We’re not going to get into The Great Juice Dispute or the Modern Day Detox Debate. Most of us are sick of the quibbling and this piece is about the opposite of being sick.
Yes, $11 seems expensive for a bottle of cold-pressed kale, and no, a week of juicing won’t grow you a new liver and offset six years of lunch beers. But obviously there are certain vitamins, minerals and compounds that help support and strengthen all the widgets and doohickeys we’ve got pumping away in these crazy contraptions we call a body – and what better time than spring to start stuffing them in?
The more raw the better, but drink ‘em, bake ‘em, crush ‘em, steam ‘em, snort ‘em, whatever – just don’t put ’em in the deep fryer. Here are 12 things slightly outside the more common choruses that research says you might want to munch more of. Especially before summer rolls around and you get onto the fair-weather feasts of midnight snacks and mid-day mimosas…
Yup, I went a little weird on the first one, but trust me and go with it. Dandelion is just as good for your body as it is annoying for an irritable gardener. It’s rich in Vitamin C, fibre (good for the colon), calcium, and even protein (it beats spinach in that department). It also promotes healthy kidney activity and some studies suggest it may contribute to the fight against weight gain.
Now that 4/20 has blown by, you may want to give this herb a little more attention than the odd garnishing gig. Parsley is best known for its vitamin K content, which can help with blood flow and transporting calcium through the blood. That can mean good things for those achy bones of yours.
Rhymes and life just ain’t the same without ‘em (R.I.P. Phife Dawg). These rosy balls of goodness are great for the immune system; they’re a solid source of manganese, which assists the thyroid gland, and are rich in anti-oxidants as well as fibre that can help the liver work its detoxification magic. And as you may be aware, sprinkle them with a little goat cheese and you get the added health benefits of an orgasm.
Yes, it usually smells like someone kinda f***ed up an old beer, but there are now enough brands in the game that tolerable flavours aren’t hard to come by. The big benefit of this fermented wonder is that it greases the wheels of digestion and gut health, which, you know, is pretty important in the whole “absorbing nutrients from the stuff you eat” game.
Next time you’re out for sushi, LOAD UP ON THE GING. Aside from being a healthier nausea cure than four handfuls of Gravol, it is also known to work wonders for digestion, stimulate blood circulation, contribute to more balanced blood-sugar levels, and with steady intake, help avoid pains from inflammation.
Water + Ice + Lemon = Gold. The list is long for this one, but some of the biggies are its alkalizing effects (balancing acidity) and its dosage of potassium, which is not only good for blood pressure management, but avoiding kidney stones as well. You do NOT want to pee out a kidney stone.
Ok, this isn’t much of a newsflash, but I feel like carrots have become so overplayed that we actually forget why we should ingest them. The alpha carotene and bioflavonoids in carrots have been associated with lowering cancer risk (particularly lung cancer), and a U.S. Government study found that people who ate a cup of carrots each day for three weeks decreased the amount of cholesterol in their blood. And yes, Vitamin A does contribute to maintaining healthy peepers.
It’s not that you should eat a lot of rice, but when there’s the option to go brown, take it down (now get your mind out of the gutter). Not only is there a good deal of fibre (we’ve talked about the bonus there), but brown rice is also a good source of selenium, which according to some epidemiological studies can play a part in lowering the risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal, and gastric cancers. And much like our pal ginger, it goes great with sushi (more and more places are offering this option).
Again with the Japanese stuff! Hey, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll (best pun ever? probably). The main differentiator with seaweed is the presence of iodine. This nutrient provides good help in maintaining a healthy thyroid – malfunctions of which can lead to all kinds of wackiness from fatigue to weight issues and depression. If you’re into crackers or you’re a rice cake eater, try substituting those paper towel pucks with sheets of Nori.
Lentils are great for fibre but they’re also really solid on the iron. Iron deficiency affects between 20-25% of the world’s population, yet it is a very important mineral for energy levels and for transporting oxygen through your blood. Don’t go too gentle on the lentils; they’re great for you and they’re one of the only tolerable kinds of soup.
Ya, ya, they were the world’s poster child for “super foods” for a while and now they don’t get as much hype. But don’t let any of that sway you; these things have more antioxidants in them than any other commonly eaten berry, promote good blood flow, and they’re good for your skin. It has also finally found popularity in its sexiest form: The Acai Bowl. If you haven’t had one, you haven’t lived. Period.
Obviously I had to throw you one beach ball. But don’t get all crazy and start planning your diets around Halloween candy. For this to matter, you want to aim for the stuff that has at least 70% cocoa. At that stage, small doses can help avoid artery clogging, reduce the risk of stroke, and maybe even help you get better at remembering people’s names. Have fun going to the dark side.