The Only ‘Superfoods’ That Actually Made Me Feel Better
(Disclaimer: I reference many reputable scientific studies in this article, but I’m not a dietician or scientist. This article isn’t intended as medical or health advice-rather personal anecdotal observations.)
My wife rolls her eyes.
“Who eats cranberries and honey in a bowl?” she says.
“Me!” I reply.
“OK, dork,” she says as she walks out of the kitchen.
I used to be in excellent shape. As a Marine, I had to be. I’m still passable as far as fitness goes. But since I hit 40, it’s harder to keep the pounds off and harder to just feel good. Feeling healthy isn’t automatic anymore.
So if I find a food that actually makes a positive difference in how I feel, I’m going to sing its praises.
I’ll take all the eye rolls that come my way as long as I feel as good as these foods have made me feel.
Here are the foods, the science, and how they made me feel.
Both raw or pasteurized honey is beneficial to your health, but raw honey (unpasteurized) provides the most benefits. According to this government study, honey can even possibly be effective in the treatment of certain diseases.
Pasteurization diminishes some of the benefits, but if that’s all you can get, it still holds many of the benefits raw honey does. The Permaculture Research Institute says:
Pasteurized honey lacks beneficial vitamins and enzymes among a host of other natural constituents which are removed during pasteurization and processing. Most golden honey you see at your local grocery is dead and far from the health-promoting powerhouse of its raw unpasteurized counterpart.
While raw honey is considered to be generally safe, there are some risks. Such as if someone is allergic to bee pollen. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) also say that “people should not give honey to infants under the age of 1 because of the risk of infant botulism.”
Humans have recognized the value of raw honey almost since humans have recognized anything. This study from the National Institute of Health says:
Evidence from Stone Age paintings shows treatment of disease with bee product such as honey originated from 8000 years ago. Ancient scrolls, tablets and books-Sumerian clay tablets (6200 BC), Egyptian papyri (1900–1250 BC), Veda (Hindu scripture) 5000 years, Holy Koran, Bible, and Hippocrates (460–357 BC) illustrated that honey had been widely used as a drug.[17,18,19] Qur’an vividly indicated the activity of therapeutic value of honey.
As a winemaker, I’ve also studied making mead which is simply honey wine. A few of the many books I read about mead described how one man lived only on bee products (honey/propolis/pollen/wax) and nothing else for most of his life.
As far as healing benefits go, this study showed how medical-grade honey has actually helped heal wounds.
How it made me feel better
I’ve personally flirted with occasional mild stomach ulcers. The honey (along with my cranberries) seemed to relieve some symptoms. I also just felt more healthy overall when I ate raw honey every day. People say manuka honey provides the most benefits, but it’s expensive. The regular raw honey suits me and my wallet just fine.
Whole Raw Cranberries
Harvard Health Publishing lists berries as a superfood but whole raw cranberries (with the skin on them) seem to be in a league of their own.
Most often we associate cranberries and their juice with urinary tract health, but that’s just one of the benefits. It benefits urinary tract health by delivering a compound that inhibits bacteria from adhering to the walls of your bladder and urinary tract. This Medical News Today article shows these benefits are most realized by eating raw whole berries though, not just the juice.
The National Library of Medicine also says:
Cranberry juice or cranberries have been shown to inhibit the colonization of H. pylori in stomach, and protect against intestinal inflammation.
H.Pylori is the bacteria associated with stomach ulcers. Raw cranberries can help your body fight this bad bacteria.
Cranberry juice provides many benefits, but the skins of the cranberry provide a multitude of benefits that are lost when the berry is “juiced” hence my insistence on raw whole cranberries, not just juice, as part of my diet.
How it made me feel better
My cranberry/honey regimen seemed to help alleviate some of the symptoms mentioned above. I also felt much more energetic all day. I more easily woke up earlier and seemed to have energy all day. I can’t claim cranberries as the cause but I also felt mentally sharper when eating these superfoods. I’m sure this was due to my overall diet, but cranberries are a huge part of it now so some credit goes to them for all the positive results.
“The incredible, edible egg.” Remember that promotional slogan in the ‘80s? Eggs seem to be controversial due to their higher cholesterol content. It’s one of those foods that “studies show” are bad one year and good the next. The controversy never ends. It isn’t just controversial scientifically, but there’s also a push against some of the industrial/caged conditions of the larger producers that adds to the negativity.
Controversy aside, I think eggs are good for me. I do prefer the free-range and brown eggs just because they just seem to have more flavor. And I’m sure the chickens are happier ones! These free-range eggs also have more nutrients so they are a bit better for you.
Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, containing a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. Omega-3 enriched and/or pastured eggs are even healthier.
Other benefits reported by Medical News Today include stronger muscles from the protein, better brain health, a healthier immune system from the vitamins, lower risk of heart disease because of choline in the eggs, and even weight loss.
How it made me feel better
I probably felt better due to the way low carb, in general, makes me feel better. When I’m eating eggs I seem to feel less hungry and more energetic. I don’t seem to put weight on as easily either when I’m eating eggs. Plus they taste so good which makes me happy! Who can argue with that?
This is all far from a scientific take but these three foods have made this 40-something feel pretty darn good. So I’ll continue to eat them. Plus, when I average the price and volume I eat out, they only cost me about $9.00/week.
Some people advocate a diet consisting of only foods that were foods over 150 years ago. i.e. unprocessed, natural, real foods.
I like that idea. And these three foods I listed meet that criteria. Actually, these foods could fall into the 1,500-year-ago diet. There’s simply something primal and special about that!
Okay, I’m going to go pour myself a bowl of cranberries and honey now.
I sense eye rolls from my wife are in my future but along with them an energetic and healthy feeling. Totally worth it!