The information on this site is not a substitute
for the advice of your own health care provider
Everyone should strive to maintain a healthy diet. Not eating right is the cause of many health problems people suffer from. Many of us think we are eating healthy without realizing that food we ate from a box or package is loaded with sugar and other additives that contribute to bad health.
The foods in the picture below are in most American diets. They are promoted as healthy, but in reality are mostly full of calories and very few nutrients our bodies need to live well.
The foundation of good health and natural health remedies starts with putting wholesome food in your body on a daily basis and keeping out of it the junk food that actually destroys your body.
The main goal of a healthy diet should not be to lose weight (there are ways to eat to lose weight that are not so healthy.) The goal should be to feed your body all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs for good health. If you focus on this, the weight loss will come naturally, and with eating more food than than you could on a junk food diet and still lose weight.
Get your greens
Of all vegetables to start eating on a healthy diet plan , the "Greens" are an important first choice. Green leafy vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available providing good amounts of vitamins A, K, folate and omega3 fatty acids.. There is a reason you hear about "Green energy drinks" in relation to plant based healthy juice drinks and not red, yellow or any other color.
Do a Google image search for "Red energy drink" and all that will come up is pictures of Red Bull and a few other brands of caffeine-loaded synthetic drinks, but no natural fruit juices.
Also do a Google image search for "Yellow energy drink" and what comes up is mostly pictures of Monster or Rock Star caffeine beverages, no natural juice drink.
Next type in "Green energy drink" for an image search and what comes up with lots of pictures of the synthetic green colored energy drinks, is a lot of pictures of tall glasses of fresh made juice that are leaf-green color from the spinach, kale lettuce and other healthy salad greens used for the juice.
That green color is the chlorophyll from the plants leaves. Chlorophyll is the substance plants use to make sunlight into food energy. It is identical to hemoglobin in the blood except that hemoglobin has iron at it's center while chlorophyll has magnesium at it's core. It is said to have the capacity to increase the blood supply in the body, thereby giving more needed oxygen to all the cells in the body and increasing ones energy level.
If you want a healthy way to have more energy, start eating some of these green foods that have a high chlorophyll content as well as the greatest nutritional value among fruits and vegetables.
Spinach has by far the highest content of nutrients among the green vegetable sources with on average about a quarter of the daily recommended calcium and a third of the daily recommended iron intake per 1 cup cooked serving.
Kale, another good choice for greens with just under one tenth of the RDI of both calcium and iron. Kale may be a better source of calcium because it has a lower amount of oxalic acid, which hinders calcium absorption in the body. It also is said to have a lot more chlorophyll than spinach.
Getting the most nutrients out of greens
Some nutrition enthusiasts claim all your greens and vegetables should be eaten raw, however studies show some nutrients are better absorbed when the cell walls are broken down through some cooking, especially carotenoids and lycopene.
But other nutrients like vitamin C, some B vitamins and folate are lost as is chlorophyll in water when boiling. Steaming has shown to be the best way to cook with the least nutrients lost.
Chlorophyll in green vegetables takes on a
molecular change when heated as well. The magnesium atom in the center
is replaced by a hydrogen atom. This is an important consideration when
choosing how to consume your greens because chlorophyll (the life blood
of the plant) is a large part of what makes green vegetables a great
part of a healthy diet and the molecular change may adversely affect the
health benefits chlorophyll has for your body.
To get the most nutrients from leafy greens, everyone should include some cooked, but probably more raw green leafy vegetables in their meals. The darker green they are, the more nutrients they have. Salads with spinach, collard greens, and dandelion greens should be a regular part of any healthy diet.
It is important to make sure you chew the raw
vegetables in your salad well to receive the most nutrients from the
plants. If you don't break the cell walls by chewing, your body won't
fully digest the nutrients from the greens because not all the nutrients
will have been released.
Chewing your food completely is
often hard to do especially when you are in a hurry. This is why many
health food enthusiasts say the best way to get the most vitamins and
minerals from your green vegetables in to Juice them. The juicing does
the work for you, releasing all the nutrients and delivering them
directly into your bloodstream once you drink the juice.
Get some orange colored plants in your healthy diet.
