Top 10 Fave Foods!
If I had to choose my #1 food if stranded on an island it would have to be coconut! I know this sounds strange, but it would be plentiful and have wonderful benefits, even though most folks think of coconut as a bad saturated fat. It turns out this saturated fat is good for you!
I’ve always equated the coconut with “vacations” as most coconuts grow in tropical zones. One of the biggest benefits of coconut “oil” is that one could be on a permanent vacation from digestion or cardiovascular disease, which runs in my family as coconut assists in preventing such problems.
Since coconut has a hard shell it is one of the few fruits that do not have a toxicity issue. Even more impressive is that the “fat” is very important in our diet as it is used as an energy source. It cushions and protects organs and makes certain vitamins like A & D are available to us. Coconut is a medium chain triglyceride which may have positive effects on our immune system according to the “Physicians Desk Reference” (pg 109) . In addition, if I was stranded on an island and coconut was my #1 food choice I’d add more options that would compliment my “fat” consumption (protein and carbs) but would be glad to also know it assists in our metabolic function, and at this stage of my life, another nice benefit!
I do not eat meat, so the next best food for me would be beans as they are high in protein and low in fat and calories. They also are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals and there are many to choose from: garbanzo, pinto, red, white and lentil, which all can be served in a variety of ways and have been shown to have great “anti cancer” properties. In addition, they are high in fiber, which most of us don’t consume enough of on a daily basis (40grams).
Beans are an excellent blood sugar regulator, so if one eats too many “refined” carbohydrates it would be smart to compensate with a serving or more of beans. One specific bean is a favorite of mine as they don’t have to be soaked overnight and for those concerned about high cholesterol, lentils are a great supplement to your daily diet.
If you grew up in the 60’s and kiwis and pomegranates were not the rage as yet you probably were told by your parents that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It was one fruit you could rely on to be in your lunchbox, like and be good for you at the same time. Apples still are touted to be a good source of vitamin C and fiber and even can lower a man’s risk of heart disease by 32% . Even the skin of an apple is good for you it has been shown via a Cornell study that the phytochemicals in the skin may inhibit the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43%. Apples have the 2nd highest level of antioxidant (#1 is cranberry) and this is important to assist in keeping healthy cells and immune system. Apples also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and regulate blood sugar.
The only negative about apples is that you must by organic ones as the skin of regular apples may be highly contaminated with pesticides and since the skin is so nourishing you don’t want to miss out.
So, we now have fat, protein and fiber, but we still need carbohydrates on our list of the top 10 foods.
I would say that one of the best ways to start your day is with a bowl of oatmeal. Oats can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This certain type of fiber (betaglucan) can even boost the body’s ability to kill cancer cells as well.
If you are a type 2 diabetic, oatmeal is a great source of food with a very low glycemic load and can stabilize blood sugar. Oatmeal even has a property that is anti inflammatory and has heart healthy properties.
Even though fiber is the main thought that comes to mind when you think of oatmeal it has the highest protein content of any popular cereal and contains phosphorous, potassium, selenium, manganese and a couple of mgs of iron. However, do make sure to use the either “raw” or steel cut organic oats and not the packaged quick oats as they do not provide the nutrients we discussed, just more sugar.
If you are like me, I find I can get hunger pangs at 3PM after I’ve sat at my desk for a few hours. So instead of grabbing a granola bar or another carbohydrate filled snack I grab a hand full of nuts or (nut) butter, whether they be pecans (heart healthy), pistachio’s(good immune booster), macadamia (assist with cholesterol and promote prostate health) or walnuts (high in omega 3’s).
However, my favorite nuts are peanuts as they are high in antioxidants and even rival some fruits for their antioxidant level (right up there with strawberries). Peanuts contain a high concentrate of p-coumaric acid and have great anti cancer potential. Interestingly, if you eat peanuts in your diet significant amounts of magnesium, folate, fiber, copper, vitamin E were found to be better stored.
In a study at Penn State it showed that peanut consumption reduced triglyceride levels by 13% and with a high niacin level peanuts assist keeping the digestive system, skin and nerves healthy.
Since I do not eat meat and beans can only satisfy my taste buds part way I find salmon to be a great alternative when it comes to protein and fat consumption.
Salmon (wild caught) is chock full of omega 3 fatty acids and are helpful for heart and brain health as well as for inflammation, circulation, memory, thought and blood sugar control…WOW!
Wild salmon is the least mercury contaminated species, so be sure to choose WILD (not farm fed as this kind of salmon my have a PCB content.) However, it is best to limit your salmon content to no more than 2 meals (12oz) a week when concerned about mercury.
Onions may smell poorly, make you cry and give you bad breadth, but they truly add flavor to dishes that otherwise would have little taste! The best part is that onions are a cancer fighting food. Just ask a Vidalia Georgia resident and they will confirm that they have a 50% less stomach cancer rate than the national mortality rate! Onions can also assist in helping build strong bones and have been found to reduce mortality rate from coronary heart disease by 20%. In addition, onions contain antioxidants and anti inflammatory, antibiotic and anti viral. They contain quercetin that can benefit chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease and have anti allergen properties as well.. The good news also is that onions are very low on the list contaminated with pesticides.
If I had a choice of one beverage it would be pomegranate juice. It’s become very popular, but most of us are too lazy to peel and eat one. Pomegranates have been shown to help slow aging and protect against heart disease and cancer. It contains the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other juices and contains flavanoids that are more concentrated than grapes. The pomegranate has also been shown to inhibit the oxidation of LDL and to be a natural Viagra…Drink up Men!
Spices add tremendous flavor to dishes and can be healthful as well. Cinnamon has been found to moderate blood sugar and can increase glucose metabolism in the cells. It also contains anthocyanins which improve capillary function. It is good for the digestive system and aids people who may have gas. Each day they are learning more about the benefits of cinnamon…Stay tuned. Add some to your coffee and oatmeal in the morning and start the day out with a kick!
Last but not least is my favorite sweet that would compliment my #1choice (coconut)…DARK Chocolate! (and my numbers 3, 5, and 9 choices) Cocoa is loaded with flavanoids which can prevent fatlike substances in the bloodstream from clogging the arteries. It also contains magnesium, great for heart health and can modulate nitric oxide which is important for healthy blood flow and blood pressure. But do make sure the kind of chocolate that you eat has at least 60% cocoa.
So, what are your “Top Fave Foods” if you were stranded on a desert island? To learn more about heart healthy nutrition options: www.ReviveNutritionForLife.com