The Healthiest Foods On Earth

One of my favorite nutrition writers is Jonny Bowden.   Hope you enjoy his corroboration of what I’ve been saying all this time, that whole foods are The Answer, not obsessively counting grams of whatever.   This is from Forbes online:

The Healthiest Foods On Earth

By Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, is a board-certified nutritionist and the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy and The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

What is the best diet for human beings?

Vegetarian? Vegan? High-protein? Low-fat? Dairy-Free?

Hold on to your shopping carts: There is no perfect diet for human beings. At least not one that’s based on how much protein, fat or carbohydrates you eat.

People have lived and thrived on high-protein, high-fat diets (the Inuit of Greenland); on low-protein, high-carb diets (the indigenous peoples of southern Africa); on diets high in raw milk and cream (the people of the Loetschental Valley in Switzerland); diets high in saturated fat (the Trobriand Islanders) and even on diets in which animal blood is considered a staple (the Massai of Kenya and Tanzania). And folks have thrived on these diets without the ravages of degenerative diseases that are so epidemic in modern life–heart disease, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis and cancer.

The only thing these diets have in common is that they’re all based on whole foods with minimum processing. Nuts, berries, beans, raw milk, grass-fed meat. Whole, real, unprocessed food is almost always healthy, regardless of how many grams of carbs, protein or fat it contains.

All these healthy diets have in common the fact that they are absent foods with bar codes. They are also extremely low in sugar. In fact, the number of modern or ancient societies known for health and longevity that have consumed a diet high in sugar would be … let’s see … zero.

Truth be told, what you eat probably matters less than how much processing it’s undergone. Real food–whole food with minimal processing–contains a virtual pharmacy of nutrients, phytochemicals, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and healthful fats, and can easily keep you alive and thriving into your 10th decade.

Berries, for example, are phenomenally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with plant compounds that improve memory and help fight cancer. Studies have consistently shown that nut-eaters have lower rates of heart disease. Beans are notorious for their high fiber content and are a part of the diet of people–from almost every corner of the globe–who live long and well.

Protein–the word comes from a Greek word meaning “of prime importance”–is a feature of every healthy diet ever studied. Meat , contrary to its terrible reputation, can be a health food if–and this is a big if–the meat comes from animals that have been raised on pasture land, have never seen the inside of a feedlot farm and have never been shot full of antibiotics and hormones. Ditto for raw milk, generally believed to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet by countless devotees who often go to great expense and inconvenience to obtain it from small, sustainable farms. Wild salmon, whose omega-3 content is consistently higher than its less-fortunate farm-raised brethren, gets its red color from a powerful antioxidant called astaxathin. The combination of protein, omega-3s and antioxidants makes wild salmon a contender for anyone’s list of great foods.

Another great food: eggs–one of nature’s most perfect creations, especially if you don’t throw out the all-important yolk. (Remember “whole” foods means exactly that–foods in their original form. Our robust ancestors did not eat “low-fat” caribou; we don’t need to eat “egg-white” omelets.)

There are really no “bad” vegetables, but some of them are superstars. Any vegetable from the Brassica genus–broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale–is loaded with plant chemicals called indoles, which help reduce the risk of cancer.

In the fruit kingdom, apples totally deserve their reputation as doctor-repellants: they’re loaded with fiber, minerals (like bone-building boron) and phytochemicals (like quercetin, which is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and to have anti-cancer properties). Some exciting new research suggests that pomegranate juice slows the progression of certain cancers. Other research shows it lowers blood pressure and may even act as a “natural Viagra.”

Tea deserves special mention on any list of the world’s healthiest foods. The second most widely consumed beverage in the world (after water), all forms of tea (black, oolong, white, green and the newer Yerba Matte) are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Some types (green tea, for example) contain plant chemicals called catechins which have decided anti-cancer activity

Finally, let’s not forget members of the Alliaceae family of plants–onions, garlic and shallots. Garlic has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties; hundreds of published studies support its antimicrobial effects as well as its ability to lower the risk of heart disease. A number of studies have shown an inverse relationship between onion consumption and certain types of cancer.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to contain every one of the “healthiest foods on earth,” but you can’t go wrong putting as many of the above mentioned foods in heavy rotation on your personal eating plan.

6 thoughts on “The Healthiest Foods On Earth

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  1. I tend to agree with what Mr.Bowden is saying: as close to natural as possible and a variety.

    I have been using agave in many things and loving it. I can’t tolerate much sugar, so agave has been a blessing to me. HOWEVER, I just found this on the internet and wondered if any of you has read it. It seems like it is fact, but in view of what they did with coconut oil I have to wonder. Here is the link (or the copy and paste):

  2. I agree that the healthiest foods are in their whole food form and natural. And real tea qualifies as this as long as it isn’t a “fast food” tea like in a cheap teabag. However, I’d like to caution that as well as eating the right foods the advice needs to be to not eat too much of them. Only with not overindulging will you avoid disease and live a long life.

  3. The healthiest versus the crappiest food on earth. And we feed our children this stuff? Or worse still, we eat it ourselves?

    Written by Charlotte Gerson as featured in Food Matters

    McDonalds chicken nuggets are a favourite with children in many families. Parents buy the ‘chicken nuggets’ believing they are indeed made from just chicken. McDonalds even provides flyers titled “A Full Serving of Nutrition Facts: Choose the Best Meal for You.” However as you can see from the ingredient list below, there is a lot more than just chicken.

    Chicken, water, salt, modified cornstarch, sodium phosphates, chicken broth powder (chicken broth, salt, and natural flavoring (chicken source)), seasoning (vegetable oil, extracts of rosemary, mono, di- and triglycerides, lecithin). Battered and breaded with water, enriched bleached wheat flour (niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, modified corn starch, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dried whey, corn starch. Batter set in vegetable shortening. Cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, (may contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated corn oil and/or partially hydrogenated canola oil and/or cottonseed oil and/or sunflower oil and/or corn oil). TBHQ and citric acid added to help preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an anti-foaming agent.

    There are 38 ingredients in a McNugget; many of them made from corn. Further down the list there are the mono, diandtriglycerides, and the emulsifiers that keep the fats and the water from separating. More corn flour is used to make the batter, and the hydrogenated oil in which the nuggets are fried can come from soybeans, canola or cottonseed, depending on the market price.

    It gets worse: a number of the ingredients come from petroleum products, to keep the items from spoiling or ‘looking strange’ after months in the freezer or on the road. If you are truly worried, look up these ingredients: sodium aluminum phosphate; mono-calcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and calcium lactate. These are used to keep the animal and vegetable fats from turning rancid. Then there are “anti foaming” agents like dimethylpolysiloxene. According to the Handbook of Food Additives, this material is a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigenic, and reproductive effector. It is also flammable.

    The most alarming ingredient in Chicken McNuggets is “tertiary butyl hydroquinone,” or TBHQ, derived from petroleum. This is sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” Again, according to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food. It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams can be fatal.

    Do you really want to give your kids Chicken McNuggets?

    Source: the Gerson Healing Newsletter –

  4. I knew there was a reason we didn’t eat those! thanks-

    I got the 150 best food books from costco for cheaper ahile back–lots of helpful info–though he does talk about animal and dairy products alot. it’s true–eat your veggies and WHOLE foods!

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