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The Healing Power of Foods

by Edward Bauman, Ph.D.

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All foods, in their essential, unadulterated form provide nutrients and co-factors that support growth and healing. Food is diminished in value when it is grown on poor soil that has been chemically treated with synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. When it is highly processed for extended shelf life, nutrients are lost, preservatives, additives and stabilizers are added. These inorganic compounds are metabolic disrupters of vital nervous, endocrine and immune functions. A plant-based Eating for Health food plan provides the balance of nutrients for protection against environmental pollutants, and the neutralization of antigens and micro-organisms that compromise our health.

Let's investigate some healing foods:
Flax Seed contains 27 anti-cancer compounds including fiber, pectin, vitamin E, magnesium and sitosterol )NCI, 1996). Flax is an excellent source of lignans, which, when converted in the gut to phytosterols, deactivate potent estrogens and testosterones that contribute to cancer growth (Aldercreutz, 1993). Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, flax has a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect. Can be taken as a crushed seed or oil (1-2 Tbs./day of either).

Soy Foods such as tempeh, tofu, miso, shoyu and soy mild contain high levels of valuable phytonutrients important in detoxification, viral defense against HIV and EBV, adapting to puberty and menopause and preventing breast, colon and prostate cancer. The genistein and isoflavones are greatly enhanced by fermentation. (1-2 servings/day suggested.)

Garlic and Onions belong to the allium genus, and are renown anti-biotic and anti-fungals, chemical detoxifiers, useful in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and depression by normalizing serotonin levels (Rutgers U. Medical Foods Conference, 1994). Rich in anti-oxidants selenium, quercetin and glutathione, allium foods protect against and can be used to treat cancer, heart disease, strokes and hypertension. (Recommended 1-4 cloves/day or 300 mg. extract t.i.d.)

Dulse, Nori, Kombu and Agar are sea vegetables which are mainstays of Oriental and Island cultures, where people consume 1/4 oz per day. Protective against electro-magnetic radiation, chemical and metal toxicity, these mild, wild foods provide diverse and balanced trace minerals lacking in mainland soil. Teas (1981) reports a protective value of seaweeds against breast cancer. Subtle addition to soups, grains and salads. (1-4 Tbs./day suggested.)

Cruciferous Vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and brussel sprouts. They are available year round, and best eaten in their tender young stage. Very nutrient dense, in anti-oxidants, carotenes, vitamins C and E, selenium, they protect against free radical damage. The phytochemical indole alters pathways to deconjugate excess estrogen and testosterone, while sulphorophane stimulates liver phase 2 conjugating enzymes to clear carcinogenic metabolites. (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1995) 1-2 servings /day suggested.

Citrus Fruits cool and refresh the body, while cleansing the blood, lymph, liver and kidneys. Each part of the fruit is valuable: the skin has powerful aromatic oils which exhibit anti-microbial activity; the pulp is rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, tissue stabilizing bioflavonoids; the juice provides vitamin C, electrolytes and trace minerals. (1-2 pieces/day suggested.)

Non-Glutinous Grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, rice and amaranth are nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrates with a balance of B vitamins and magnesium to support optimal digestion and balance blood sugar. The over consumption of wheat, rye and oats contribute to digestive weakness, immune activation and chronic inflammatory disorders. (1-2 servings /day suggested.)

Edward Bauman, Ph.D., is a well respected nutrition educator and consultant at Partners in Health in Cotati, California, specializing in allergy, immune disorders and cancer recovery. Ed is also the Director and instructor at the IET Nutrition Consultant Training Program, with 5 Bay Area locations and new Culinary Arts Institute. For more information call (800) 987-7530 or visit the IET web site.


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