It is never too late to eat better. Research shows that your diet is the most important factor for good health. As a physician, I have seen thousands of patients who have spent a lifetime eating the wrong foods. When they transform their diet, their health is remarkably transformed.
Eating healthfully isn’t deprivation. When you eat low-calorie, high-nutrient foods, you can eat abundantly. A diet with lots of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and vegetables of color, beans, nuts, seeds and some fruit -- primarily berries and pomegranates—will satisfy your tastebuds, leave your skin glowing, eliminate your cravings for unhealthy junk foods, and reduce your risk for illness. Take the time to understand food’s connection to your health. Stay away from highly addictive foods that contain sugar, salt, white flour, oil and trans fats. These ingredients pack on pounds and harm your health. Eat enough of them and you are on a path to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Those diseases develop over many years of eating a typical American diet, low in produce and high in processed foods and animal products.
Consume a diet that delivers a broad array of micronutrients with a wide spectrum of healthy whole foods. I recommend including the following powerful anti-cancer foods daily. Eating these foods will help you naturally strengthen your immune system and boost your health. Use this acronym so you never forget to eat them: G-BOMBS. These six foods – Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds - are the healthiest foods on this planet and they are an important component of a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet, what I call a Nutritarian diet . To learn more about these amazing superfoods and how to incorporate them into your daily meals, I have created a handy ebook; to receive recipes featuring these amazing foods download it at http://info.drfuhrman.com/g-bombs-the-anti-cancer-superfoods .
To help you lessen your chance of chronic illness and help you achieve sustainable weight loss, try to add these nutrient-rich, immune-boosting superfoods to your daily diet:
Raw, leafy greens are low-calorie wonders. Packed with nutrients and fiber, leafy greens like lettuces and spinach provide great nutrition while promoting meal satisfaction. Eating a large salad at the start of lunch and dinner is an effective weight loss strategy. You naturally consume fewer calories from the rest of the meal; the bigger the salad, the better. Leafy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale, contain compounds that fight cancer, protect blood vessels, promote healthy vision and are associated with reducing the risk for diabetes and breast cancer. Green vegetables are rich in calcium, folate, and carotenoids, and also contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans are powerhouses of nutrition. They are the most nutrient-dense carb source, a superior weight loss food. Eating them also helps lower your cholesterol levels and encourages a healthy gut microbiome. Not only do they digest slowly keeping blood sugar low, but the microbiome that develops from their use even prevents blood sugar elevations all day long, no matter what you are eating. Plus, eating beans, peas or lentils regularly has been found to substantially reduce your chances for colon cancer. If you have trouble digesting beans, start slowly, gradually increasing the amount of beans you eat and chew them well to aid your digestion.
While slicing an onion is no fun when it leads to watery or tearing eyes, yet those eye-irritating organosulfur compounds also slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells. Studies have shown that eating onions and other members of the Allium family like leeks, garlic, chives, shallots and scallions, also have beneficial effects for our cardiovascular and immune systems, and the ability to reduce your risk for diabetes and cancer. And garlic has several phytochemicals that have virus killing-activity against common respiratory viruses, which means it could help ward-off colds (if not vampires).
All mushrooms have powerful anti-cancer properties, and the common white button and Portobello mushrooms have anti-estrogenic properties thought to protect against breast cancer. In a Chinese study, women who ate the equivalent of just one button mushroom a day had a 64 percent decreased risk of breast cancer. Some mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, some activate our immune defenses, and some prevent DNA damage, slow cancer cell growth, cause programmed cancer cell death and inhibit tumor angiogenesis. But, be sure to cook your mushrooms before you eat them. Several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine. Cooking significantly reduces this possibly harmful substance.
Berries are among the best foods you can eat. They are low in calories (and sugar) and high in nutrients. They are a rich source of flavonoids which help to reduce blood pressure, inflammation and prevent heart disease. Berry phytochemicals also help to prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer, protect the brain against oxidative damage and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Eating berries has been linked to a reduced risk for diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline. Berries protect the brain against oxidative damage, and berry consumption is linked to improvements in both motor coordination and memory with aging.
Seeds and nuts are healthy fat sources that increase the absorption of nutrients in vegetables while contributing their own spectrum of micronutrients and health benefits. Daily nut consumption has been associated with longevity and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in many studies, and may also help to maintain brain health with age. Amazingly, seeds are even more protective against cancer. In addition to supplying plant sterols which help to lower cholesterol, flax and chia seeds are rich in lignans, offering protection against breast cancer. Sesame seeds also contain lignans and are rich in calcium and vitamin E. Also, black sesame seeds are extremely rich in antioxidants. Sunflower seeds are especially rich in protein and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron and calcium and are a good source of zinc. Walnuts and flax, chia, and hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Despite being high in calories, eating nuts and seeds regularly is associated with a smaller waist circumference and a reduced risk of obesity. I always advise eating seeds (and nuts) raw and unsalted, and to not use them as snacks, but to include them as part of your meals.