Nutrition

What Role Does Nutrition Play in Skin Cancer?

39465171 - dermatologist looking at woman's mole with magnifier

Here are five key reasons today’s food contains fewer nutrients than the food of past generations:

1. Monoculture farming (the practice of growing a single crop on a very large scale) over crop rotation has depleted the soil of key nutrients.

2. The Agri-business companies harvest early before the produce has ripened and really assimilated all the nutrients from the soil.

3. Selecting limited food crops for ideal flavor but not variety and nutritional content.

4. More toxins in our food (pesticides, preservatives and even BPA).

5. Environmental chemicals in our air (pesticides, herbicides), skin care, hair products and toothpaste.

Adequate nutrition — including: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytonutrients and essential fats like omega 3s — is essential to the body’s detoxifying process. Increased toxin load in our environment and diet means more need for more nutrients. Lack of nutrition means lack of ability to detoxify. Our bodies simply cannot keep up.

When the body cannot keep up with the detox process, toxins bioaccumulate, leading to illness and disease, such as cancer. When we have less nutrition from our food, we have less capacity to detox. According to a study published in Scientific American, “Workers who apply certain pesticides to farm fields are twice as likely to contract melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer…The findings add to evidence suggesting that frequent use of pesticides could raise the risk of melanoma. Rates of the disease have tripled in the United States in the last 30 years, with sun exposure identified as the major cause.” These chemicals are used in the United States on a variety of crops, including nuts, vegetables and fruits.

So could it be that skin cancer is from toxin exposure and the sun is actually helpful. Vitamin D is cancer protective. So therefore, sun exposure without getting burned would be cancer protective.

When you eat food that is low in nutritional value and high in inflammatory Omega-6s and your body is forced to manage toxins we were not designed to detoxify, then your body becomes toxic, and full of free radicals. It becomes inflamed, and acidic which is the prime environment for cancer.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

The post What Role Does Nutrition Play in Skin Cancer? appeared first on Betty Murray.

Be Well launching events in October

The Be Well Membership is re-vamped, re-created and re-designed

 just for YOU!!


Self-care may not sound sexy but it’s essential and a priority for quality living, well-being and your health.
We have re-vamped our Be Well Membership and have created several exciting events to share how you can incorporate Lifestyle Medicine into your life. You can live with less stress, more contentment, more joy, more passion, more energy and more engaging relationships.
We want to help you arrive at your definition of what would make your life tick from the inside-out in your Mind, Body and Spirit. We’ve focused our program on Mood, Food, Movement, Healing Touch, Life & Creativity.
So, if you need to add a little pizazz into your life and keep it there; we believe we have the answer. You + Be Well = Optimal Living. Our team of veteran experts will be alongside you every step of your personal journey.

Join our Be Well team in the month of October for one of the following events and get introduced to our new program and it’s benefits.

Tues 10/20 @ 6:30PM – 8PM
Be Well in Your Mind, Body & Spirit Panel
FREE – you must hold your space though; call the office to register
All of the providers that help you with FOOD, MOOD, LIFE, HEALING TOUCH and CREATIVITY will be on the panel.  They will share their philosophy of care, what typical appointments are like, give you insight into why they do what they do and who and how they can help.  Also, to be discussed are the benefits of that service/treatment regimen to your specific situation or condition. Then, we’ll open it up for questions. Then, you will be presented with savory options for your health.
Saturday Educational Event –
Sat 10/24 @ 10-11:30am
Be Well in Your Relationships with Jenny
FREE – you must hold your space though; call the office to register
A more in depth look at relationship and marriage coaching; a field not to be feared but to embrace if you want to see change in all of your relationships. She will share the 7 Key Values to a Great Relationship and the Layering Triangle of Love she takes clients through.
Then, she will open it up for questions. Jenny will also share some special recipes for LOVE and appealing sexy offers for your relationships. Remember, the MOST important relationship of LOVE to embrace is with YOURSELF. This will be a core theme expressed.
Celebrate our 10th Year Anniversary at our Gratitude Wine and Cheese Party 
at Living Well –
No Whining; just Live Well with the Be Well Membership
Thursday, 11/5 @ 6:30-8:30pm
Come mix, mingle, talk to our providers, see our place and hear about all of the details of the new membership.
We’ll have mini-talks, cool door prizes, great gluten free snacking and of course lots of meeting on interesting people. We couldn’t do this celebration without you. You are the reason we’ve been in business for 10 years!

Join us for a Healthy Happy Hour on Tuesday, November 10th
Surviving the Holidays Panel – Don’t be a GRINCH or How to Deal with One”
2:00PM -6:00PM – Try On Sessions (20 min each – Try on one or more of our Be Well Circle Services)
6:30PM – 8PM – Panel discussion


 

Meet the New Be Well Membership Team 2015

Sarah Ferguson, MABC
Life Transitions and Grief/Loss Coaching
 
Kaelyn Pehrson, Certified Health Coach & Wholeistic Kinesiologist
From whole food cleanses, numerous delicious recipes, the right eating for you, and meeting your physical health goals; she’s your girl
 

Jessica Blue Sky Vigil, LPC
Creative Counselor with specialty in getting grounded in yourself through
 innovative outlets like art, nature, & breath work
 

Brenda Briscoe, LMT, Bowen Practitioner, LED Light Therapist
Brenda specializes in healing the body from pain, discomfort to live a life full of joy. She specializes in chronic pain from a variety of conditions; she has a passion for migraines, chronic fatigue, neuropathy, digestive issues and more.

The Role of Genetics in Weight and Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Don’t Work: Part 3

Are You Eating the Right Diet for Your Genes?

Since we have established that genetics do in fact play a role in weight gain/ weight loss (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series), let’s take a look at how this relates to the foods you eat.

Some genetic mutations confer dietary advantages over others. For example, some gene combinations work better with a low carb diet, some with the Mediterranean diet, and others with a low fat diet (this is a small part of the population).

How do genes affect metabolism?

While there is still more to learn on the topic of genetics and metabolism, what we do know is that some people store more energy as fat in an environment of excess, while others lose less fat in an environment of scarcity. In other words, genetics cause some people to burn fat at a higher rate (high metabolism) while others burn fat at a lower rate (low metabolism). These differences are largely due to genetic variations.

How do you know which diet is right for you?

The simple answer: genetic testing. But don’t settle for labs that only test five or six genes. Our bodies have a multitude of gene combinations that we are only just uncovering and testing five or six out of trillions of potential combinations will not be sufficient.

We use Pathway Genomics for genetic testing. To date, Pathway Genomics tests the largest number of genes to determine the proper gene-diet combination.

What foods should I eat?

With or without genetic testing, we know one thing: real foods are packed with nutrients and compounds that can help you lose weight and prevent or overcome a myriad of health problems and diseases. No mater your genetic makeup, here are a few tips everyone should follow:

  • Eat real foods. Stick to whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods to get the right nutrients—protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals—you need to stay lean and healthy.
  • Eat a variety of colors. When shopping for produce, choose a rainbow of colors. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different essential nutrients, so be sure to mix things up and eat a variety.
  • Eat fresh, organic foods whenever possible. Locally grown, fresh, organic foods are the best option, and far better for you than frozen or canned foods.

Want to know what diet you should eat for your genes? Contact us today for genetic testing and nutritional guidance.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

 

The post The Role of Genetics in Weight and Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Don’t Work: Part 3 appeared first on Betty Murray.

The Role of Genetics in Weight and Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Don’t Work: Part 3

Are You Eating the Right Diet for Your Genes?

Since we have established that genetics do in fact play a role in weight gain/ weight loss (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series), let’s take a look at how this relates to the foods you eat.

Some genetic mutations confer dietary advantages over others. For example, some gene combinations work better with a low carb diet, some with the Mediterranean diet, and others with a low fat diet (this is a small part of the population).

How do genes affect metabolism?

While there is still more to learn on the topic of genetics and metabolism, what we do know is that some people store more energy as fat in an environment of excess, while others lose less fat in an environment of scarcity. In other words, genetics cause some people to burn fat at a higher rate (high metabolism) while others burn fat at a lower rate (low metabolism). These differences are largely due to genetic variations.

How do you know which diet is right for you?

The simple answer: genetic testing. But don’t settle for labs that only test five or six genes. Our bodies have a multitude of gene combinations that we are only just uncovering and testing five or six out of trillions of potential combinations will not be sufficient.

We use Pathway Genomics for genetic testing. To date, Pathway Genomics tests the largest number of genes to determine the proper gene-diet combination.

What foods should I eat?

With or without genetic testing, we know one thing: real foods are packed with nutrients and compounds that can help you lose weight and prevent or overcome a myriad of health problems and diseases. No mater your genetic makeup, here are a few tips everyone should follow:

  • Eat real foods. Stick to whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods to get the right nutrients—protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals—you need to stay lean and healthy.
  • Eat a variety of colors. When shopping for produce, choose a rainbow of colors. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different essential nutrients, so be sure to mix things up and eat a variety.
  • Eat fresh, organic foods whenever possible. Locally grown, fresh, organic foods are the best option, and far better for you than frozen or canned foods.

Want to know what diet you should eat for your genes? Contact us today for genetic testing and nutritional guidance.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

 

The post The Role of Genetics in Weight and Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Don’t Work: Part 3 appeared first on Betty Murray.

Kaelyn Pehrson

Healthy Lifestyle tips from Kaelyn Pehrson, Certified Health Coach

Daily Morning  with Kaelyn Pehrson, Certified Health Coach

Rise and shine! How you start each morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. My recommendation, start each beautiful day with fresh lemons! By simply juicing a half of an organic lemon into a glass of water, you will discover a simple, yet powerful way to start your day and improve your health. Sound too good to be true?

Those happy yellow citrus fruits are chock-full of health benefits, including high concentration of vitamins B {energy vitamins} and C {immune building}, antioxidants and potassium. What does all that mean for you?

 

* Flushes your system – 

Lemon water aids the bowel in eliminating waste more efficiently, and is a wonderful stimulant to the liver to aid in detoxification.

 

* Balances PH –

Lemon may be thought of as an acidic food, but in the body lemon juice creates an alkaline-forming environment to balance the body’s pH, as well as restore balance by providing vitamin C and high levels of potassium.

 

*Improves Skin –

Lemon juice clears the skin, reduces acne, softens wrinkles, and cleanses excess oils. The vitamin C, citric acid and alkaline properties fight bacteria both internally and on the skin.

 

*Aids in Weight Loss – 

Lemons are high in pectin fiber which help fight hunger cravings. Lemon juice also acts as a natural diuretic and aids digestion.

 

*Immune Building – 

Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain & nerve function.

 

Give it a try. Improving your health does not get any more simple than this! Be sure to juice lemon into warm  or room temperature water, as hot water will destroy the live enzymes.

 

Get Even Healthier!


 

 

Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals? How to fit wellness into your busy schedule? Let’s chat! Schedule an complimentary 20-minute session today with Kaelyn Pehrson. Call Living Well Dallas at 972-930-0260. 

Together we can work to shift your behavior to develop lifelong healthy habits and a deep understanding of your bio-individual needs. We’ll work together to create lasting changes to your health, energy, and well-being.

Healthy Drinks to Beat the Bulge

By Betty Murray

Liquid diets are never recommended as a long-term diet solution (unless you have specific health problems that require you to be on a liquid diet), but weight loss drinks may help you shed a few unwanted pounds quickly, particularly if you have reached a plateau in your weight loss.

Replacing meals with protein shakes can reduce your daily caloric intake, resulting in weight loss. However, you will eventually need to return to eating solid foods, at which time you may regain any weight that was lost. Relying too much on protein drinks also means you’re missing out on the nutritional value of whole foods.

When Protein Shakes Can Help

The average adult should get at least 46 to 56 grams of protein per day (possibly more, depending on your weight). If you are already eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet but are struggling to get adequate protein, adding a protein shake to your daily diet can help you get closer to the recommended daily dose of protein. Protein increases calorie burn, so upping your protein intake can boost weight loss.

When Protein Shakes (and other weight loss drinks) Can Hurt

Even though a shake or drink isn’t a solid food, it still contains calories—and you might be surprised just how many calories are in a drink. Protein powder, though it varies, generally contains about 140 calories per serving, so a protein shake made from protein powder could contain as many as 300 calories. One Special K Milk Chocolate Protein Shake contains 190 calories.

Unless your physician has prescribed a liquid diet to battle other health concerns, going on a strict liquid diet simply to lose weight is not ideal. If your weight loss has stalled out, or you just need to lose a few pounds before heading to the beach, try replacing one meal a day with a protein shake.

The best formula for weight loss is to maintain a healthy, nutrient-dense, protein-rich diet and to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Living Well Dallas and she is the Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. She specializes in autoimmune conditions, MTHFR, digestive disorders and complex health issues.  Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

Healthy Drinks to Beat the Bulge

By Betty Murray

Liquid diets are never recommended as a long-term diet solution (unless you have specific health problems that require you to be on a liquid diet), but weight loss drinks may help you shed a few unwanted pounds quickly, particularly if you have reached a plateau in your weight loss.

