Functional Foods



A new method of health care is emerging which is showing signs of revolutionizing how we think about healing our bodies. Functional food is their term and refers to specific foods used to treat medical conditions as well as maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

The old proverb from the father of medicine Hippocrates,

‘let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’

has never been truer as a whole range of Functional Foods now becoming readily available and supported by scientific research. It makes sense to use food products to stimulate the body’s own internal healing processes rather than chemically suppressing symptoms with pharmaceutical medications.

Functional foods, are similar to Superfoods, however are different in the fact they are often concentrated forms of particular elements of foods. For example acidophilus which is found in natural yoghurts is extracted so that the active health giving properties are much more concentrated. So in effect functional foods are concentrated Superfoods.  Here are some examples to explore for your wellbeing;

Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane which when concentrated has powerful anti-cancerous effects, particularly related to breast and prostate cancer as it assists in the binding and excretion of hormonal metabolites. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. Interestingly, the chemical sulforaphane does not have the same effect when given as a sole ingredient. It only works when it is kept as part of the whole concentrated broccoli extracts.

Coconut seems to be the latest food fad, however all plant based oils have a wide range of therapeutic effects. Plant based oils when extracted correctly have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can be used to treat asthma, arthritis, eczema and dermatitis. They also assist in improving the appearance of the skin and can be used externally as moisturizing agents.  Children benefit from a regular amount of plant based oils to assist with concentration levels. Effective oils are avocado, walnuts, peach, coconut and flaxseed oil.

Berries contain a wide range of phtyochemicals (plant chemicals) exhibiting therapeutic effect on our bodies. The wide range of antioxidants present in berries have healing and protective effects on the cardiovascular system and brain in slowing the aging process. Concentrated berry sources have been shown to lower blood pressure in elevated states.

Using foods as medicines focus the patient on the fact diet is critical to overall health and wellbeing. It changes the mindset from taking a pill to taking responsibility for your own wellbeing. Many people have the preconceived idea the doctor is responsible for their health and seek a quick fix for every minor ailment. Eventually these people become dependent upon medications to simply exist. If the community focuses more on healthy diet and lifestyle, supported with functional foods to stimulate the healing processes the burden on modern health care would reduce.



If the average drinker of Coca-cola understood the long term implications then this business would be bankrupt in weeks. Here are some great alternatives to avoid the sugary drink market;
Lemon or lime juice in sparkling water
Apple cider vinegar in water
Vegetable juices– carrot, celery, chinese vegetables, beetroot, apple and ginger. Yes it has sugar however is easily assimilated by the average person. Dilute 50% in water if you have any blood sugar issues.
Diluted grape juice in water or sparkling water

OR just enjoy good old fashioned water. Our bodies are 70% water so every process is dependent on being hydrated. It is important not to drink too much though because when you sleep our bodies are expecting fluids which do not come, so you will inadvertently make yourself dehydrated every night. It is also best to slowly sip water than drinking large amounts at a single time.

Another trick to keep yourself hydrated is to consume healthy fats such as coconut oil. Healthy oils nourish our cell membranes which allows the cells to absorb and maintain healthy fluid levels.



Pomegranate, blueberry and acai


This list represents the foods with the highest rating for natural antioxidants as per the ORAC testing methods. Although not 100% accurate as there are other factors related to antioxidant status, it gives a good indication of the food groups most beneficial for reducing oxidation in the body. Consuming foods which have a high ORAC status will benefit health status, detoxification and antiaging. Rating is based on 100gm of the food, hence why spices are higher in the list as they are concentrated. Different regions and soils affect the levels, therefore these units are generalized. All foods listed are high antioxidant foods so the rating is relative.

Extremely High ORAC Foods

Cloves, ground 290,283 oregano, dried 175,295 rosemary, dried 165,280 thyme, dried 157,380 cinnamon, ground 131,420 turmeric, ground 127,068 vanilla beans, dried 122,400 sage, ground 119,929 szechuan pepper, dried 118,400 Acai, fruit pulp/skin, powder 102,700  Rosehip 96,150  parsley, dried 3,670 nutmeg, ground 69,640 basil, dried 61,063 Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, cumin seed 50,372 curry powder 45,400 pepper, white 40,700 ginger, ground 39,041 pepper, black 34,053 Sage, fresh 32,004 mustard seed, yellow 29,257

High ORAC Foods

Rice bran, crude 24,287 chili powder 23,636 paprika 21,932  pepper, red or cayenne 19,671 Raspberries 19,220 pecans 17,940 Elderberries, raw 14,697 Peppermint, fresh 13,978 Nuts, walnuts, 13,541 Raisins, 10,450 Hazelnuts 9,645 Blueberries, wild, raw 9,621 Artichokes 9,402 Cranberries, raw 9,090 Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, raw 8,606 Beans, black, mature seeds, raw 8,494 prunes 8,059 Beans, pinto, mature seeds, raw 8,033 Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw 7,675 Plums,  7,581 Lentils, raw 7,282 garlic powder 6,665 Blackberries, raw 5,905 Soybeans, mature seeds, raw 5,409 Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw 5,141 Pomegranates 4,479

