As nutrition is an important pillar of health, the Functional Medicine Doctors in our Gilbert, AZ location wanted to share their Naturopathic Doctors Guide to grocery shopping. The father of medicine, Hippocrates famously quoted, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” His quote highlights the notion that proper diet and nutrition can be the solution to disease and the foundation of optimal health.
The human body is constantly undergoing cellular building, repair, break-down and elimination through consistent cellular metabolism. The energy needed to fuel the body’s normal function and cellular processes of the body is maintained through daily ingestion of foods and the body’s fat and sugar reserves (1). The body can only assimilate and process elements that are natural, without genetic modification, additives or toxic metabolites. Toxic metabolites from pesticides, heavy metals and other environmental toxicity, are foreign and unrecognizable to the body, and will be stored in the body; this leads to other health problems due to excess accumulation. Thus, the quality of food and nutrition must be of the utmost importance.
Shopping Guidelines for Groceries
Over the years, our Naturopathic Doctors in our Gilbert, AZ location have developed simple but effective guidelines for assessing and selecting food and nutrition.
- Buy organic food whenever possible
- Limit processed foods, but if you must:
- Read all food labels, choose items with food ingredients that are pronounceable and recognizable. Good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce it or have no idea what the ingredient is, it is likely synthetic and/or unhealthy.
- Stay away from foods with added sugar. Added sugar can be masked by different names, click here for a complete list.
- The first ingredient listed on the food label is the ingredient with the highest weight in the product. Many unhealthy foods such as sauces, condiments or other boxed foods have sugar as their second ingredient item!
- Avoid genetically modified (GMO) foods, choose foods with Non-GMO label, here is a list of common GMO foods to avoid.
- Choose “whole food” options; foods from animal or plant sources with minimal processing.
- Buy organic, grass-fed meats, and pasture-raised eggs.
- Choose wild caught fish over farmed. Choose fish with lowest mercury levels, limit to twice per week.
- Choose new fruits and vegetables every time you grocery shop.
- Choose and try to include 10 different colors of fruits and vegetables for daily consumption.
- Purchase minimal carbohydrates such as quinoa, amaranth or millet.
A Naturopathic Doctors Guide to Must Have Groceries
The following food items were carefully selected for their vitamin, mineral and anti-inflammatory properties. A brief overview is given for each.
Is a healthy vegetable, low in calories and high in fiber. It is a good source of vitamin C and loaded with other vitamins and antioxidants (3). Red cabbage contains glucosinolates, which the body converts into isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates are converted into a glutathione, a powerful antioxidant in the body that fights free radicals and decreases inflammation (2). Additionally, isothiocyanates have been shown to protect against cancer (2,3).
Is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein and vitamins (4). Omega-3 fatty acids modulate the inflammatory pathway, it has been shown to be helpful in cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and neurological health (5). Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful for modulating inflammation in your joints (4).
One can of sardines supplies 12 grams of protein, 1,190mg of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and phosphorus (6). Vitamin B12 is essential to cellular metabolism, is beneficial for cardiovascular health and the nervous system (5). Sardines promote bone health through their vitamin D and calcium content.
Are rich in monounsaturated fats, carotenoids, fiber, vitamins and minerals (7). Monounsaturated fats have been shown to have positive benefit for cardiovascular disease (5). Avocados are also anti-inflammatory as they contain plant sterols(7).
Are one of the healthiest fruits as they contain antioxidants and polyphenols including: anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acid, flavonols, stillbenoids including resveratrol (8). These phytonutrients are important as they modulate inflammation, and prevent against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and they are known to be neuroprotective (5).
Is rich in polyphenols and vitamin E. Olive oil is known to be anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective (5). It’s anti-inflammatory properties modulate the immune system and decrease oxidative stress (9).
Can be consumed in tea bags or matcha tea. It is a antioxidant, modulates inflammation, and anti-neoplastic. Green tea contains EGCG, a polyphenol shown to inhibit cancer growth, have anti-viral effects. Green tea also protects the liver from toxins and modulates detoxification. L-theanine found in green tea lowers stress but helps you maintain alertness.
The food and nutrition you consume on a daily basis can have a significant impact on your overall health. Following the guidelines above while incorporating the foods listed will positively influence your health, support your organ systems and cellular metabolism. Proper nutrition leads to increased energy, vitality, mental wellness and prevention of diseases. The right nutritional diet plan can vary from person to person. Our naturopathic doctors in our Gilbert, AZ location are specifically trained in nutritional medicine; we can design personalized nutrition protocols to resolve health problems and promote optimal wellness. Return to health and Live the life YOU intended!
- “From Natural medecine to a medecine of the individual” 2010
- Nutritional Medicine. Gaby Textbook.