Powerfoods have specific influences on the body.
That’s why we say they have ‘power’.
The Sources of Power in Powerfoods
1. Broad chemical influences on the body.
- Alkaline-forming vs. acid-forming
- Organic vs. chemical-infused
- Raw vs. cooked
- Gluten-free vs. gluten-containing foods
- Complex carbohydrates (smart carbs) vs. simple sugars (dumb carbs)
- Whole vs. processed
Each of these factors has multiple influences on the body and a person will respond to these differences depending on their predisposition and levels of health.
Powerfoods are almost always whole but not necessarily gluten-free, raw or alkaline.
2. Specific Chemical Needs: The GAP Theory
Each food has different levels of specific nutrients. If a person has a particular need for a nutrient it will affect them greatly. Powerfoods tend to have very high levels of certain nutrients.
For example: suppose a person has a strong need for vitamin C. It is winter and she is not eating enough fruits and vegetables. An orange has vitamin C, so mandarin oranges that are popular around Christmas, have just the right chemistry to feed her immune system and prevent a cold.
3. Genetic Influences of Food
Scientists have been debating for years what is more important: your genetics has given to you by your parents or your upbringing. It turns out that the two are combined. Your environment activates the expression of your genes. This is very powerful.
For example, research has shown that a diet high in omega-3 fats reduces the expression of the Alzheimer’s gene APOE4. We can sidestep bad genes by eating healthy.
4. Subtle Influences of Food
Many health systems around the world have different ways to conceptualize health with very powerful results. Instead of interpreting food in terms of vitamins and minerals and proteins they talked about principles like heat, cold, fire, water and air, which they could directly perceive.
These principles are understandable within chemistry or physics to a degree but often the complete use of these systems relies on the idea of subtle energies that modern science has not been able to consistently measure – energies like chi and prana in food, our bodies, and the environment.
These cultures have produced large numbers of remarkably healthy individuals. They picked out certain foods (powerfoods) that were particularly balancing for various needs.
5. Social and Cultural Influences of Food
Growing, preparing and eating food takes more time and energy than any other facet of man’s life. In all societies, there have evolved intricate cultures around food which affect how we think, how we act and what kind of lives we will live.
Older cultures also discovered foods and combinations of foods that were particularly healthy.
The Mediterranean diet is one example. At first, nutritionists did not understand how everyone could be so healthy consuming so much oil. It turned out that mono-unsaturated olive oil has many properties that are just now being understood and appreciated. The Italians did not understand the chemistry of various levels of saturation of fats. They just knew olives grew well and over time, through trial and error, developed just the right combination of oil and tomatoes and vegetables and meats to maintain health.
How Many Powerfoods Are In Your Kitchen Right Now?
With all these factors in mind, it turns out there are many foods that can bring you greater health if you understand their potential and use them in the best situation.
For example, strawberries (like many berries) have amazing properties but they are one of the foods that often get the most toxic sprays when growing. If you eat a case of non-organic strawberries thinking you are getting all the powerfood benefits, it may be that the overload of toxicity in your system will take away any positive influences on a chemical or subtle level.
Personally, I like to keep up with all the recent research about food but I know that any single study can be deeply flawed or biased. I always try to balance what I am hearing with the finding of older health systems and cultures. My final decision for me is whether my body is attracted to a particular food at this time.
At Real Food for Life, we continue to bring people’s awareness to the power of foods. We also have used vital health testing to determine which foods are suitable for an individual at this time.
“Before understanding the power of the foods around me, I was unhealthy, unhappy and confused. Constant visits to doctors and health food stores had little effect on my deep fatigue and constant hunger. That was 30 years ago when Western nutritional science was not as advanced as it is now.
It was the 5,000 year old Chinese herbal knowledge that made the difference for me. Using specific foods and food combinations to feed specific systems and create balance brought me back to the energy and joy I had as a teenager.
Since then I learned from all cultures. The message is always the same: Food can heal. Food can be your medicine. Food has POWER!” Randy Fritz