Replacing meals with protein shakes can reduce your daily caloric intake, resulting in weight loss. However, you will eventually need to return to eating solid foods, at which time you may regain any weight that was lost. Relying too much on protein drinks also means you’re missing out on the nutritional value of whole foods.

When Protein Shakes Can Help

The average adult should get at least 46 to 56 grams of protein per day (possibly more, depending on your weight). If you are already eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet but are struggling to get adequate protein, adding a protein shake to your daily diet can help you get closer to the recommended daily dose of protein. Protein increases calorie burn, so upping your protein intake can boost weight loss.

When Protein Shakes (and other weight loss drinks) Can Hurt

Even though a shake or drink isn’t a solid food, it still contains calories—and you might be surprised just how many calories are in a drink. Protein powder, though it varies, generally contains about 140 calories per serving, so a protein shake made from protein powder could contain as many as 300 calories. One Special K Milk Chocolate Protein Shake contains 190 calories.

Unless your physician has prescribed a liquid diet to battle other health concerns, going on a strict liquid diet simply to lose weight is not ideal. If your weight loss has stalled out, or you just need to lose a few pounds before heading to the beach, try replacing one meal a day with a protein shake.

The best formula for weight loss is to maintain a healthy, nutrient-dense, protein-rich diet and to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Living Well Dallas and she is the Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. She specializes in autoimmune conditions, MTHFR, digestive disorders and complex health issues.  Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

The 1-2-3 of Calorie Counting

By Betty Murray

Calorie counting has been the standard formula for weight loss for years. Calories in < calories out = weight loss. But is there more too it than simply counting calories? Is calorie counting a waste of energy?

Lets take a look at the pros and cons of calorie counting.

Calorie Counting: Pros

Counting calories allows you to better track what’s going into your body and can provide some structure to help you stick to your weight loss goals. If you hit a plateau in your weight loss, counting calories can help you find out why, and help get you back on track.

Calorie counting may help you learn to identify—and seek out—lower calorie options. For example, it may give you the information you need to choose a non-fat latte over a full fat one for your morning coffee.

Keeping track of your calories is also a way to see if you’re eating to much…or too little. If your body is not getting the fuel it needs, it will go into survival mode and your metabolism will slow down, making it even more difficult to burn calories.

If mindless eating or emotional eating is your struggle, counting calories forces you to be more mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth and help you regain some control in order to change your behavior.

Calorie Counting: Cons

There are cons to everything, and calorie counting is not exempt from this rule. Counting calories can certainly give you a general idea of the amount of calories you consume on a daily basis, but I cannot give you exact information. It’s nearly impossible to count every calorie that goes into your mouth, in part because most food labels are not always accurate.

Calorie counting means you stop listening to your body and simply rely on the numbers to decide what to eat. Losing weight and staying healthy is all about listening to the cues your body is giving you. Eat when you’re truly hungry, don’t eat when you’re not. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. Many people react to foods in different ways. Learn to pay attention to what your body is telling you about the foods you eat, and stick to the foods that make you feel great.

For some people, calorie counting is a slippery slope on the way to disordered eating.  If you only allow yourself a set number of calories every day, you may not be giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Tips for Safe Calorie Counting

1. Focus on nutrition. Rather than strictly counting calories, focus on getting the right amounts of nutrients—healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals—you need to really be healthy. It’s also important to learn to recognize portion sizes so you do not eat too much.

2. Listen to your body. Pay attention to those cues your body is giving you. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you are satisfied.

3. Pay more attention to inches than pounds. Take your measurements once a week and pay attention to how your clothes fit. The number on a scale isn’t always an accurate depiction of whether you are getting healthier or not—and that is the ultimate goal.

4. Put technology to use. There are some apps available that can help you track not only your calories, but your nutrition as well. MyFitnessPal is just one of the many available for iPhone and Android.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Living Well Dallas and she is the Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. She specializes in autoimmune conditions, MTHFR, digestive disorders and complex health issues.  Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

The 1-2-3 of Calorie Counting

By Betty Murray

Calorie counting has been the standard formula for weight loss for years. Calories in < calories out = weight loss. But is there more too it than simply counting calories? Is calorie counting a waste of energy?

Lets take a look at the pros and cons of calorie counting.

Calorie Counting: Pros

Counting calories allows you to better track what’s going into your body and can provide some structure to help you stick to your weight loss goals. If you hit a plateau in your weight loss, counting calories can help you find out why, and help get you back on track.

