The ingredients for a balanced diet
Eating well-balanced meals doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all your favorite foods. Making healthy choices just takes some awareness and basic information on the quality and quantity of different foods and their ingredients.
Eat 5 to 9 servings of thoroughly washed fruits and vegetables per day. A serving size can be considered:
- 1 medium piece of fruit
- 1/2 cup fruit or vegetable (raw, cooked, canned or frozen)
- 1 cup leafy green salad
- 1/2 cup dried fruit
- 1/2 cup or 6 ounces 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- 1/2 cup cooked, canned or dried peas or beans
Try to eat only whole grains—for example, whole wheat breads, pastas, and tortillas, and brown or wild rice, and cereals such as oatmeal and granola. Legumes, nuts and seeds should be included daily in a healthy diet. Avoid processed, polished grains.
Decrease the salt content in food, as well as the use of refined simple sugars and carbohydrates.
We recommend cold-water fish; and dairy products or other calcium-rich foods. Also free-range poultry or eggs, on an occasional basis, and we recommend that beef, pork or wild game should be consumed only a couple of times a week. It is no coincidence that this diet resembles the way our ancestors ate. These are the foods the human body was designed to eat.
However, avoid foods that have been salt-cured, salt pickled or smoked, and charcoal barbecued meats. Do not overcook meats.
Avoid foods high in fat; 20% to 25% of fats consumed should be essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts and many vegetables.
Must-eat foods for a healthy body
Many necessary nutrients and phytochemicals needed for good detoxification are available in a wide variety of foods. Try to find a convenient way to include as many of these foods in your diet as you can.
Broccoli is great, but the sprouts are even better: they actually contain twenty times more sulforaphane and contain other important phytochemicals. Broccoli sprouts are starting to show up in grocery stores.
Among the many beneficial phytochemicals in watercress, isothiocyanate has been shown to protect against esophageal, stomach and lung cancer.
Both of these foods are easy to prepare as raw salads or garnish.
Blueberries are rich in important flavonoids and phenolic compounds that are protective against many diseases because of their potent antioxidizing activities and xenobiotic detoxification capabilities.
Any healthy diet, especially one designed to support detoxification, simply must contain onions and garlic. They contain many important sulfur compounds, including organosulfides, which increase overall detoxification and protect the body from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
These are my to choices in the citrus fruit family because of the many beneficial vitamins, minerals, D-glucarate, and flavonoids they contain. Oranges also contain many important terpenoids. Combine grapefruit and orange juice into one drink to get a better taste and the full benefit of these nutritious fruits.
Spinach contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial phytochemicals such as chlorophyll and flavonoids, all of which are intrinsic to good detoxification. And it actually tastes delicious raw, very lightly sautéed, or mixed in a variety of dishes.
The apple is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial phytochemicals , all of which combine to aid all aspects of detoxification. There is definitely something to the old saying “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”
Tomatoes and tomato products contain many vitamins and minerals, fiber, beneficial flavonoids, phenolic compounds, some terpenoids and protective carotenoids, including lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which is one reason for the lower levels of cardiovascular disease and cancer in populations with tomato-based diets.
Carrots have large amounts of carotenoids as well as other important phyochemicals, including flavonoids. The carotenoids in carrots are all good antioxidants that help in disease prevention.
Whole grains are important in preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In addition to important fiber, whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and compounds such a ferulate and phytic acid.
Besides being a good source of protein and some essential fat, soybeans are a good source of isoflavones such as genistein. Eating soybeans and derivative soy products decreases the risk of heart disease and cancer and mitigates bone loss and osteoporosis because of its positive effect on the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Moreover, the protein and soluble fiber in soy support kidney filtration and regulate glucose levels. This helps to protect against kidney problems and diabetes.
These cold-water fish are great sources of protein and two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are critical for good health and detoxification.
These nuts have many health benefits, especially related to heart disease and cancer. They are particularly rich in protective essential fats. They are also important sources of fiber; vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E; as well as antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol. Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts as well as peanuts make excellent protein and fat substitutes for meat, cheese, and other high-fat foods.
These are good sources of simple phenolic chemicals, flavonoids, and terpenoids, potent antioxidants that contribute to all aspects of detoxification. Right behind ginger and rosemary are turmeric, curry, and mustard, all of which also contain important phytochemicals such as curcumins, which have clear health benefits.
Chocolate, especially dark semi-sweet chocolate, is a favorite detoxification superfood. The botanical name for cocoa is theafroma cacao, which means “food of the gods.” Cocoa beans and the resulting chocolate, especially dark chocolate, are rich in antioxidants-specifically, phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Chocolate also contains some healthy fat such as stearic acid, which is converted in the body to oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive and canola oils. Oleic acid is considered a healthy fat in terms of heart disease prevention. Now before we get carried away with the health benefits of chocolate, remember most chocolate still contains large amounts of sugar and fat, which aren’t healthy for us, so overindulging can have negative effects. In making desserts with chocolate, use semisweet dark chocolate and add less-refined sugars to the recipe. The glycemic index (a measure of the ability of a food to raise blood sugar) for this kind of chocolate is surprisingly low, which means it is very good in terms of preventing diabetes and obesity.
Coffee, like tea, contains several phenolic compounds and flavonoids that increase our ability to detoxify and therefore provide protection against most degenerative diseases. For example, recent epidemiological studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking can actually decrease the risk of colon cancer.
The same phenolic compounds and flavonoids in chocolate are also present in wine, particularly red wine. In fact, a five-ounce glass of your favorite red wine has about the same amount of phenolic acid (200 mg) as a 1 ½-ounce bar of dark chocolate. White wine also contains many of the same protective phytochemicals as red wine but in lesser amounts.
A well-stocked kitchen
This is a list of items to recommend you have in your pantry and refrigerator that contain the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients intrinsic to the process of detoxification.
Lemon peel (dehydrated)
Puffed brown rice
Fresh garlic, onions and shallots
Fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)