Food is medicine. Some of it is good medicine, and some bad. Yet every single meal you eat is contributing to or taking away from your health and longevity. The question is: do you eat to live, or live to eat? Most people select food on the basis of what makes them feel good in the short term by giving immediate taste satisfaction, without contemplating the idea that today’s feast can be tomorrow’s downfall.
As you become increasingly aware of the power of food in relation to health, the process of eating becomes two things: an act of pleasure and a boost to your health. Many of the healthiest’s foods taste great. That’s why the best chef’s go to great lengths to buy fresh, organic produce. It tastes better and it is not laden with health reducing chemicals.
There are some many food factors that will help promote your health and all of these foods allow us to define a diet for modern living. A way of eating that will go a long way to eradicating the diseases from which we now suffer and die, and maximise our chances for a long and healthy life.
Here are some general guidelines for an optimal diet that will boost your health and increase your longevity:
1. Eat Raw foods or lightly cooked
All cooking destroys nutrients, but slow cooking, steaming or simple short cooking methods minimise nutrient losses. (However for some very fibrous vegetables, such as leeks, cooking helps break down cell membranes which can actually make more nutrients available)
2. Add colour to your diet
Natural colours in foods are due to phytochemicals. Tomatoes and watermelons get their colour from the antioxidant lycopene. Carotenoids such as betacarotene make carrots, apricots, melons, and mangoes orange. Mustard and turmeric are yellow thanks to curcumin, a natural anti-inflamatory agent. Green food is rich in chlorophyll and magnesium. The purple colour in blueberries, blackberries, red grapes and cherries is a rich source of the important anti-oxidants anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins.
3. Choose natural organic whole foods
Select foods as close to their natural form as possible – organic if you can. On average it is 25% more expensive but it often contains less water and more solid matter including nutrients and is much better for you. Also Chemicals such as pesticides, antibiotics and hormones are used in plant and animal farming to boost production and ensure adequate food supply. However, residues can be harmful to humans if taken in large amounts. so choose organic whenever you can.
4. Bake, Boil, steam or steam-fry, instead of oil frying.
Frying food in oil or butter at high temperatures not only destroys essential nutrients, especially the fat-soluble antioxidants vitamin A and E, but also creates oxidants which have the power to damage body cells.
Watch out next for my top ten daily tips for an optimal diet.