High- Medium ORAC Foods

Nuts, almonds 4,454 Dill, fresh 4,392 Strawberries, raw 4,302 Apples, Red Delicious, raw. with skin 4,275 Peaches, dried to 40% moisture  4,222 Apples, Granny Smith, raw, with skin 3,898 Dates, 3,895 Cherries, sweet, raw 3,747 Alcoholic beverage, wine, table, red 3,607 Figs, raw 3,383 Gooseberries, raw 3,332 Goji berry, raw 3,290 Apricots, dried to 40% moisture 3,234 Peanuts, all types, raw 3,166 Cabbage, red, 3,145 Broccoli raab, raw 3,083 Guava, white-fleshed 2,550 Mangosteen, 2,510 Lettuce, raw 2,426 Asparagus, raw 2,252 Cauliflower, purple, cooked 2,210 Pears, green cultivars, with peel, raw 2,201 Radish seeds, sprouted, raw 2,184 Sweet potato, baked in skin 2,115 Bread, whole grain 2,104

Medium ORAC foods

Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties 2,103 Cauliflower, purple, raw 2,084 Cabbage, savoy, boiled 2,050 Nuts, cashew nuts, raw 1,948 Beet greens, raw 1,946 Avocados, Hass, raw 1,922 Peaches, raw 1,922 Arugula (rocket), raw 1,904 Beans, navy, mature seeds, raw 1,861 Grapes, red, raw 1,837 Radishes, raw 1,750 Grapes, black 1,746 Pears, raw 1,746  popcorn, air-popped 1,743 Cereals, oats, old fashioned, uncooked 1,708 Nuts, macadamia nuts, dry roasted 1,695 Spinach, chopped or leaf, unprepared 1,687 Potatoes, Russet, flesh and skin, baked 1,680 Grapefruit, raw, pink and red and white, all areas 1,640 Tangerines, (mandarin oranges), raw 1,627 Onions, red, raw 1,521 Alfalfa seeds, sprouted, raw 1,510 Nuts, brazilnuts, 1,419 Lemons, raw, without peel 1,346 Potatoes, red, flesh and skin, baked 1,326 Mangos, raw 1,300 Tea, green, brewed 1,253 Grapefruit juice, white, raw 1,238

Low to medium ORAC Foods

Lemon juice, raw 1,225 Kiwi, gold, raw 1,210 Tea, brewed, prepared with tap water 1,128 Apricots, raw 1,110 Potatoes, red, flesh and skin, raw 1,098 Peppers, sweet, yellow, raw 1,043 Grapes, white or green, raw 1,018 Sauce, salsa, ready-to-serve 1,001 Peppers, sweet, orange, raw 984 Mushrooms, portabella, raw 968 Soybeans, mature seeds, sprouted, raw 962 Mushrooms, brown, Italian, or Crimini, raw 951 Pineapple, raw, extra sweet variety 943 Peppers, sweet, green, raw 935 Eggplant, raw 932 Nectarines, raw 919 Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, raw 847 Noni fruit, raw 800 Beans, snap, green, raw 799 Bananas, raw 795 793 Olive oil, extra-virgin, 766 Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin 766 Mushrooms, shiitake, dried 752 Peas, yellow, mature seeds, raw 741 Corn, sweet, yellow, raw 728 Nuts, pine nuts, dried 720 Mushrooms, maitake, raw 669 Mushroom, oyster, raw 664 Leeks, (bulb and lower leaf-portion), raw 569 Vinegar, Apple 564 Celery, raw 552 Tomatoes, plum, raw 546 Corn, sweet, yellow, frozen, kernels cut off cob, unprepared 522 Pumpkin, raw 483 Carrots, baby, raw 436 Pineapple, raw, all varieties 385 Melons, cantaloupe, raw 319 Papayas, raw 300 Banana, 260 Melons, honeydew, raw 253 Eggplant, boiled 245  Cucumber, with peel, raw 232 Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw 180 Watermelon, raw 142 Cucumber, peeled, raw 140 Cauliflower, green, raw 136 Oil, peanut, salad or cooking 106 Limes, raw 105

At home Detox retreat

At home Detox retreat



Are you feeling lethargic and have no energy, put on a few extra kilograms and looking generally unwell? Maybe it’s time for a spring clean or new year’s detoxification. The good news is February is the perfect time after the holiday celebrations to give your body a break. A simple cleanse is what your body needs to get back into shape and improve energy levels.


There are several steps to a simple cleanse.


Eliminate all alcohol, coffee and nicotine. These are the big 3 that many people over indulge and create the biggest stress on our bodies. The other dietary areas which need to be eliminated are wheat, dairy products, junk food and processed foods, meat and chicken. By eliminating each of these for 3 to 4 weeks will rest our detoxification systems such as the liver, kidney and bowels and allow them to focus on the stored toxins accumulated over a lifetime.


