By Dr. Jeffrey Morrison
As we enter the fall season, there are many locally available fruits and vegetables that can be beneficial to your health and taste great. The following are nutrient rich, delicious foods that you can easily find at your local grocery store or green market and are must haves on your healthy shopping list. Try to add at least one of these foods to your dinner on a daily basis to get the full healing benefit.
Beet Root – Beets are high in the nutrient Betalin, which has been found to be beneficial for improving liver detoxification. It is also rich in the nutrient lutein, which is important for eye health. Beets are great roasted and both the beets and their greens can be eaten in a mixed green salad. Look for beets with the greens still intact. Or, prepare beet greens by sauteing with olive oil and garlic, which is fantastic for improving digestion.
Dandelion Greens – I grew up thinking that dandelions were synonymous with weeds and ugly lawns. Yet it turns out that dandelions are delicious to eat as a salad green, and they offer many health benefits. Dandelion can be bitter, but don’t let that dissuade you from enjoying it. It is very high in vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium, which are good for lowering blood pressure. They also can improve gallbladder function which can lower undesirable cholesterol levels, and work as a mild diuretic.
Broccoli Sprouts – The most nutritious version of broccoli is its baby brother, broccoli sprouts. Sprouts in general are the very earliest shoots that erupt from a seed and are generally ten times as nutritious as the full-grown plant. The nutrient sulphoraphane highly concentrated in broccoli sprouts and is responsible for improving the liver’s ability to detoxify bad estrogens from in the body, as well as other toxins found in plastics and pesticides that we get exposed to from our environment. Broccoli sprouts are a delicious addition to a mixed green salad and best served cold.
Garlic – Garlic is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is also a very good liver detoxifier, owing to its high content of sulfur. The strong sulfur odor is derived from the nutrient allicin, which is activated during chopping and crushing. To enhance the nutrient benefit of garlic, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes after crushing before eating. This allows the enzymes in the garlic to fully activate the allicin. When cooking garlic, sauté it for only 5-10 minutes: heating it for longer periods of time can inactivate its beneficial assets.
Apples – There may be some truth to the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The soluble fiber pectin is found in high concentrations in apple skin. Soluble fibers are good for removing cholesterol and ridding the body of heavy metals. Eating apples may also decrease your risk of heart disease and age-related memory changes. Whether you are cooking them or enjoying them raw, always choose organic apples because they are not sprayed with pesticides: apples are some of the most toxic fruits because of their ability to retain these harmful chemicals.