What’s a power food anyway? Is it what people eat at power lunches? Or is it just the latest form of hype? Actually, a power food is one that is a top performer at getting you healthy macro and micronutrients as well as having other compounds that are healthy and vitalizing for your body at the cellular level. Brad Pitt or Scarlet Johannsen might eat them at a power lunch and be part of a trend. But it would be a good trend to join in on.
#1 ORGANIC GRANNY SMITH APPLES
Apples are one of the lowest glycemic fruits so they don’t tend to raise blood sugar much in most people. They have very healthy types of fiber in them including pectin. Pectin is very healing to the gut lining and also supportive of the microbiome, the organisms living in your gut. Apples can help to lower cholesterol as well. All the apples you eat should be organic. Insist on it for both apples and products such as applesauce since apples are always number 1 or number 2 on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen List of the fruits and vegetables most contaminated by pesticides.
Apple Health Tip:
After a stomach flu, food poisoning or taking antibiotics take 5 Organic Granny Smith apples, peel them and simmer them for 15 minutes. Cool and add some Ceylon Cinnamon and eat about 1 apple’s worth of what you have cooked every day. Do this three times for a total of 15 days and you will help to heal the lining of your gut and restore the microbiome to a healthier state. Taking probiotics after these kinds of challenges may also be a good idea.
#2 FLAX SEED
Flax seed has healthy fat, specifically a good amount of ALA – or alpha linolenic acid. This type of fat has been shown to benefit health and longevity. Flax seed lowers blood pressure. Another huge plus for flax seed is that it contains plant compounds that are phytoestrogens or estrogen-receptor modulators. This is important for two reasons:
- We are exposed to lots of pesticides, plastics and other compounds that are called xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic the effect of estrogen in the body and stimulate estrogen receptors to turn on. They may account for unwanted reproductive side effects and even increased rates of cancer. The plant estrogens in flax interact with certain estrogen receptors but in a weaker way. In doing this they block access to the receptor for the xenoestrogens which tend to have stronger stimulatory effects. This is important because many diseases in women including conditions such as fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, infertility and headaches result in part from imbalance of hormones in which estrogen becomes too dominant. Blocking some of the estrogen effects can be helpful.
- Unhealthy metabolites of natural and artificial hormones. Even if you don’t take any hormones there are certain metabolic pathways in the body and in the bacteria in your gut that can lead to hormone metabolites that increase your risks of certain problems including breast cancer. In the same way that compounds in Flax Seed can protect the estrogen receptors from xenoestrogens they may also protect your body against overstimulation of the receptors by harmful estrogen metabolites.
Flax Seed Health Tip:
The best way to incorporate flax seed into your diet is to grind it fresh. We suggest buying a small coffee grinder and grinding the flax right before you plan to use it. We dedicate er for flax and other seeds and keep it separate from the one we grind coffee in just to save the hassle of taking all the fine particles out of it. Grinding the flax seed daily keeps the oil that is released in a healthy unoxidized state. The oil in the whole seeds is protected by the casing and also antioxidant compounds within the seed. Once it is ground or if you just use the oil then some of the oil can oxidize into a less healthy form. You can put it in applesauce, baked goods or smoothies. I take 3 Tablespoons of fresh flax seed, grind it and add it to a green smoothie.
#3 WILD SALMON
If you can get it wild is a good idea. Wild canned or frozen salmon is likely a better choice than fresh farmed salmon as some sources suggest the wild may have less chance of having higher exposure to pesticide levels. Why salmon? Because it is one of the SMASH fish that has a very high content of Omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the SMASH fish:
S – Salmon
Salmon is my favorite as it is rich but not overpowering in flavor. I think fish that is fresh, frozen, or canned may be safer than fish that is pickled. Cultures that eat a lot of pickled foods such as pickled herring tend to have higher incidence rates of stomach cancer. Some species of mackerel are on the high mercury content list which takes them off our grocery list. Leaving – Salmon! A great low-carb food that has healthy fat and a good serving of healthy protein.
People who eat fish 2-3 nights a week tend to have a wide spectrum of health benefits. It is much easier to prove that eating fish is healthy for you than taking fish oil or other Omega3 oils. This may be because there are other healthy fractions such as Omega 7 in fish that you don’t get in purified Omega3 oils.
Salmon Health Tip:
Canned salmon is easy to dress up for a party and easy to carry when you travel. I find locating healthy foods while traveling to be a daunting and expensive challenge. Throw a few cans of wild salmon in your checked suitcase – double bagged for safe keeping and eat it in your hotel or have it along with some steamed vegetables from room service. If you want to get fancy take a few travel packets of pickle relish and some seasonings you like in your suitcase too and create your own delicacies.