Eat Well – Therapeutic Foods

Currently in the UK, the Food Standards Agency, the Government and NHS guidelines indicate the healthiest way to eat to avoid obesity is to use the “eat well plate”

This is essentially a simple way to ensure that you eat the “right” amount from each food group.

It recommends plenty of fruit and vegetables plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choosing wholegrain varieties when possible, some milk and dairy foods some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein. A small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar are allowed.

However, although following the above guidelines may ensure that the correct amount of macronutrients are consumed each day, it does little to account for micronutrients, and omits to mention any therapeutic foods whatsoever.

Therapeutic foods are those with high nutrient values and specific health benefits

Currants, raspberries and blackberries are genito-urinary tonics.

Apples and quinces tone up the liver, stomach and bowels. Apricot kernels, on the other hand, open up the lungs in coughing and lung congestion.  Pears moisten and protect the lungs against the dry autumn weather.  Cherries are beneficial in arthritis and rheumatism.

Oranges and orange juices are good at relieving fevers.  Lemons have a sour astringency that stimulates the bile and gastric juices, and aids in the expectoration of phlegm

The fruit and juice of the pomegranate stimulates and moves a sluggish stomach and bowels, whereas the rind can be decocted into a tea which is good for diarrhoea, haemorrhoids and intestinal parasites.

Beetroots are a tonic and detoxifier of the liver and the blood.  Celery root and Parsley root are adaptogens that enhance overall vitality and energy levels and resistance to stress, and are also tonics for the kidneys and the genitourinary system, particularly in the male.  For women, parsnips are great tonics and regulators of the female menstrual cycle.

Pumpkin and squash, especially butternut and acorn squash, help to regulate and lower blood sugar levels in those with diabetes.  Pumpkin seeds are good for the prostate, and are also a vermifuge.

Artichoke and bitter greens like dandelion and endive promoting bile flow and cleanse the liver.  Perhaps the most famous vegetables to cleanse the urinary tract in urinary infections is asparagus

Spicy vegetables(herbs) stimulate the circulation, immunity and digestion, and can play a valuable therapeutic role in the daily diet.  Fresh ginger root stimulates and harmonizes the stomach and digestion when eaten, is boiled as a tea as first aid for colds, increases the resistance of the organism to colds and flu when cooked into one’s food, and purifies the lymphatic system as a tea.   Onions also stimulate the immune system to throw off colds and flu and expel phlegm from the body, as does horseradish.  Garlic not only stimulates the immune system against infection, but also normalizes blood pressure and circulation, and kills off pathogenic bacteria in the intestines, thinning the blood and lowering cholesterol.

Radishes are a spicy vegetable that stimulate the stomach and digestion, eliminate excess phlegm, and stimulates the flow of bile.

Beans can be a problematic food group, as many of them are hard to digest. The easier ones to digest are mung beans, adzuki beans, lentils and black beans.  Nevertheless, many beans do have valuable therapeutic properties.

Drinking the water after boiling mung beans or adzuki beans, cause a mild diuretic effect, and this cleanses and heals the genitourinary tract.  Black beans strengthen the kidneys, and adzuki beans can be therapeutic in diabetes.

To enhance digestibility, beans can be cooked with certain spices; Cumin, Wormseed. Caraway and Tarragon.

Echinacea boosts the immune system and can offer resistance to colds and influenza.

Ginkgo preserves the function of the brain and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

St. John’s Wort works as an antidepressant and has fewer side effects that prescribed anti depressants.

Milk thistle benefits the liver and helps the body eliminate toxins staving off liver disease caused by alcohol.

Calming chamomile can remedy an upset stomach and aid sleep and can also improve the skin if taken topically.

Thyme improves the immune system, promotes perspiration and eases sore throats and coughs. It has mild antiseptic properties.

Sage herb calms the nerves, improves digestion and eases lung congestion and coughs.

Rosemary improves circulation, stimulates the liver into eliminating toxins from the body, eases joint and headache pain and relieves cold symptoms.

Mint and peppermint ease stomach and digestive problems, relax the mind and can ease headaches.

Oats have a high mucilage content, which is very soothing to the stomach and intestines; oats also have the reputation of being a restorative for the nerves and beautifying to the skin.

Buckwheat is the most heating grain, and is the best to eat in winter.  Millet is light and easy to digest, yet very high in protein

To get the maximum amount of goodness from milk which is naturally very cold and phlegm forming, heat it up with the following spices; Cinnamon, Cardamom, Allspice, Ginger Cloves, and Black Pepper.

To neutralize the toxins from red meat and aid in its digestion, cook or eat with hot, pungent spices and condiments like Cloves, Black Pepper, Garlic, Mustard Onions or Horseradish.

To aid digestion, fish can be sprinkled with lemon juice; capers or horseradish are also good.

The benefits of eating essential micronutrients are endless, and all can be purchased from your local supermarket.

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About Nadia Tejani

Nadia Tejani lives in Surrey and works as a Personal Trainer specialising in weight management and obesity. She is also a Sports Massage Therapist and fitness model. Nadia runs marathons and does Olympic weightlifting and she has been competing nationally in Natural Figure (Bodybuilding) competitions since 2008. Nadia has a degree in Pharmacology and is qualified in Nutrition. She sticks to a strict clean vegetarian diet and practise what she preaches! Nadia has 3 dogs, a tiny horse and 2 pygmy goats.
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