The Wizard’s Power Foods
The countryside is only one place from which to purchase food. Many shops, especially in cities have a wide variety of food that is fresh and often organic (grown without chemicals)! Some foods are imported but are so powerful that using them almost offsets the guilt associated with them being flown over here. When physically shopping for fresh food, develop a ‘health sense’ and try to avoid industrially farmed food that may be tainted with pesticides or be lacking in nutrition.
For making ‘simples’, we have all sorts of plant based ingredients. Just some of the most powerful ones in terms of health are listed below with their most important attributes for humans.
Shakes and juicing are an increasingly popular form of ingesting food. Like soups, this form of eating helps to make food more readily digestible whilst retaining all of the beneficial compounds, vitamins and minerals, many in a raw state. Experiments such as the Gerson Therapy, a treatment for cancer, show that raw fruits and vegetables have an awesome ability to heal. One increasingly important tool for the green kitchen is a good juice extractor for making raw fruit and vegetable juice concoctions and smoothies.
There are many fruits and vegetables available for juicing and when they are supplemented with some of the spices and herbs mentioned earlier in this book, juicing provides an important element in health management. Adding paprika, ginger and chili to juices is an exhilarating experience that may raise your metabolic rate for a few hours.
Some sources suggest not mixing vegetables and fruits in the same juice extracts for digestive purposes, but with avocados, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and the like the dividing line between the two hardly exists. There are some great books available on juicing and many recipes are available for free online.
Experiment with whatever suits your taste and your body’s needs but remember some new fruits and vegetables may trigger allergic reactions, so please check your tolerance before experimenting with foodstuffs that you have not used before.
A fairly recent import to the UK, these berries come (frozen) from South America and provide a powerhouse of beneficial compounds and chemicals for our bodies. Açai has been called ‘the number one anti-aging food’ and are said to be twice as potent as blueberries, with double the amount of anthocyanins. In the Amazon the local Indians call the palms on which the Açai grow ‘The Tree of Life’.
Açai berries contain essential fatty acids in a balance seemingly made for the human body. Supernutrients called phytosterols even help to lower ‘bad cholesterols’. With both Vitamin C and E, the berries protect skin from the effects of aging. The oleic fatty acid they supply helps to keep the body supple and flexible. The chocolately undertones of the berries work well in a banana smoothie but some people dollop them onto muesli or bananas.
This Brazilian import has stacks of Vitamin C and contains more than 150 active nutrients and super-nutrients. It has made its way into a variety of supplements, but try it in a fresh, lemony-flavoured juice extract if you can, it will knock your socks off!
Antioxidant ‘quercetin’, vitamin C, pectin and antibacterial as mentioned earlier in ‘An Apple a Day‘.
Beta-carotene, iron, fibre, potassium
Artichokes lightly steamed first
Folate and potassium, can regulate cholesterol and tone liver
Anthocyanins (antioxidant) Avocado, Vitamin E, potassium, vitamin B6, C, manganese, riboflavin, sterols, glutathione
Vitamin E and alphacarotene, good source of monounsaturated fat and omega-6
Potassium, soothing on stomach, natural sugar source. Evidence is emerging that fully-ripe bananas with dark patches on yellow skin produce a substance called ‘Tumour Necrosis Factor’ (TNF) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells in the body when eaten.
Beans and Lentils
Balanced proteins and complex carbohydrates, sterols and soluble fibre, B-vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron
Vitamin C, folate, potassium and other minerals, immune support, natural sugar. A great ingredient for fantastically coloured smoothies and juice extracts
Vitamin C, fibre, folate, bioflavonoids, anthocyanin
Vitamin C, glucosinolates, beta carotene, folate, iron, potassium
Vitamin C, K, E, potassium, beta-carotene, fibre, folate, thiamine
Alphacarotene, Betacarotene, fibre, natural sugar
Vitamin C, sulphurous compounds
Potassium, anti-inflammatory, sedative
Vitamin C, thiamine, folate, pectin
Specific for bladder, kidney, urinary tract, antibacterial
Highly useful protein that contains all the amino acids the body needs to digest it. Contains nutrients that prevent fat deposits and helps concentration and memory.
Antioxidant allicin, antiviral and antibacterial, toxin eliminator
Also known as wolfberries, these Chinese imports are said to be one of the most nutritionally rich fruits available. They have, weight for weight, 500 times more vitamin C than oranges, as well as more betacarotene than carrots. They are also rich in iron, giving 11mg per 100, five times more than in the same serving of steak!
In China, Tibet and Mongolia, where the fruit is grown on vines they are eaten whole or made into juice. Most usual in UK as dried fruit, rich in B vitamins for healthy nerves and the supernutrient beta-sitosterol which helps lowers cholesterol. These powerful berries also contain polysaccharides that fortify the immune system
Vitamin C, pectin (soluble fibre)
Potassium, antioxidants (black grapes), light, appetising food (white)
Can protect against both cancer and heart disease. Useful to protect against arthritis and bone loss, including tooth decay
Hemp seed is thought to be one of the most nutritionally complete food sources in the world, yet it is illegal to grow it in the US and can only be grown under license in the UK. It is a high-protein seed containing 20 amino acids, including all nine of the amino acids the human body can’t produce. It has a perfect balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 Linolenic Acids and is the richest source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Traditionally, hemp was used for making paper, clothes, ropes and oil for lamps. More modern use finds it to be a carbon-free way of making building blocks. The use of hemp for food and medicine may be as old as the human race itself. It can be used to make hemp milk, even varieties of tofu and cheese. It can be sprouted (although in theory this is illegal) and the oil is reputed to be able to cure some cancers.
Chest, phlegm remedy, decongestant, antibacterial, mild sedative, nutrient rich. Try and find local, unprocessed honey or even Manuka if your budget stretches to this
Antioxidant Vitamin C.
Potassium, folate, diuretic
Betacarotene and vitamin C, Vitamin E, fibre and potassium
Rich in silica for hair and nails
A great source of slow-release energy that help to lower bad cholesterols and high blood pressure
Onions and garlic
Natural ‘cure-all’, regulates blood cholesterol levels, prevents blood clotting, decongestant, sulphur compounds
Brazil nuts contain essential mineral selenium which helps protect against cancer. Almonds are protein-rich and help build collagen levels. Walnuts are useful for the heart
Omega 3 essential fatty acids which are essential for brain and body health
Protects the heart, supports the liver and helps reduce cholesterol
Vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, iron, easily digestible
Peppers (red are sweetest)
Vitamin C, beta carotene, bioflavonoids
Vitamin C, digesting enzyme (bromelain), anti-inflammatory
Omega-3 and omega-6, zinc, curbicin, iron, magnesium
Quality proteins with calcium, iron, B and E vitamins
Rhubarb, soya beans and yams
Contain plant oestrogens which help with hormone functions
Vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, calcium, iron, potassium
Minerals including calcium to help bones, blood pressure, heart and menopausal symptoms (NB you can dry seaweed to brittle, break it down and use it in a pepper mill to replace salt)
Vitamin C, easily digestible protein, B complex vitamins, saponins
Vitamin C, liver tonic, digestive cleaner, antioxidant ellagic acid
Vitamin C, E, carotenoids, potassium, lycopene
Chlorophyll for healthy blood cells and improved circulation
Good for calcium and friendly probiotics. Try sheep or goats milk yogurt for an interesting change!