The orange and even yellow color in fruits and vegetables are filled with beta carotene, the element our bodies use to make vitamin A. Dark green vegetables have a lot of it too, but their chlorophyll content masks the orange color. Good vegetables in this category include sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, red and yellow peppers but the one orange vegetable I choose to eat every day is carrots.
I consume carrots by putting them in my Juicer with my greens. They add a significant amount of biotin that the greens don't have, about 20% RDI compared to 1% or less RDI in greens. A study showed drinking carrot juice extract actually killed or hindered leukemia cell growth. Other studies show plenty of carrots in your diet protect against lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.
It is true if you consume too many carrots the beta carotene will turn your skin orange. However, I have been drinking the juice of 1/2 of a carrot daily for the last decade as well as eat soups two or three times a week with another 1/4-1/2 a carrot in each bowl and I don't have orange skin.
Of the orange fruits, cantaloupe is the one I choose to eat daily, putting about a cup of it in my smoothie with my juiced vegetables. It adds nearly 100% RDI of vitamin C which is important to help with calcium absorption from the greens. It also gives roughly 10% RDI of potassium and 5% of daily fiber needs as well as almost 100% of daily vitamin A requirement.
A healthy diet also includes red fruits and vegetables
One of my favorites which is technically a fruit but is used like a vegetable is the tomato. I will buy a container of the grape tomatoes and snack on them daily.
Tomatoes are a very good source of biotin with about 25% of the RDI per cup. The same amount also gives over 30% of vitamin C requirements. It has a high amount of Molybdenum, a nutrient important for metabolizing fats and carbohydrates.
Another great nutrient unique to tomato and a few other fruits and vegetables is lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant which helps fight free radicals in the body, preventing many diseases including cancer and alzheimers. Studies have shown it helps in bone formation and it can protect the skin from sun damage. one cup of tomatoes has over 4500 mcgs of lycopene. Watermelon, another red fruit has over 6000 mcgs of lycopene per cup.
Strawberries are another regular red fruit in my healthy diet. One cup has 28% of the RDI of manganese and 9% for iodine both important for the thyroid gland and manganese is important for bone formation and growth. The same amount gives over 100% of the daily vitamin C requirement plus over 10% of your daily fiber needs. From spring through fall I eat a lot of fresh strawberries. The rest of the year I put a handful of frozen strawberries in my daily smoothie.
Include citrus fruits for a healthy diet
Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit contain some of the highest amounts of vitamin C. Just 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice has a third of the daily recommended amount as well as 2-3% RDI of vitamins B6, folate and pantothenic acid. Including a slice of these in your homemade juice will boost the Vitamin C content which helps absorption of minerals like calcium and iron from the greens.
All fruits have some citric acid, Citrus fruits just have the highest amounts. Citric acid has many health benefits. Even
though it is an acid, it has an alkalizing effect on the body. This is
important since most all health problems are made worse when your system
is too acidic. Citric acid can prevent kidney stones. It also helps
mineral absorption in the body. It kills the germs that causes sore
throats as well. Lemon and limes have the highest concentration of
citric acid Lemons have about 4.5 g and limes have about 4.3 g.
If you want to look like this from behind, eat grapefruit before each meal. A study headed by Dr. Ken Fujioka from Scripps clinic in SanDiego, 2006 showed significant weight loss in subjects who ate grapefruit or drank grapefruit juice before their meals three times a day after 12 weeks.
Apples and pears have a very low amount of citric acid, apples have .1 g and a pear has a little more at .2 g of citric acid they are excellent fruits to include in a healthy diet.
I eat an apple or a pear every day. They both have a good amount of fiber. An apple has about 4.5 g, a pear has a little more with about 5.5 g of fiber. That is between 17 and 20% of daily fiber needs. They both contain about 10% RDI of vitamin C They also both have a reasonable amount of B vitamins, apples having slightly more. They make a filling, low-sugar snack and are packed with phytonutrients for good health.
Get some allium vegetables in your diet every day
What are allium vegetables? They include the bulbs like onion, garlic and leeks. They have so many healthy benefits that many nutrition experts say a healthy diet should include an onion a day and 1-2 cloves of garlic three times a day. Studies show the sulfur and other compounds in them increase bone density, lowering risk of hip fractures, prevent unwanted blood clotting and lower cholesterol levels.
