Well, we finally made it. Wow.
The final part of this little 4 part series that I’ve put together to help you (and me!) embrace all of those wonderful nutrient-dense foods that are in abundance all around us and that help us heal.
For those of us living an AIP lifestyle, these are the foods that we can still (and should) enjoy daily for their ability to build and improve our health.
These are my top 4 highly nutritious food groups that you can add into your life, starting today.
So today’s topic is all about those little extras that we can add to our daily meals that can make such a positive difference in our wellness journey’s.
herbs, spices + fermented foods
These simple ingredients should not be overlooked!
Most of us already have a number of herbs and spices in our kitchen, but perhaps only use sporadically – not knowing about the health benefits they actually offer.
However, one of the main problems I hear about and often see from others (and use to do myself) is leave herbs and spices sitting around for years in my pantry, not to mention how long they been sitting on the grocery store shelves for, thus no longer having any nutritional value left.
The answer = grow your own, where possible. Or, purchase high quality organic ones AND USE THEM.
All herbs and spices originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots and have wonderful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Many also are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals.
Did you know that most herbs and spices contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables?
Rosemary | An everyday herb which is incredibly anti-carcinogenic. It has a high concentration of anti-oxidants and has shown to be effective in improving dermatitis, enhancing memory, protecting the liver and improve healthy digestion when eaten
Oregano | A wonderfully anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic herb which can help curb infections, calm colitis and support the liver. Not to mention help deal with any pesky parasites
Thyme | A member of the mint family containing potent anti-oxidants - so wonderful for calming digestive issues
Basil | Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which are great in helping with digestive issues
Mint | Used to calm digestive troubles and alleviate nausea, helping to support a healthy digestive tract, which in turn, supports gut healing
Fennel | Very helpful in calming indigestion, along with relief of constipation and flatulence
Arrowroot | A starchy herb which is soothing and highly digestible – great for the treatment for conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Ginger | Rich in phytonutrients, and a wonderful addition for healthy digestion and gut healing with its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properies
Did you know that wars were fought over spices?
Did you know that back in 2600 BCE, spices were being used as medicine?
Turmeric | An anti-inflammatory spice which aids inflammation and soothes the digestive tract. Often used to settle the stomach as its astringency works to maintain the balance of stomach acid
Cinnamon | Has the highest anti-oxidant value of any spice and can help balance blood sugar levels (imbalanced blood sugar levels can further harm our gut). It can also help to reduce inflammation and alleviate nausea
Saffron | The world’s most expensive spice used to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, insomnia, and PMS
Dill | High in anti-bacterial properties and wonderful for settling tummies
Cumin* | High in anti-microbial properties used to reduce flatulence. Cumin works to stimulate your digestion, and serves as a natural laxative to prevent constipation
Coriander Seed* |Containing powerful gut health benefits and wonderful for those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
*Denotes spices not suitable for those following AIP.
Why fermented foods?
Did you know that nearly every traditional culture includes some form of fermented food in their cuisine?
Lacto-fermentation refers to the process of preserving foods using salt (and sometimes whey) to encourage the foods natural “good” bacteria to flourish. Basically, helping to bring out the probiotics in food. This beneficial “good” bacteria, when ingested, is what helps keep our gut healthy.
Fermented foods help to heal the gut lining by providing our body’s with collagen, amino acids and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and silicon, helping to support and heal our digestive and immune systems.
Fermented foods include:
Kefir | A thick fermented yoghurt-like drink, helping to lower your risk of digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome and IBS, as well as help improve inflammation in the body related to autoimmune diseases
Organic goat’s milk yogurt* | Helping increase good bacteria to support nutrient absorption in the gut. Great for supporting healthy digestion, lowering the risk of diabetes and reducing high blood pressure
Kimchi | Promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines – vital for digestive wellness
Kombucha** | A fermented tea helping soothe the painful symptoms of bloating, whilst breaking down nutrients to be easily digestible and absorbed
Sauerkraut and fermented veggies | Linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function
*Denotes spices not suitable for those following AIP.
**NOTE** dealing with Candida? Best to avoid kombucha, due to its wild strains of yeast which can make the Candida overgrowth worse, as described in more detail by Donna Gates of www.bodyecology.com
I hope you enjoyed my 4 part series on Healing Foods, gaining a little knowledge and hopefully a lot of inspiration. Happy cooking + eating my friends!