Happy New Year! My family and I recently celebrated Chinese New Year at a Chinese restaurant. It was the first time I tried the Peking duck served with crepes. Of course I had to order my daughter’s favourite chow fun noodles. We also included garlic Chinese broccoli for some healthy greens in our dinner for eating defensively. Have you ever heard of defensive eating? There are certain foods known to protect your body from other foods that may be negatively affecting your health. Please let me explain by these examples below.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels
The best nutritional way to maintain a balanced blood sugar level is by getting enough fiber in your diet. Preferably raw vegetables if your digestion agrees, however anything high in fiber will do like flax seeds, legumes or steel cut oats. Fiber cannot be fully digested slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Drinking fruit juice is a sure way to raise sugar levels in your blood since all the fiber from the fruit has been removed. Even eating whole fruits alone can spike your blood glucose. Try adding chia seeds to balance your blood sugar. These seeds are high in fiber and taste great with fruits or smoothies.
Substances found in cruciferous vegetables such as indole-3-carbinols, sulforaphanes and other phytocompounds are known to help regulate genes and remove wastes from the body. Foods full of cancer-causing chemicals should be consumed along with these veggies. An example of this is when eating barbeque, any cooked food with black char on it is carcinogenic. Protect yourself by eating coleslaw with your ribs or adding sauerkraut on your hotdog. Cabbage in these foods contain many cancer fighting components. Other examples of cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
Combat free radicals
Whether it’s oxidation from fried foods, tobacco smoke, lack of sleep or any other stressor, antioxidants found in foods are great for fighting against free radicals that cause damage to the body. From having a youthful appearance, keeping the mind sharp or strengthening the immune system, there are so many benefits from having a regular intake of antioxidants. Eat foods with vibrant colours to obtain their health advantages. Snacking on a handful of blackberries full of vitamin C with brazil nuts having a high selenium content is a delicious way to counterbalance the free radicals that came with your fried eggs at breakfast.
Turmeric is one of the best foods known to calm inflammation showing up in different ways. Managing pain, skin flare ups or maintaining healthy arteries are all reasons to eat turmeric. Adding black pepper increases the uptake of its active component curcumin exponentially. Whether consuming turmeric in the root or spice form, try it in curries, teas or hiding it in your meals like I do. I like sprinkling the spice in my eggs, potatoes and bone broth soups. Help offset the inflammatory effects of sugary, fatty and nightshade foods by incorporating turmeric in your diet.
We eat to give our body essential nutrients to grow, repair and function in life not just to satisfy our hunger. When giving into our cravings that may not be so beneficial to our health, it’s best to practice eating defensively. This way you can still enjoy various cuisines while giving your body the tools it needs to cope with any of their unwanted effects. This new year make small steps to adding these defensive foods into your diet. Your body will thank you years later!
Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™