There is considerable evidence linking the food we eat to a variety of illnesses. It’s not just a case of what we eat, but also what we don’t eat. So, in honor of #ShoppingCartDay here is a list of four must haves to add in your grocery shopping cart!
1. Shiitake & Button Mushrooms — A great source of vitamin D
Mushrooms are the only plant-based food that can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, in a manner similar to how your skin makes vitamin D. Place your mushrooms by a kitchen window for an afternoon prior to using them to get the best bang for your buck.
Research suggests that vitamin D intake can facilitate the absorption of essential trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium. Healthy levels of trace minerals are required for all metabolic processes. There is literally no physiologic process, at the cellular or systemic level, that can operate at its best (or even operate efficiently) without trace minerals.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in teens and adults, so focusing on natural food-based options to help enrich your levels is a great (and easy) way to help ensure you are getting enough!
2. Bison — a complete protein, never exposed to antibiotics or growth hormone
What is a complete protein you ask? The difference between ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ proteins is that complete proteins contain all essential amino acids your body requires daily, and incomplete proteins only contain some essential amino acids. Your body digests proteins you eat into amino acids, the building blocks needed to repair tissues in your body, provide energy, and perform all body functions. Because bison is a free-range animal and isn’t grain fed like commercially raised cattle the meat is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Bison, by law, can’t be treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and feed on grass pastures. The incredibly lean meat is an excellent source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. With a mild flavor and so many nutrients it’s a must try!
3. Parsnips — assist your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms
Parsnips are a root vegetable, which look a lot like white carrots. They contain nutrients and molecules known to support your body’s natural defenses against toxins. More and more we are seeing studies that show exposure to toxins has serious health consequences. The more you are able to assist your body in breaking down and removing toxins form your body the better, and of course natural means of assisting is the best!
Parnips, along with other apiaceous vegetables (veggies in the parsley family) are strong supporters of the first stage of detoxification- the inactivation of dangerous molecules that occurs in the liver. Looking for more options in addition to parsnips? Grab carrots, celery, parsley, and fennel!
4. Jerusalem Artichokes — Support a healthy gut
With a taste halfway between the nutty flavor of an artichoke heart and the savory flavor of a potato, the Jerusalem artichoke is a superhero for promoting gut health. Rich in what we refer to as ‘prebiotics’, this food (you are likely to find in the produce section of your grocery store) has a powerful ability to help foster growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics are fiber molecules that are digested directly by friendly bacteria residing in our small and large intestines. The digestion of prebiotics by those friendly bacteria produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that are a major fuel source for the cells that line our GI tract, that promote good immune function and have anti-inflammatory effects. With all the research suggesting an interrelationship between our gut and brain function, immunity, skin, and disease it’s so important to use all natural means available to you- and you might be surprised just how tasty Jerusalem artichokes are!