As a naturopathic doctor I regularly help people integrate healthier nutritional habits into their lives. Whether it’s preventative or to help treat an acute or chronic disease, nutrition plays a pivotal role in better health. Helping patients navigating diet and lifestyle can certainly be nothing short of complex, but by focusing on being realistic, and coupling it with effectiveness, it is a feat that can be easy accomplished.
There are times when adding foods into the diet can achieve more than trying to pull away, alter, or substantially flip a person’s current dietary habits upside down. Although every patient requires individual dietary care, many patients often ask me “if you were to choose your 5 healthiest foods for overall health, which one’s would they be”? Patient individuality, health or disease status, and essentially the plethora of massively healthy food choices notwithstanding, here are my top 5 healthiest foods for optimizing overall general health.
Broccoli sprouts are a hugely powerful healthy food. One single broccoli sprout can provide the equivalency of 10 to 100 times the health profile and medicinal density of one full head of broccoli. So consider the health impacts that consuming even a handful of broccoli sprouts daily can have on your health over time. Broccoli sprouts contain a vast array of medicinal constituents, including glucoraphanin, sulforaphane, and many other phytochemical’s. These sprouts have been implicated within a majority of health promoting benefits, and are also researched as prime mediators to help treat dozens of diseases, from cancer to hormonal conditions. And the antioxidant concentration, like many of the other foods I list, are top notch. Including this food into your diet will absolutely help reduce your risks for multiple diseases and improve your overall health.
Ginger root has been well studied for its health impacts in cancer, immune health, digestion, and many other health related issues. If not for any specific disease intent, ginger offers a wide composition of well known medicinal chemicals, including gingerol, which has been proven to provide whopping health supportive properties. Consuming ginger root in its whole form (via fresh root or tincture) is the most potent method, however consuming as a tea or dried powder is beneficial as well.
Turkey Tail Mushroom
Turkey tail mushroom, also known as Coriolus versicolor, is a very common mushroom that grows naturally in many environments around the world. Its safety profile has been well established, and as a mushroom, provides a densely packed array of natural chemicals which are beneficial for both general health and specific diseases and conditions. It is used as an adaptogen (stress support), as well as targets a multitude of pathways present in the development of many cancers. It is a highly nutritious mushroom, and overall, is considered one of the most health potent mushrooms and foods on the planet. Although difficult to find in fresh form, it can easily and safely be wild crafted, or, more commonly, consumed as a potent extract in capsule or powdered form.
Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice that’s been used in the culinary world and as a medicinal food for thousands of years. Similar to ginger, the powerful components of turmeric are also found in its root. Turmeric, by far, has shown extensive promise as one of the most powerfully healthy foods known to man. Although somewhat difficult for the body to absorb and utilize, there are simple ways (such as mixing it in coconut oil or other fats) to improve the likelihood that turmeric will absorb. Curcumin is widely known and used as one of the most well evidenced constituent of turmeric for its many medicinal properties.
Garlic belongs to the allium family, which also includes powerful foods such as onions, shallots, leaks and chives. Known for many of its sulfur compounds, garlic, similar to all of the above foods, is potent as being anti cancer, anti inflammatory, an antioxidant, and has a large variety of other health targets. When it comes to treating disease, garlic can help conditions such as high cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, colds/flu’s, and is also showing great promise as a target support in Alzheimer’s disease. Try to always use and cook fresh garlic cloves.
There are numerous other extremely healthy foods that I could list here, however these, by far, top my list. The above foods are best utilized in the presence of an overall balanced and nutritious diet, and if serious about preventative health or treating disease, speak to me, as an experienced naturopathic doctor, for a full and complete approach to health.