These vegetables also help keep blood sugar levels low, they keep inflammation down, help prevent cancer and have many antibacterial properties especially when eaten fresh and raw.
The strong odor they leave on our breath keeps many people from eating them but they are excellent natural remedies for many health problems and should be a regular part of our daily meals.
Some of the nutrients responsible for these health benefits include allicin and quercetin.
6 cloves of garlic will also give you 13% of B6, 7% vitamin C and 5% selenium RDI.A cup of onion yields 8% vitamin B1, 16% B6, 27% biotin and 8% folate RDI. These bulbs are important for a good, healthy diet.
Good sources of protein in a healthy dietTraditionally health experts have said to stay away from high fat sources of protein like red meat and nuts. Studies like one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 found insufficient evidence to link saturated fat to heart attack and stroke. Other earlier studies found the same thing.
What is shown to be bad for your health are ARTIFICIAL trans-fats, liquid oils that have been pumped with hydrogen to make them hard. This causes the fat molecules to have an unnatural shape the body has a hard time digesting.
Natural trans-fats are found in beef, especially grass fed beef and other cud chewing animals, but studies show these natural trans-fats actually reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
For this reason it's not as important as once thought to limit your intake of meat, even red meat for a healthy diet.
Nuts are a healthy way to get some of the protein you need in your healthy diet but they can't give you the vitamin B12. Only animal sources have this vitamin.
I think what this study shows is, it's not as important for your health weather you eat all meat or no meat, but that you avoid processed, man-made food.
Three of the most popular meats in the American diet are beef, chicken and salmon. They are all good sources of Vitamin B12, a vitamin only found in animal products.
Of theses three, Salmon comes way ahead at 236% RDI in a 4 oz. serving, beef comes in second at 60% while chicken has just 16%.
For iron content beef has the most with 11% RDI per serving. Chicken, and salmon have almost the same iron content with chicken at 7% and salmon at 6%.
Beef and salmon are both good sources of omeg3 fatty acids, Beef has 46% RDI while salmon has 55%. What makes salmon an even better choice for omega 3s is that it has a much lower omega 6 content than omega 3. A low ratio (1-4) of omega 6s to omega 3 fatty acids is ideal for a healthy diet. Chicken has just 3% RDI of omega 3s.
Nuts and seeds are also a great way to get a good amount of protein in a healthy diet. Nuts have about 9-15 % RDI per 1/4 cup.
The nutritionist I went to said he snacked
on peanuts regularly throughout the day. They can hardly be beat
for their biotin content at 88% RDI per 1/4 cup it also gives 22% RDI
of folate and 13% pantothenic acid. This beats walnuts at less
than half that for the same nutrients, although it's hard to beat
walnuts as a source of omega3 fatty acid at 113% RDI. Peanuts have no detectable amount of Omega3s while walnuts are one of the highest nut sources of omega3 fatty acids.
Sunflower seeds are Another good, nutrient dense protein source with 82% RDI of vitamin E per 1/4 cup while walnuts only have 1%. Sunflower seeds also top walnuts in B vitamin content except for biotin.
I keep all these around my house to snack on. Cashews
are a good healthy nut as well, but the advantage of peanuts and
sunflower seeds is their cost. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are less than
$3.00 a pound, while cashews and walnuts are $6-8.00 a pound.
The roll of grains in a healthy diet
Many healthy diet experts insist grains should be avoided completely, such as the Paleo diet advocates. They point to three elements in grains that can cause health problems.
If you find you do have a bad reaction when you eat breads, cereals and other grain foods, by all means avoid them. A lot of the problem with grains today is the modern way they are cross-bred and prepared. modern types of wheat have more gluten than wheat did centuries ago.
Avoid white bread and refined grains. Though the have less phytic acid and lectins than whole grain bread, they have far fewer nutrients.
If whole grain breads are prepared right it can eliminate or deactivate most of these anit-nutrient compounds allowing them to be a good part of a healthy diet. There are several ways to do this.
