Each time you sit down to eat a meal; you are making a life-and-death decision. Does that sound scary to you? This is how Steven Pratt and Kathy Mathews introduce their book “SuperFoods Rx, Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.” Published nearly 12 years ago, their premise, that eating the right foods can dramatically change the course of your life span, health and quality of life, is even more relevant today.
It’s a simple choice: the right foods or prescription drugs. The power of food, in particular the nutrition powerhouses of beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and yogurt, can actually change the course of your biochemistry and stop the incremental changes in your body that lead to diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity and Alzheimer’s.
Eating a healthy diet is more than just eating fruits and vegetables. In their book, Pratt and Mathews examine the micronutrients in fruits and vegetables, and provide a snapshot of phytonutrients, the nonvitamin, nonmineral components of foods that have significant health benefits.
Think of your body as a high performance race car, a complicated, interrelated system that is remarkably resilient. Over time, just like the frame of our “race car” that will start to rust, our bodies, at the cellular level, start to oxidize. Antioxidants in food protect the body from oxidation by neutralizing free radicals generated by the body’s metabolic systems, and by environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, pollution, and chemicals.
Research indicates that successfully combatting free radicals, and the damage they instigate, is one of the keys to long-term health. It’s not just genetics or advances in medicines that determine our health, it’s the fuel we put in our race cars, or the food that we eat.
To a life-long foodie like me, this is exciting news. Food as medicine tastes much better than drugs. To get your engines racing in the morning, try a Maine Superfood Smoothie.
Maine SuperFood Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen Maine wild blueberries
- 1 cup Maine applesauce or apple juice
- 1 cup yogurt (plain unsweetened is best)
- 1 cup kale or spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons nuts or seeds like almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts or pistachios
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your blender. Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!