Our new book, "Clean Slate," is more than just a cookbook. It provides nutritionally sound information so you can shop for and prepare food that nourishes your body and mind. Many of the foods featured in "Clean Slate" can help you guard against disease and strengthen your immune system -- which you may be especially interested in at this time of year. Here's what you need to know:
Make Healthy Choices
More than just a means of nourishing your body and mind, food can also help guard against disease and strengthen your immune system. Certain foods can even function as medicine -- they fortify the body with antioxidants and other essential nutrients, rid it of harmful toxins, and prevent inflammation, which can trigger disease. With 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immune system located in the gut, the right foods can also provide the body with the nutrients necessary to promote a strong and healthy digestive system.
Keep in mind that many plant-based foods possess multiple benefits: Antioxidant-rich berries are also potent anti-inflammatory agents, ginger has both detoxifying and digestive properties, and so on. Most fruits and vegetables contribute vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should form the basis of your diet, but for optimum health, prioritize the foods here, keep them in ready supply, and put them in your regular meal rotation.
Naturally cleansing foods contain properties that support the liver (the primary detoxifying organ), plus ample fiber to help flush out harmful toxins. Some of the best:
Celery; cayenne pepper; watercress; citrus fruits; sea vegetables (also called seaweeds, such as nori, kelp, and kombu); alliums (onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, and chives); beets; artichokes; avocado; dandelion greens; fennel; cilantro; flaxseed; brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli in particular).
Learn more about super detoxifying foods in "Clean Slate."
Try our three-day detox.
Foods flush with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and flavonoids, which neutralize free radicals that contribute to the onset of disease. Antioxidant powerhouses are:
Dark beans (such as small red beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans); dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) and unsweetened cocoa powder; pecans; red grapes (for a powerful dose of antioxidants, choose red or purple grapes over green); apples; plums; extra-virgin olive oil; berries; winter squash; carrots; sweet potatoes; kiwi; tea and coffee (limit yourself to about three cups of green tea, two cups of black tea, or one cup of coffee per day); cloves; sweet cherries; dark, leafy greens.
Learn more about foods that are antioxidant powerhouses in "Clean Slate."
Try this delicious and easy-to-make Coconut-Cherry Smoothie.
Omega-3s, vitamin E, and other potent compounds are all inflammation fighters, reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, and soothing the aches and pains associated with arthritis. Here are the inflammation-fighting foods to know:
Walnuts; spices; herbs; papaya; cold-water fish (such as black cod, salmon, sardines, and anchovies); shiitake mushrooms; bok choy.
Learn more about inflammation-fighting foods in "Clean Slate."
Make our Wild Salmon, Asparagus, and Shiitakes in Parchment recipe.
Foods loaded with beneficial bacteria and fiber keep the digestive system running smoothly. Use these in your meals and snacks:
Almonds; asparagus; coconut and coconut oil; fermented dairy products (such as kefir and yogurt); fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, and others); flaxseed; ginger; raw honey; legumes (beans, peas, and lentils); mint; miso; turmeric; whole grains (such as brown rice, oats, and farro).
Learn more about foods that aid digestion in "Clean Slate."