One of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever discovered was the small fishing village of Barra Grande de Maraú in Brazil. It promised wonderful white beaches and unspoilt nature, cut off from civilization and perfect waves. The adventures to get there (and back) would be exciting enough to write an entire documentary. However, being a paradise during the day, the place turned into a nightmare every night. So much that our small group of explorers left the village after only a few days.
The reason: mosquitoes. To this day, I remain fascinated by the following fact: as small and helpless each individual insect seems, the more powerful and influential they become in increasing numbers. Their power rose to such an extent that they have managed to scare off an exuberant group of young men and women in an impressive way. And here’s the kicker: nutrients in certain foods have the exact same properties.
Minerals and vitamins appear useful to most of us, but without much super powers. Yet exactly the opposite is true: hardly anyone guesses the impressive power of a nutrient army, built by an increased consumption of the following top superfoods. Again and again, these absolute best real foods have shown to scare off symptoms and diseases:
1. Vegetables and berries
Vegetables and berries contain a vast wealth of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants (guardian angel for body cells) and the right amount of carbohydrates. It’s like the mosquitoes, they seem harmless and insignificant when they come alone, but woe to the vanquished – when they attack in a pack, there is hardly anything that can withstand their combined force. Vegetables are also anti-inflammatory and therefore are the direct opponent to probably one of the nastiest root cause of our time: the hidden, systemic inflammation.
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery, asparagus, onions, leeks, carrots, beets etc.
- Berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, bilberries
As for fruit: I recommend to consume them in moderation only and always eat the whole fruit. (NEVER ever drink fruit juice, what finally takes the orange juice off the breakfast table – Boom, auf Wiedersehen). Fruits do not replace the required amount of vegetables and berries.
2. The right fats as well as nuts and seeds
Fats are one of the most important health ingredients for our body. They offer a perfect energy source, are building blocks for all (repeat after me: FOR ALL) cell membranes and important hormones, are required for the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E & K and provide an protective layer around vital organs. In short: without the right fats nothing works as it’s supposed to work within our body.
- Coconut Oil, cold-pressed olive oil, butter (preferably made from raw milk), avocado, cold pressed avocado oil, fish oil.
Raw nuts and seeds also provide a good source of energy and a wide range of nutrients. Please note that nuts should be purchased raw and with the shell intact. Use a nutcracker to crack them open shortly before eating because part of the fats contained in nuts and seeds quickly react with air and heat.
- Macadamia, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chestnuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, walnuts, freshly ground flax seeds.
Reminder: Unhealthy fats and oils, however, should be avoided like parking in front of a fire hydrant. Such examples are processed plant and seed oils (soybean oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, flax seed oil, etc.), hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats (eg margarine) and trans fats.
3. Healthy proteins
Proteins are the building blocks for the formation and repair of strong muscles, tendons, ligaments, beautiful skin and shiny hair. They are also needed for the recovery of everyday activities or sports, and without them there would be no hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the nerves) and no antibodies for the immune system. Proteins virtually guarantee a fast progress on all construction sites within your body. And anyone who has ever been involved in building a house, knows the tragedies that take place when a construction site is not progressing.
- Meat, poultry, game, fish, seafood, eggs and organ meats.
- Vegetarians may want to add legumes such as lentils and beans.
Dairy products such as yogurt, kefir or cheese (sheep and goat’s milk have priority over cow’s milk) may be considered if you are healthy and tolerate these foods.
You are what you eat eats
Also, the following rule applies for all of the above: Real food has to be nutrient-dense, grown or raised under sustainable, ethical and humane farming standards as well as free of toxins and other residues.
Wow, if you have made it this far, you earn my utmost respect for your interest and perseverance.
Thank you for reading,
A look behind the scenes:
What were the selection criteria?
In order for a food to qualify for this highest category, 4 basic rules must be met:
1. Triggering a healthy psychological reaction.
In other words: even an increased consumption should not trigger any craving for a particular food or make it difficult to resist. Test yourself with your weekly gluten-free pizza!
2. Triggering a healthy hormonal response.
Any food always triggers a hormonal response (insulin, leptin, cortisol and glucagon), which determines its use and storage. Real food leads to a healthy and balanced hormonal system.
3. Promoting a healthy digestive system
A food should always promote a healthy functioning digestive system or you will have to pay a hefty price sooner or later. Your digestion is the place where all your nutrients are absorbed. It doesn’t take a fortune teller to reveal that you are in trouble if there’s a fire burning in the digestive tract.
4. Supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory effect
A food should contribute to an effective and well-rested immune system. If an alarm gets triggered too often, the immune system starts to suffer which will make you susceptible to all kinds of substances over time. In addition and without a properly functioning immune system, a hidden inflammation can spread like wildfire.
Source of these basic rules: It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig