The father of medicine, Hippocrates, is quoted as say, “let food be thy medicine; and medicine be thy food.”
That little quote is at the foundation of so much of what I talk about on the radio show, at my clinic, at my events, in the blogs and videos—as well as informing me how I live as a person.
Very quickly, though, as something of a disclaimer I must say: As a healthcare provider, my focus has ALWAYS been on getting to the source of a patient’s health problem, addressing that at the root, and watching the symptoms go away on their own. I strongly object to the way of thinking—held both in traditional medicine and in alternative medicine—that we should use anything to treat symptoms while allowing the root causes to continue. That includes pharmaceuticals as well as herbal remedies, or food remedies, or anything that simply makes you “feel better” while you go on being sick. What I’m saying is, if you are reading this and something strikes you, only to go on being sick while superficially feeling better, you are doing yourself a disservice. Get well; don’t rely on shortcuts.
That being said, if you are addressing root causes, there’s no harm in feeling better at the same time. Furthermore, some foods actually help you address root causes. Those types of foods will be the primary focus of this article.
The most useful superfoods for healing will be ones that serve one (or more) of three main purposes. 1) to reduce inflammation 2) to heal the cell and 3) to fight infection. These are the three primary root causes of disease in our society.
Foods to Fight Inflammation
To truly put a stop to inflammation, you need to seal your leaky gut. That brings us to our first superfood: bone broth!
Simply boil or slow cook grass fed cow bones until a broth forms. This seals the gaps between your small intestinal cells that form from ingesting toxins, preventing the leaking of said toxins into the bloodstream where they go on to cause system-wide inflammation. Bone broth also give you a fantastic source of collagen, which is good for bone strength, skin elasticity and a youthful look! This also helps to clear up skin issues like eczema, psoriasis and acne!
While you’re fixing your leaky gut, you can reduce inflammation by using foods that are high in antioxidants and flavonoids. That includes: tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, (such as swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, kale, and collards), nuts (like almonds and walnuts), fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines), fruits such as (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges)
Beets are great for inflammation because they contain high levels of magnesium, the deficiency of which is associated with inflammation. Inflammation is essentially an improper immune response. One compound highly effective in regulating immune response is bromelain—which can be found in pineapples.
Coconut oil is great for osteoporosis in particular, as well as inflammation of the skin. It’s high in antioxidants as well, which helps overall inflammation. Turmeric is possibly the most powerful anti-inflammatory in the world. This is due to the compound curcumin, which has been tested and found to be more effective than most over-the-counter and prescription drugs in managing rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, particularly helpful in reducing inflammation in allergies and asthma.
The root cause of so much disease in our society—from diabetes to thyroid conditions to cancer—is at the cellular level. Toxins we introduce into our body such as sugar, medications, pesticides, food additives—as well as environmental toxins like mold and pollution—ultimately damage us on a cellular level. This damage is most acute at the cell membrane and the membrane of the mitochondria.
Foods that help restore these membranes help restore the cell—both by repairing receptors that enable the cell to communicate with the rest of the body—and by enabling the cell to generate energy—and by enabling the cell to take in nutrients while expelling waste.
The cellular membrane is composed of, in simple terms, fat. So to repair the cell, you need to eat fat. Fats have all sorts of other benefits as well, including better brain function (because the brain is composed of fat as well), better hormonal function, stronger immunity, better eye health and more.
The best place for good fats are: avocados, coconut oil, flax seeds, fatty fish (wild caught), lean proteins (grass fed, free range), eggs, nuts, olives, olive oil, grass fed butter, raw cheese, etc.
Healing the cell and reducing inflammation will either protect you from, or help you recover from the vast majority of chronic diseases. These types of diseases are now the most prevalent types of diseases in society, and include: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, etc.
Infections of all stripes
We now turn to infectious diseases—these are the types of diseases the medical community would generally treat with antibiotics and vaccines, and to some degree-antivirals.
We are starting to see the blowback from these treatment options. Antibiotics are not only toxic and destroy the human microbiome—which leads to a series of health problems too long to mention—they are becoming increasingly ineffective. Antivirals are largely ineffective, and vaccines come with extremely high levels of toxicity, most notably mercury.
Sweet potatoes have been shown to increase the rate and effectiveness of antibody production in the body. Mushrooms stimulate the production of white blood cells—the warriors of your immune system. Garlic has been shown to literally kill yeast, fungus and worms. It’s a great remedy for a yeast infection or parasite infection. Coconut oil is a powerful anti-bacterial due to a compound present in it called lauric acid. Ginger is a powerful anti-bacterial, particularly for infections in the mouth and throat. A great remedy for strep throat ( as well as gargling with sea salt water). Lemons kill pathogens. Horseradish is particularly effective against lung infections and UTI. Honey, when ingested, actually releases hydrogen peroxide in the body, which is very effective in killing pathogens. It has to be raw and unprocessed though, or it won’t work. Bromelain, found in pineapples, was mentioned earlier as an anti-inflammatory. It is also anti-bacterial. Turmeric, also mentioned as an anti-inflammatory, is great for killing bacteria. It’s great for staff infections, among other things.
Foods for more common ailments
There is no way a single article could cover all of the afflictions that plague humanity and the foods that treat them. But here are a few remedies you might find useful.
Oysters are great for treating depression. Much of this is due to the fact that they are so high in energy-related nutrients like iron, zinc and Vitamin B6. Depression is also often related to a deficiency in folate, which can be found in lentils.
If you have been wounded somehow, it’s great to eat tomatoes, broccoli, black beans and chocolate. Consuming tomatoes (because of the lycopene) has been shown to reduce the risk of wound infection. Broccoli has been shown to help with wound healing and tissue regeneration. Black beans are high in protein, which is needed in healing. Chocolate helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels, which are required to deliver nutrients and oxygen to a wound.
If you are suffering from digestive issues, anything from gas to diarrhea to nausea, your best bet is a lot of fermented foods—things like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, lassi, etc. They replenish and balance the gut microbiota—the healthy bacteria in your gut. This is crucial for digestion. And it’s also crucial to immunity and mental health, so get that taken care of at the same time.
If you have pain—be it headaches or fibromyalgia—rather than taking toxic over-the-counter painkillers, or worse, prescription painkillers, try these foods instead:
- Cherries for arthritis and muscle pain, nausea
- Ginger for headaches, migraines, muscle soreness, arthritis
- Cranberry juice for ulcers
- Fatty fish for aches in the back and joints
- Turmeric for achy joints and colitis
- Yogurt or mint for IBS
- Coffee, mint, for headaches
- Edamame, hot peppers for arthritis
If you’re not convinced yet of the power of food, you’re looney tunes, I must say. There’s something in here for everyone. Ooh, crazy idea! Construct a weekly meal plan incorporating all these foods. There’s a money-maker for you–on the house.