If you’ve followed my column over the last two years, you already know that in addition to being a personal trainer, I am also a chef at CulinAerie (culinaerie.com) here in D.C. and that I have a passion for teaching and educating people on the importance of cooking and eating clean, healthy and nutritious meals.
While I’ve written quite a few articles about food in the past, I could probably write food articles every month for the next 20 years because I truly believe we don’t take the time truly understand the essential vitamins and minerals in our food and how they can heal us from the inside out. Here are some of my favorite healing foods and why you should be incorporating them into your diet.
Ginger has a myriad of scientifically proven health benefits that include reducing symptoms of nausea/vomiting, elevating inflammation, stopping osteoarthritis, motion sickness and boasting your immune system. Who knew this little spice could pack such a powerful, healthy punch?
If you want to dive even deeper in getting to know about ginger, it’s good to know its scientific classification is that of a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae whose rhizome (or its root), is widely used as a spice or as a medicine. Ginger contains a long list of vitamins and minerals which Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. So why is this big list of vitamins and minerals so important? Some of these vitamins and minerals are essential in helping your body do a variety of things when it comes to your fitness and working out.
While All B vitamins (B1,2,3,5) help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is “burned” to produce energy, minerals such iron, magnesium and potassium do everything from help transport oxygen to the body to regulate water and mineral balance throughout the body as you are working out. So instead of just having ginger with your sushi, try adding a slice or two into your hot tea, soups, stews and even your shakes.
Often used a garnishment to top off our cosmos, the healing power of these tiny little citrus fruits go unnoticed. Lemon’s scientific classification is similar to that of ginger; it’s a flowering plant in the family citrus lemon and its fruits are widely used for the juices they contain. While lemons contain minerals such as Iron, copper, potassium and calcium, the most important thing about lemons and their juice is that they provide approximately 90 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs. So why is Vitamin C so important for our health?
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that protects our cells from pesky free radicals like cigarette smoke, air pollution and ultraviolet light from the sun. So the next time you go to reach for that cosmopolitan, think about how you can start incorporating more lemons into your diet. Whether it’s using the lemon zest or lemon juice for marinades or salad dressing, think about how your can make this little yellow fruit apart of your diet.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable known as Brassica Oleracea and belongs to the cultivar family of vegetables that include broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. While the list of vitamins and minerals in kale goes on and on, it’s important to note a few of the top ones. Kale is packed with Vitamins K, A and C, and includes high amounts of Manganese and Copper. While we already know that Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps protect us against free radicals, Vitamin K is essential for not only clotting our blood, but also for building strong bones and keeping us from getting osteoporosis. And the Manganese in kale is needed for the production of collagen in our skin. We need it to make our skin look healthy and beautiful. Start incorporating kale into your diet by making crispy kale chips, adding it to your shakes or just having a nice kale salad with apples and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.