The bottom line for grains in a healthy diet is, they are not necessary to sustain good health. You can get the same nutrients in grains from other food sources. Fruits and vegetables also contain carbohydrates although grains have more amino acids. If you choose to keep grains in your diet, prepare and eat them in the right way to get the most nutrients from them.
Eating dairy on a healthy diet
There are many debates on the positive or negative health effects of milk and dairy products when consumed regularly. Although there is much concern about the fat content in milk and dairy products,studies show the fats in dairy products don't have the same negative effects, man made trans fats have, in fact they have many health benefits
Those who are lactose intolerant can still eat certain dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and hard cheeses because the bacteria in these foods break down the lactose so your digestive system doesn't have to.
If you can, buy all grass-fed cows milk. It will yield more nutrients than grain fed dairy will.
There are many nutritional benefits in dairy products. One cup of milk or yogurt will give you just under 20% RDI of complete protein that you don't get from fruits or vegetables, and it's usually easier to digest than meat. Cheese yields 14% RDI of protein per ounce.
Another nutrient dairy has that you don't get from plants is vitamin B12. 46% RDI in a cup of milk and 38% in a cup of yogurt, 10% in an ounce of cheese. Milk and yogurt also have about 30% RDI of Vitamin B2 and about 15% of biotin. Cheese has much lower amounts under 10% of these per serving
Most people know dairy is a good source of calcium at about 30% RDI in a cup of milk and yogurt, 20% in an ounce of cheese, but they are also a great source of iodine which is important for the thyroid gland 38% RDI in a cup of milk and 47% in a cup of yogurt, cheese is at 7% an ounce. They are also good sources of phosphorus, about 30% RDI for milk and yogurt and 20% for a serving of cheese.
Dairy also is a decent source of omega3 fatty acids 6% RDI for a cup of milk 3% for a cup of yogurt but an ounce of cheese has 9% RDI for omeg3s.
Kefir as a healthy diet dairy source
You may or may not heard of kefir, it's quite new to America. Kefir originated in the caucasus mountains on the border of Georgia and Russia. Russian physicians would give it to their patients to heal various illnesses.
It is a fermented beverage that contains roughly 5 trillion friendly bacteria per serving compared to yogurt with about 1.5 trillion bacteria per serving. It's full of many of the same nutrients as yogurt and milk but with even more healing properties. It helps boost the immune system to fight off many diseases.
If you are looking for a natural remedy to solve some health issue, start by looking at what you eat on a daily basis. What you put in your body directly affects every organ and system in it either negatively or positively. Healthy eating IS the foundation for good health and healthy natural remedies for what ails us.
Here are some general rules to follow when choosing what NOT to eat for a healthy diet:
Don't consume food out of a can unless that is your only choice for food
Not only is the food from a can not fresh, the aluminum from the can and the plastic liner inside it can leach poisons into the food.
Because it isn't fresh it will naturally have a lower nutrient value from all the processing.
Additives to preserve the food can cause harmful effects on your body.
is a high chance the manufacturer used lower quality ingredients
because consumers won't notice lower quality from a can as easily as
they would from fresh, unprocessed foods.
Don't buy prepared food from a box except to have for an emergency
Just like canned food, the processed food in boxes is loaded with salt and other additives to preserve it.
When you prepare it at home with your own fresh ingredients, it won't look as fresh or taste as fresh as real fresh food.
The food will likely lack many essential nutrients and fiber that fresh food in a healthy diet has.
If the ingredient list on a package has more than a few ingredients, it is likely an unhealthy, processed food with too many additives.
It may take a little more work and cost a little more to buy fresh produce to eat and cook with but the more you buy fresh, unprocessed food the less you will spend on the canned, boxed and other junk food for two reasons.
First you should be replacing the processed stuff with fresh, unprocessed goods. Second, the more you eat the whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains the less your body will desire the unnatural alternatives.
Stop using refined sugar for a sweetener or buying goods with added sugar or sugar substitutes.
The view of every credible nutrition expert I have listened to or read about insists that in order to regain and maintain good health through your diet, you MUST give up consuming refined sugar. This includes table sugar, honey, molasses and other processed sweeteners like agave nectar.
You are probably thinking "How will I ever be able to overcome my addiction to sugar?!" I thought the same thing when I knew I needed to change to a healthy diet. so I went to a nutritionist on a regular basis for about four months to learn HOW to get off sugar.
It was easier than I expected. He gave me long lists of good, healthy food to start eating instead of the junk. Some of that included brown rice and fresh fruit, especially berries since their sugar content is quite low. Whenever I would feel a sugar craving coming on I would grab a piece of fruit or berries or a bowl of brown rice. The rice would take a little longer to satisfy the craving but my body learned to adjust.
It wasn't long before my natural reaction was to go for the healthy stuff. Now when I see or hear people talk about those rich and sweet deserts, my stomach turns and I have no desire for them. It has been almost four years since I have quit eating refined sugar with rare exception, and that will only be a pea size drop of organic honey in coffee or tea to take the bitterness away or in some breads when I eat out (That is difficult to avoid!)
Avoid eating foods with a lot of added salt
You have probably heard all the health problems too much salt in your body can cause. whole foods have their own salt in them naturally. A healthy diet will limit the amount of table salt you add to food.top of page
My diet used to look a lot like this picture above until I reached my mid-thirties. I could feel I needed a change in my eating to healthier foods. That change started when I got my first Juiceman juicer. My recipe I first used then for juicing, which hasn't changed much in fifteen years, included spinach. I remember the juiceman on TV explaining how much energy spinach juice gives you from the chlorophyll (every dark-green plant is filled with it.) It's a lot of what makes the dark-green vegetables super-foods that should be a part of every healthy diet. I remember feeling that boost of energy with my first drink of that live juice. It also included juiced carrots and an apple.
The image of the glass of juice to the right is what that juiceman juice has evolved in for me today. It includes the fresh juice mixed into a smoothie with fruit and other healthy nutrients which I will list here and explain why I choose each ingredient for my healthy diet.
The first ingredient I already mentioned I use is spinach. It is packed with a large amount of vitamins and minerals like vitamin k (almost 1000% RDI), A (105% RDI) , many B vitamins, and C, manganese, magnesium as well as protein. Spinach has the highest over all nutrient density of other greens. A healthy diet should not be without it. I use it for it's high amount of iron (36% RDI) and calcium (24% RDI) but an even better benefit to me is the energy boost the chlorophyll in spinach gives me. Spinach is a plant that has one of the highest amounts of chlorophyll at almost 24 mg per raw cup.
Parsley: Another super-food I use in my juice has almost as much chlorophyll as spinach with 19mg per 1/2 raw cup It is also very high in vitamins K (over 500%RDI) and C
Romaine lettuce:It has almost the same vitamins and minerals as spinach but in much lower quantities. You can see the nice large leaves in the picture below. Green leaf lettuce is another good choice with a lot of vitamins and minerals and more protein than Romaine. Avoid juicing with iceberg since it has very few vitamins and minerals.
Carrots: I have always used at least two large carrots in my live juice. They are the most popular vegetable for those who love juicing. They have just slightly more vitamin A than spinach at 113% RDI. There are two other benefits I love about using carrots in my juice. They are sweet and contain about 3 grams of sucrose sugar, but are still low on the glycemic index. Their sweetness takes the bitter taste of the greens away. the second thing I really like about juicing carrots is when smaller pieces of fruit get stuck in the juicer, using a carrot more often than not pushes them through.
Granny Smith green apple: Apples are a great addition to a healthy diet. I cut one of these up and put it in my juice. Once in a while I might use a braeburn apple, but only if I'm out of Granny Smith. With the sweetness of the carrot, any apple other than Granny Smith makes my juice too sweet for me. It's also rich in vitamins A and C as well as pectin fiber and can help constipation.
Slice of lemon:
Lemon gives a nice tangy flavor to fresh juice but it also is full of
vitamin C, flavinoids and other antioxidants that protects against
cancer, arthritis and other harmful diseases. It can also help keep your
juice fresher if you don't drink it right away.
Pineapple rind: Fresh pineapple is a tasty and nutritious fruit for any healthy diet. I will cut off the flesh and set it aside for my smoothie, but I will cut the skin into small pieces and put it through my juicer. The skin of fruits have lots, sometimes more nutrients than the flesh, so it is with the pineapple. Beside having over 100% RDI of viamin C and other nutients like manganese, vitamins B1 and B6, it has a substance called bromelain. The skin if full of bromelain which helps the digestive system break down protien, fight bad bacteria and reduce inflamation.
