In my office we talk about diet with every single patient that comes in. We advise them on many aspects of diet. Some people wish to lose weight. Other wish to control chronic pain. Still yet others just want to know how to be as healthy as they can be. Despite the differences in what people desire out of their diet plans, there are always common themes between them.
There are foods that I advise people eat on a regular basis because they are inherently good for human physiology. These foods pack a big bang for their buck in terms of nutrition. They are “nutrient dense” as we say. Below I have compiled a list of my top 5 food recommendations that I think everyone should consume regularly. Enjoy!
Ahhh, the persecuted egg. For many physicians the egg is the enemy. You will hear, “You can’t eat eggs, they’re too high in cholesterol!” True, eggs contain cholesterol but cholesterol is not your enemy. Modern medicine, taking its cues from the pharmaceutical industry, would have you believe that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. I am here to tell you that it is not. Inflammation is the cause of heart disease. Your body uses this cholesterol in an attempt to quell the inflammation. This inflammation is caused by eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, not high cholesterol. Not a single large scale study has shown that by reducing cholesterol you reduce mortality rates. None. So the egg is actually a very healthy food. It provides a great protein punch, has great vitamins like B12 and vitamin D and best of all it is easy to prepare. So enjoy your eggs, they are a great option for breakfast or hard boiled as a snack.
Avocado truly is a super food. It is loaded with vitamins and healthy fats. These healthy fats are used for many things in the body including cellular repair and energy. Avocado is also a great way to maintain the health of your skin and your hair because if its great fatty acid profile. It’s rich in B vitamins, contains vitamins E and K and has much more potassium than a banana. It’s also loaded with fiber which is important for maintaining a healthy colon. Like I said, super food. Eat it raw with some salt and pepper, grind it up to make guacamole, put it in a salad or as a garnish to your hamburger (with no bun of course). There are a million ways to eat this wonderful food.
This is another misunderstood food. Coconuts are sometimes touted as unhealthy because of their fatty acid profile. There is research that these unfavorable views go all the way back to World War II when all of the tropical oils were seen as bad because they came out of the Pacific and were a major export of Japan. Today they are gaining popularity but some medical professionals point to the fact that coconuts are high in saturated fat as a negative. Again, they are correct but it really is only a half truth. Most of the saturated fat from a coconut is in the form of something called a medium chain triglyceride. These MCTs have great benefit. They are used for energy in the body and have been shown to increase weight loss. Coconuts are also anti-fungal. If you suspect you have a fungal or yeast overgrowth, coconut consumption might help. Coconuts are sometimes hard to find, but the oil is a cinch. Use the oil to cook with and you can gain all the benefits of consuming actual coconut. Many companies sell the oil and some even remove the flavor if that does not appeal to you.
While many nuts are good for you, almonds are great. They contain a good source of carbohydrate and protein and a great source of healthy fat. They are rich in vitamins such as E and they also have good amounts of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and fiber. They are a great heart healthy snack and even have been shown to aid in weight loss. Eat them raw, roasted or chopped up on your favorite salad. They’re great any way you can get them.
Fish is another food that has great benefit. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are potently anti-inflammatory and reduce the risk of a host of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The importance of omega-3s in the diet cannot be overstated. I like to shoot for 4,000-6,000 mg per day. To do this you will likely have to supplement with a capsule or oil, but getting it in your diet as well is a must. There are some things to look for when you buy fish. Always buy wild fish. Farmed fish are fed grain to fatten them up quickly and this changes their fatty acid composition negatively. Consume smaller fish. The larger fish have a higher potential to have levels of mercury that are unsafe.