–with avocado and cheese–minus the cilantro 🙂

The Average Mom Perspective: Jess

Here are just a couple things that I have found to be useful healing tools as a mom…and a new type of product I just discovered that I thought some of you would be interested in.

FLAX SEED: One of the most successful healing foods I’ve witnessed in action is flax seed. Not only is it rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B…it is very high in fiber. Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diet. A high fiber diet lowers cholesterol and promotes cardiovascular health. It can also aid in weight loss. And, lets just say it…it helps you poop. Most of us have seen our kids suffer with constipation at one time or another…and it is NOT fun. Flax seed meal is a safe, natural remedy and can be found at most health food stores, usually in the refrigerated section. If Phoebe is having an “issue” I usually sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of flax seed meal on yogurt, oatmeal or whatever and she goes within a couple of hours. I have recommended this to many other moms (and others…you know who you are) and all have had positive results. So, keep some handy in the fridge…you never know when you might need it.

FISH OIL: Fish oil is a great source of DHA and has been shown to support brain and eye development in young children. It has also been linked to improving focus, mood, learning and positive behavior in kids. Phoebe takes a 1/2 teaspoon of Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA daily. Make sure to check with your pediatrician first.

WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS: Ideally, if we are eating right, there is no need to take additional supplements…but this is pretty tough for most of us to accomplish. The vitamins I have always taken are the ones sold everywhere. I never thought about what they were made of, I just took them because I was told they were good for me. When you think about it, they are pharmaceuticals in a way…they are created in a lab with chemicals. Hmm, not natural at all. What I didn’t know until recently, is that there are vitamins created with real food. They take whole foods from nature that are grown organically, or microalgae and other superfood supplements, and dry them, grind them up, put them into powders, and then encapsulate those powders or shape them into pills or tablets. Cool right? And easier for our bodies to process and absorb. After all, we are made to digest food, not synthetic chemicals. I plan on going to my local coop to do a little more research and give some a try.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. La Belette Rouge permalink
    October 15, 2008 9:09 pm

    The chili sounds good, even if it is good for you.;-)

  2. Carl and Stephanie permalink
    October 16, 2008 11:40 pm

    I made the chili tonight and my son and I loved it. Thank you for the recipe Jen.

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