Calorie counting may help you learn to identify—and seek out—lower calorie options. For example, it may give you the information you need to choose a non-fat latte over a full fat one for your morning coffee.

Keeping track of your calories is also a way to see if you’re eating to much…or too little. If your body is not getting the fuel it needs, it will go into survival mode and your metabolism will slow down, making it even more difficult to burn calories.

If mindless eating or emotional eating is your struggle, counting calories forces you to be more mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth and help you regain some control in order to change your behavior.

Calorie Counting: Cons

There are cons to everything, and calorie counting is not exempt from this rule. Counting calories can certainly give you a general idea of the amount of calories you consume on a daily basis, but I cannot give you exact information. It’s nearly impossible to count every calorie that goes into your mouth, in part because most food labels are not always accurate.

Calorie counting means you stop listening to your body and simply rely on the numbers to decide what to eat. Losing weight and staying healthy is all about listening to the cues your body is giving you. Eat when you’re truly hungry, don’t eat when you’re not. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. Many people react to foods in different ways. Learn to pay attention to what your body is telling you about the foods you eat, and stick to the foods that make you feel great.

For some people, calorie counting is a slippery slope on the way to disordered eating.  If you only allow yourself a set number of calories every day, you may not be giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Tips for Safe Calorie Counting

1. Focus on nutrition. Rather than strictly counting calories, focus on getting the right amounts of nutrients—healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals—you need to really be healthy. It’s also important to learn to recognize portion sizes so you do not eat too much.

2. Listen to your body. Pay attention to those cues your body is giving you. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you are satisfied.

3. Pay more attention to inches than pounds. Take your measurements once a week and pay attention to how your clothes fit. The number on a scale isn’t always an accurate depiction of whether you are getting healthier or not—and that is the ultimate goal.

4. Put technology to use. There are some apps available that can help you track not only your calories, but your nutrition as well. MyFitnessPal is just one of the many available for iPhone and Android.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Living Well Dallas and she is the Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. She specializes in autoimmune conditions, MTHFR, digestive disorders and complex health issues.  Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

And First Prize Goes To…

By Betty Murray

It’s important to eat a healthy diet every day, but there are some foods—called “superfoods”—that provide even more nutrients and health benefits. It you want to look great and feel great, here are seven superfoods you should eat every day:

Water. Your body needs water to live. Period. You cannot expect your body and its systems to function correctly without water. Every day, through sweat and tears, you lose water, and that water must be replenished. Of course, the best option is to consume pure water, but you may also increase your water intake by consuming food and drinks with high water content (such as tea, cucumber, celery, peppers, lettuce and spinach, strawberries, cabbage, grapefruit, and watermelon).

Greens. Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale are high in vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs to fight illness, stay healthy, be strong, and reach peak function. In addition to kale and spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and asparagus are other great green veggies you should incorporate into your diet.

Nuts. In moderation, of course, nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and polyphenols that promote a healthy heart. They are also high in protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants, and can help keep your cholesterol low. Some of the best nuts include peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and some pine nuts.

Blueberries. This sweet, tiny fruit contains more antioxidants that at least 40 other common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries can help protect against heart disease, cancer, memory loss, urinary tract infections, and age-related vision loss.

Garlic. With antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, garlic is one of the best foods to fight disease and illness. It also has many heart health benefits, and can drastically reduce your risk of cancer. All you need to do is eat at least one clove of garlic a day to get the health benefits of this superfood, so chop or crush it up and add it into your next meal.

Olive oil. Olives contain one of the healthiest fats in the world in their oil. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), raises good cholesterol (HDL), and can protect artery walls from a buildup of cholesterol. Olive oil also contains high amounts of antioxidants. The healthiest olive oils are virgin, extra virgin, or cold-pressed oils.

Flaxseed. If you need to up your fiber intake (and who doesn’t?), eating just a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed a day will do the trick. Flaxseed is also linked to lower rates of certain hormone-related cancers, including breast cancer. Flaxseed also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent acne and asthma. (Be sure you’re consuming ground flaxseed to get all the health benefits!)

Eat this one superfood with every meal:

Spinach is one (of a handful) of superfoods you could eat with any meal. Because of its subtle taste, spinach is very versatile. Throw it into a smoothie, sauté it with your eggs in the morning, or eat it as a healthy side or salad with your lunch or dinner. The more spinach you can fit into your diet, the healthier you will be. There’s no such thing as too much spinach!

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.