Cantaloupe rind: I do the same thing with the flesh of the cantaloup as i do the pineapple. I cut 1-2 cups of the flesh off and use the rind to juice. My grandmother who lived to be 94 years old told me her doctor said cantaloupe is one of the most nutritious fruits to have in a healthy diet. This is the main reason I make sure to include it in my juice and smoothie. A serving is one cup and has 78% RDI of vitamin C, 30% RDI of vitamin A 12% RDI of potassium and between 5-10% RDI of several B vitamins.
These are my regular ingredients in my daily juice that is included in my morning smoothie. There are two other ingredients I occasionally include. One is fresh cranberries.
Since fresh cranberries are only available from the end of October through December or January this is the only time of year I include them. When I first see fresh containers of cranberries on shelves in mid fall I grab one which lasts me a month or more for juicing, going through two or three containers each year. Cranberries give about 18% RDI of vitamin C, Manganese and fiber per serving and almost 10% RDI of vitamin E. Beside this they have a high amount of polyphenols called proanthocyanidins which have been shown in studies to reduce the amount of bad bacteria like E coli in the urinary tract as well as other bad bacteria in the digestive tract, thus helping maintain a healthy digestive system.Cucumber:
This is another vegetable I buy to juice once in a great while. The main reason I don't use them often is they seem to spoil quicker than I can use them in my juice. Cucumber is a hydrator because it's 95% water (probably why it spoils fast) Cucumbers supply 19% RDI of vitamin K per cup, 12% RDI of Molybdenum and much smaller amounts of other nutrients like several B vitamins and trace minerals. It is shown to be good for joints, reduce swelling, aid digestion, can help maintain blood pressure and weight.
So now you see how I make my juice. Read further see how I make my smoothie with my juice.
I pour half of the juice into a plastic container and freeze it to use two days later. The other half I immediately put into my Vita-mix blender with several other ingredients.
Of course drinking the juice alone is very healthy, sending all those nutrients directly to your cells with no solid food to digest, but I want to get some fiber in my drink so You can see below the ingredients that go into my blender.
On the left are frozen strawberries and blueberries from the store and the berries in front are some hand picked blackberries a friend gave me because he picked so many he couldn't eat them all. I told him I could put them to good use in my daily fruit/veggie shake. On the right is half a banana and the chunks of pineapple and cantaloupe I cut up.
Only half of the package of unflavored gelatin goes into my smoothie. The other half goes in next time. Gelatin is great for sore joints making it a good part of a healthy diet. It is collagen from animals that helps cushion the joints. I find very few nutrition experts that list gelatin as a remedy for arthritis. My lower back was always sore after my second child, until I started putting gelatin in my diet. It almost completely relieves the pain.
You can see the Kefir and yogurt in the back of the picture on the right. You might be wondering what Kifer is. It is a fermented beverage like yogurt but a little tangier.I put both these ingredients in my smoothie because they are pro-biotics, giving your gut the good bacteria that we tend to lose as we get older. Yogurt is good but kifer gives you many more and different pro-biotics than yogurt does. I also use plain yogurt with no added sugar. The fruit in the smoothie makes it sweet enough.
In front is flaxseed on the left and quinoa (Keen-wa) on the right. flaxseed is a great super-food as it provides healthy, unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids which helps lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. I like it for its soluble fiber content one serving contains 183% RDI of fiber which can relieve constipation.. Soluble fiber attracts water, so putting it in a smoothie is ideal. it's an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Quinoa is something my mom introduced me to. You get the most nutrients from it by boiling it in water then letting it simmer for about 12 minute. I cook about a cup of quinoa and it will last me a little less than a week. It isn't as high in fiber as flax seed but has 21% RDI in one serving. It also has 8 grams of protein 16 % RDI, 15% RDI of iron and 13% RDI of carbohydrate.
I mix all the ingredients above to create a enough smoothie for two days. This nutrient-dense drink and ones like it can be the start of healing your body with natural remedies because the foundation of a healthy body is first providing it with essential nutrients it needs.