By Barbara Sinclair, Conscious Life News
When I was growing up I was deemed the picky eater in the family. “You ate like a bird”, my sister tells me. When it came to fruits and vegetables, I mainly remember apples, bananas, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, potatoes, and green beans.
Kale? Collard greens? Never heard of them. Dandelion? I just liked to play with the little yellow weeds.
I don’t remember any exotic fruits like mangoes or papayas. And the only coconut I ever saw was flaked and in a bag.
I’ve since learned to love all of the above and am happy to report that I’m no longer a picky eater. There are so many different greens at the farmer’s market that the choices seem endless.
Variety is the spice of life.
But, I’ve also come to realize that some of the common foods that most of us grew up with are just as important.
Here are five seemingly ordinary foods that are incredibly healing, along with an Ayurvedic perspective.
Who knew that that sprig of parsley sitting on your plate was chock full of healing properties?
“Parsley was revered for its medicinal potency long before it was eaten as a food. Native to the central Mediterranean region, the herb was sacred to the ancient Greeks. They used it to adorn victorious athletes and decorate the tombs of the dead.” Joyful Belly Ayurveda
This humble herb is so much more than a garnishment. Parsley is one of the most effective diuretics around from a natural food source. Many of us are in Kapha Season right now and might be feeling heavy, bloated, sluggish, and in need of some gentle detoxification.
Not only does parsley act as a diuretic, but it is a great detoxifier – especially at pulling heavy metals out of the body.
My own experience with this was years ago when a routine blood test revealed that I had lead poisoning (I was living in NYC at the time). My Ayurvedic practitioner recommended juicing parsley along with cilantro and grapes (also great detoxifiers). When I returned a few months later, the lead levels had significantly reduced.
Parsley helps to cleanse the kidneys, aid digestion, is high in antioxidants, and pulls excess water out of the body. The list goes on and on.
You can juice parsley, or add it to just about anything. I like to chop it and add it to salads.
Don’t underestimate the power of this humble herb. A little bit of parsley goes a long way and daily use of it can be beneficial.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The original saying is purported to be ‘‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Either way, we get the message. Apples are good for us.
Apples are high in soluble fiber and can help remove fats and regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They’re heart healthy, high in Vitamin C and have an alkalizing effect in the body.
Ayurveda has a unique perspective of apples. It’s more inclined towards cooked apples (better in the morning, than before bedtime) as a healing food, rather than raw, especially for people with high Vata. Apples are particularly good for Kapha-type individuals.
I break this “rule” time and time again in the fall when my high Vata just can’t resist freshly picked, slightly tart raw apples. My mouth is watering now just thinking of them.
Pitta-types can best handle raw apples, especially the red kind, which is sweeter. Apples help to draw heat out of the body which is very beneficial for Pitta folks.
While Ayurveda recommends varying food choices, an apple is one fruit that truly is beneficial to eat each day. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest eating a stewed apple first thing each morning to reset digestion and encourage elimination.
What’s the big deal about celery? Just ask Anthony William, the Medical Medium, and he’ll tell you. Anthony is a big proponent of starting each day with a glass of celery juice.
Like parsley, celery is an amazing diuretic and is also a great detoxifier. Used along with parsley and/or cilantro, it can help pull heavy metals out of the body – something we should all be doing because of the toxic world we live in.
Celery helps to purify the blood, alkalize the body, keep blood pressure in check and a host of other health benefits. Read more here.
“Fresh celery juice is one of the most powerful and healing juices one can drink. Just 16 oz of fresh celery juice a day can transform your health and digestion in as little as one week.” — Anthony William
From an Ayurvedic point of view, celery is pacifying for Pitta and especially Kapha types, due to its diuretic properties. Both Pitta and Kapha contain the water element.
Too much celery can be unbalancing for Vata types due to the dosha’s dry nature.
Celery is a great food to eat during Kapha Season as it helps draw out excess fluid and mucus from the body.
Chances are if you’re on this site that you already know how beneficial lemons are to your health. The ancient Ayurvedic ritual of drinking warm/hot lemon water first thing each morning seems to have taken the West by storm.
This simple practice helps to cleanse the digestive system of toxins that have built up overnight. Drinking lemon water helps stimulate digestion and elimination.
Again, we have a potent detoxifier. Lemons help to purify the blood, increase the flow of bile and flush the liver and gallbladder.
Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and are a great addition to the diet for immunity boosting. I always up my use of lemons during cold and flu season.
During the summer months, lemons are renowned for cooling us down.
You wouldn’t expect lemons to have an alkalizing effect on the body, but they most certainly do. When eating out (restaurant food can often be highly acidic) asking for some fresh lemon and hot water to drink before your meal can make a big difference in how you digest it.
Click here for some more facts about lemons.
This common fruit has become quite controversial, but I decided to go ahead and include it here.
Some people have eliminated bananas from their diet because they think they cause weight gain. You can Google “Will bananas make you gain weight?” and all kinds of articles pop up.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, bananas can be clogging to the channels of the body, especially in someone with low agni (digestive fire). Kapha-types are the most likely to struggle with a weak digestive fire, and consequently weight gain. So, consuming lots of bananas may not be ideal for Kapha-types.
And yet, bananas are also loaded with nutritional properties and can be incredibly healing. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals and can be a lifesaver when electrolytes are low. They’re soothing to the brain and nervous system, which is why, in Ayurveda, they’re more pacifying for Vata and Pitta types.
Bananas can be very grounding for Vata people and can help pacify excess heat in the digestive tract, which can soothe overheated Pitta types. Read here for more Ayurvedic properties of bananas.
“Bananas contain powerful anti-fungal and antibiotic compounds as well as protease inhibitors which can help stop viruses in their tracks. This makes them highly beneficial for chronic illnesses such as shingles, Epstein-Barr, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and lupus. Bananas are also particularly good for lowering blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, neurological disorders, diarrhea, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, Crohn’s disease, stroke, and kidney, colon, and lung cancers.” — Anthony William
Wow! banana, anyone?
This is the perfect time for me to say that no matter how healing a particular food might be, it all depends on our unique body, sometimes the season we’re in, and our present state of health.
Remember the saying “One man’s food is another man’s poison”?
This is absolutely true and it’s our duty to pay attention to how we digest the foods we eat and whether they balance us or not.
Sometimes, all we need to do is slow down and practice some simple eating habits. Avoid overeating, eating at the wrong time of day, or combining foods that shouldn’t be combined.
So, if these five common foods that I’ve listed agree with you, enjoy the amazing healing benefits that can be had by eating them frequently.
About the Author
Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. To read her former articles, click here.
This article (These Five Seemingly Ordinary Foods Are Incredibly Healing) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.
Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.