Over the years I have researched and experimented with tons of different foods and diets to find which ones work best for my body.
Everyone is different in the way they process food, but all in all, I have come up with five highly dense and nutritious raw foods which I think everyone should keep in their kitchen 24/7.
These foods are not only nutrient dense, but very medicinal in many ways and therefore can be used for different purposes. Listed below is each food along with their medicinal properties and why you absolutely cannot and should not live without them.
1) Bananas- In my opinion, bananas should be categorized as a superfood. Superfoods are foods which are highly nutrient dense, and therefore provide an exceptional amount of nutrition for the body.
First, bananas are very high in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Due to their particularly high potassium content, bananas are useful in lowering blood pressure, as well as preparing for and/or recovery from an intense workout.
Ripe bananas are highly nutritive, easily digestible, and soothing to the mucus lining of the stomach. They are often used to treat constipation.
On the other hand, underripe (slightly green) bananas are astringent and not as easily digested. These are good for relieving diarrhea.
Another amazing fact about bananas is they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, which helps us feel relaxed and happy. Want to boost your nutrition and your mood? Eat a banana!
How I use bananas in my kitchen…
I throw them in smoothies for a sweet flavor and creamy texture. I slice them up and put them on my grain free cereal and in my yogurt, I make almond butter and banana sandwiches with them, and nine times out of ten I eat a half a banana before I work out. I’ll even dip my banana in Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter for a delicious and nutritious treat J
2) Lemons- Ok so…there isn’t a day where I go without my glass or two of lemon water. Lemons are a very important food in my household. Here’s why…
Lemons have a cooling effect and are therefore great for fevers. They resolve stagnation (“stuck” or blocked energy in the body). They stimulate the flow of saliva, thereby aiding digestion and easing the work of the liver.
Lemons act as a diuretic and a laxative, and they also have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. They help with colds, flu, coughs, and even parasite infestation. They benefit bile formation which helps (again) support liver function.
Lemons improve mineral absorption, cleanse the blood, relieve sore throats, help with weight loss naturally, and help alleviate gas.
Contrary to what many people believe, lemons are alkaline, helping balance the PH of the body. In fact, their alkaline content is five times higher than their acidic content!
Lemons contain less than 1% sugar, and they are exceptional sources of vitamin C and potassium.
WOAH. If I were you, I’d have some lemons handy!
Here’s how I use my lemons…
I add the juice of half a lemon in two glasses of water per day, to keep my PH balanced, cleanse my body, aid digestion and lighten the load on my liver.
I use fresh squeezed lemon juice in place of vinegar for my salad dressings, and when I feel a cold coming on I drink at least two cups of hot water with lemon and raw honey each day until I feel better.
3) Garlic- Garlic is a miracle worker! We keep fresh organic raw garlic in our house at all times, simply based on its amazing ability to flavor food. But the bonus? Garlic is highly medicinal.
Where do I begin with garlic?
I’ll start with this: Garlic is HIGHLY antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and anti-carcinogenic. And that’s not all.
It improves digestion and is very helpful with respiratory troubles as it helps with ear and sinus issues. It can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and has been known to help aid the immune system in fighting the flu. Garlic even helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
It lowers fever, promotes growth of healthy gut microbes, and helps eliminate toxins from the body, including poisonous metals such as lead and cadmium.
Holy crap! Garlic saves the day every time.
Here’s how I use my garlic on a regular basis…
I season my meats with it for almost every dinner. I chop it up finely and use it in my sautées and stir fries. I put it on my homemade pizzas. I often use it to flavor sauces and dressings.
And finally, remember that tea I mentioned above with lemon and raw honey? My little secret is, I also add fresh minced raw garlic to the tea to help me when I’m sick. I know that might not sound awesome, but it’s really not bad!
If you don’t know me well yet, you’ll start to find out that I will try pretty much anything if it’s healthy for me J
4) Coconut Oil- In my personal opinion, I also believe coconut oil should be categorized as a superfood. Its medicinal properties are almost too numerous to list here, so I will try my best to keep it short and sweet.
Poor coconut oil has been falsely accused of raising cholesterol. It is a highly saturated fat, but it is a healthy fat for all people, especially vegans who often lack medium-chain fatty acids. (Saturated fat is a whole other subject for a whole other day…but stay tuned for blogs on this in the future!)
Coconut oil is one of the few plant sources of lauric acid, which is also found in human milk and enhances brain and immune function.
It is a proven antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. Coconut oil is more than 50% medium-chain fatty acids, which the body metabolizes into energy. This means that coconut oil is particularly great for athletes. It does not clog the arteries or cause heart disease.
Coconut oil can be safely heated to 375 degrees F without becoming denatured, which means it is great to cook with. Coconut oil can be easily substituted for butter or oil in pastries and cakes, and is a very healthy alternative.
Here’s how I use my coconut oil on a daily basis…
I put a heaping tablespoon into my smoothies. I use it as a skin moisturizer (yes, it can be used topically!) I spread it onto my gluten free toast instead of butter. Coconut oil is one of the only oils I use for cooking, and I use it in all of my baked goods. I even give a small amount to my cat each day as a treat and she loves it! (Be cautious in doing this though…cats don’t often process coconut oil well. My cat just happens to because it seems she is the exception to almost every rule in the cat book!)
5) Kale- I know it seems like there is a kale “craze” going on right now, but there’s a big reason for it: Kale is so nutrient dense it cannot be overlooked.
Kale is often called “the grandmother of the cabbage family.” Here are the amazing benefits of kale…
Kale has the power to ease lung congestion, and is a specific healer for the liver and immune system. Its juice is medicinal for helping treat stomach and duodenal ulcers.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at kale, I think it looks “strong.” That observation could not be more true, as kale is an overall strengthening vegetable for the body.
Kale may protect against colon cancer, and is an exceptional source of chlorophyll, beta carotene, vitamins A and C, and calcium.
Here’s how I use kale in my kitchen…
I mix it in raw with my salad greens, throw it in smoothies, sautée it, and I even make my own kale chips using coconut oil and garlic (talk about a triple whammy…three powerful foods in one dish!)
If I haven’t sold you on these amazingly powerful raw foods yet, I have to say you’re missing out! They are not only super beneficial for your health, but they are delicious too and oh-so-versatile.
Keep these five amazing foods in your kitchen and I guarantee you’ll feel some wonderful benefits.