May is my favorite month of the year, when nature explodes in a beauteous bounty exhibiting all colors of the rainbow, from brilliant whites and various shades of green to soft lavender, deep purple, warm yellows, and fiery reds. Until some of these glorious colors are transmuted into stronger and steadier summer greens, we can feast our eyes on the rich palette in which Mother Nature clothes herself as we near the end of spring.
Just as the colors in our environment, both indoors and outdoors, have an effect on our mood and energy, so the colors of the foods in our diet, too, point to the effect those foods will have on us if we eat them. Certain colors indicate the presence of specific nutrients and medicinal properties. They vary from season to season, accentuating the foods on which we would do well to focus at any given time of year. In spring, fresh greens abound, inviting us to prepare them into raw salads that nourish us while helping to cleanse the body of toxins accumulated during the winter. Green leafy veggies owe their bright color to chlorophyll, which is an effective detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agent. Chlorophyll is also one of the best natural sources of magnesium, an important element in the utilization of calcium in the body. In addition, green vegetables supply many other minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Leaf lettuce, endive, watercress, and parsley are examples of tasty greens that provide a delicious base for a nutritious salad. The Cayce readings emphasize the purifying properties of lettuce. Reading 404-6 states: "Plenty of lettuce should always be eaten by most every body; for this supplies an effluvium in the blood stream that is a destructive force to most of those influences that attack the blood stream. It's a purifier."
As we move into summer, the seasonal harvest also offers an abundance of yellow and orange veggies and fruit, which are excellent sources of cancer-fighting carotenoids, B-complex vitamins, and several important minerals. In addition, there are red and purple berries boasting vitamins, minerals, and bioflavonoid antioxidants that protect against a wide range of illnesses, including many degenerative conditions and mental decline.
When planning your diet, always be sure to include a variety of greens, and regularly add yellow, orange, and purple-pigmented veggies and fruits. Colored foods on your dinner plate will add eye appeal and nutrient value to all your meals, so don’t miss out on some of the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods that Mother Nature has to offer!
Dietary whole grains decrease body fat
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition earlier this year suggests that eating whole grains may aid weight loss, decrease body fat, and protect against heart disease. Whole grains provide superior nutrition because they contain the full spectrum of nutrients found in the grain kernel. They also contain fiber, which supports digestion and promotes regularity. Fiber acts as a natural cleanser in the intestinal tract. It also helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of food passage through the intestinal tract, resulting in a more gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Sunshine vitamin cuts fat mass, boosts heart health
Daily supplementation of 1,000 International Units (25 micrograms) of vitamin D3 leads to significant reductions in body fat mass in overweight and obese people, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Often dubbed the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is naturally produced in the body through the interaction of the ultraviolet rays of the sun with certain chemicals in fatty tissue under the skin. In the winter, and in geographical areas where sunshine exposure is restricted, supplementation is important. During the summer months, however, our best source of this vitamin is clearly the sun. Make the most of summer and store up plenty of natural vitamin D for optimal health and metabolic function. Click here to read an earlier article on the healing and rejuvenating effects of sunlight and the importance of spending time in the summer sun.
Flavonoid-rich berries delay memory decline in the elderly
A recent study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and published in the Annals of Neurology, showed that intake of two or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per day was associated with decreased memory decline in older women. (And I see no reason why the results would differ for men.) Berries are high in antioxidant flavonoids—powerful phytochemicals that assist the body in neutralizing free radicals, which have been linked with various degenerative conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and mental deterioration.
A great way to enjoy berries during the spring and summer season is in smoothies. Here's a suggestion for one that tastes delicious and is easy to make using fresh or frozen berries:
Summer Berry Smoothie
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 large banana or 2 small, peeled
1 cup yogurt
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Add water or fruit juice to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender; blend for two minutes until smooth.
Featured Kindle E-Book
Exercise, Rest, and Sleep: Edgar Cayce's Advice on Finding Inner and Outer Balance outlines the therapeutic suggestions for exercise, stress reduction, rest and rejuvenation, and sleep found in the Edgar Cayce readings. Where applicable, the information from the Cayce readings is correlated with therapies from other healing traditions, as well as current-day scientific research.
From the Table of Contents:
Exercise and Rest: Getting the Balance Right
Walk for Your Life
The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise and Deep Breathing
Edgar Cayce's Head-and-Neck Exercises
Edgar Cayce's Health Stretches
Sleep: The Sixth Sense
- Sleep Cycles
- The Chemistry of Sleep
- The Circadian Rhythm
- The Mystery of Sleep
- Getting Better Sleep
- Herbal Sleep Aids
This comprehensive e-booklet is a stand-alone topic excerpt from the book Visionary Medicine: Real Hope for Total Healing by Simone Gabbay.