Once the bad elements are eliminated, fresh and wholesome foods need introduced which are high in dietary fibre and natural antioxidants. A diet which is largely vegetarian should be consumed focusing on fresh fruits for breakfast, salads for lunch and vegetables for the evening meal with the occasional fish for protein.


Vegetable juices play a key role in stimulating the body to cleanse itself. 500ml of fresh vegetable juice should be consumed across the day. Many different types of vegetables can be used, however a suggested base for taste should be carrot. Then blend greens such as celery, broccoli, cabbage, and Chinese vegetables. Beetroot is another good addition however only small amounts are needed. Ginger should also be added to improve digestion. Small amounts of fresh turmeric are also another great addition due to the high levels of natural antioxidants.


A range of symptoms may present during the cleanse as the body begins to detoxify. Initially headaches are the most common, particularly associated with caffeine withdrawal. These usually pass after a few days and as the body gently cleanses you will sleep very well and have a sense of euphoria. At some point the body may release a large amount of toxins when you start to break down fat stores. This may cause a temporary fatigue and headaches as well. The best way to avoid this is to ensure the bowels are moving regularly by consuming brown rice.


Exercise plays an important role by mobilizing toxins and encouraging sweating. Do not over exercise, however daily exercise is recommended. Brushing the body with a skin brush is also recommended to improve lymphatic circulation and stimulate blood flow to the skin which is known as the third kidney.


If you have any preexisting health conditions it is important to check with your doctor, however reducing harmful substances such as alcohol and nicotine combined with a healthy diet and exercise is never a bad thing. Enjoy yourself and your body will love you back with increased energy and a natural glow of health.




Superfoods for healthy hormones

Super foods for healthy hormones- Taken from the upcoming ebook- Healthy Hormones

It has taken many years for your hormonal system to become imbalanced and hence it will take some time to correct itself through general healthy dietary and lifestyle guidelines. Although it is essential to maintain the healthy dietary and lifestyle measures mentioned in this chapter to correct hormonal balance, there are some Superfoods which have a therapeutic effect in regulating hormone levels. In the same way processed foods, refined sugars, and bad saturated fats can accelerate hormonal imbalance, these Superfoods will accelerate the healing and regulatory processes. Hippocrates the father of medicines stated;

‘let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’,

If you can include these foods on a regular basis they will literally have a therapeutic affect and act as catalysts to restoring balance. Holistic practitioners use vitamins, mineral and herbal medicines to stimulate the body’s own internal healing processes. These foods act in the same way and when used regularly will assist to maintain hormonal balance to prevent further complications and even certain cancers.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables should be an essential addition to every woman’s dietary regime.  Examples of Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy, and Chinese vegetables. They contain two therapeutic compounds beneficial in assisting in the breakdown of hormones. Di-indolyl-methane (DIM) has been shown in numerous studies to prevent the accumulation of toxic oestrogens and encourage the correct conversion allowing good oestrogens to predominate. Toxic oestrogens have been linked to the full range of hormonal symptoms and numerous cancers such as breast cancer in women, breast cancer in men, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and even prostate cancer in men.

Organic sulphur is the other compound which is a natural antioxidant and assists the liver in processing hormones correctly and safely excreting them via the bowels and kidneys. Eating as little as one serving per week can have positive effects.


Avocados contain high amounts of good fats which assist in the production of healthy cholesterol. Hormones are manufactured from healthy cholesterol and the higher the reserves the more balanced the hormone production will be.

Avocados are a rich source of oleic acid, which has recently been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer, but it is also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein and other related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene) plus significant quantities of tocopherols (vitamin E). All these nutrients are powerful antioxidants protecting against cancer and supporting healthy glandular function.

In a laboratory study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, an extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.

Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, betasitosterol, potassium and copper. Dietary fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C and folate are all essential for the healthy function of the hormonal system.

A few quick serving ideas:

Use chopped avocados as a garnish for black bean soup.

Add avocado to your favourite creamy tofu-based dressing recipe to give it an extra richness and beautiful green colour.

Mix chopped avocados, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and seasonings for a rich-tasting twist on traditional guacamole.

Spread ripe avocados on bread as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise when making a sandwich.

For an exceptional healthy hormone salad, combine sliced avocado with Chinese broccoli leaves, cabbage, bok choy, carrot and asparagus.


Eggs have received bad press over the years for increasing cholesterol levels. It was only ever a theory popularised by physicians who did not understand the importance of healthy cholesterol for the body and the multiple functions cholesterol is responsible for such as hormone production, antioxidant transport, cardiovascular protection and nutrient transport.

For vegetarians (and carnivores), eggs provide much needed complete protein to assist in hormone transport and breakdown. Protein also slows to release of sugars into the blood after a meal, assisting in maintaining blood sugar levels which is an important piece in the puzzle for balancing hormones.

Eggs provide not only the essential healthy cholesterol, but natural lecithin that improves liver function and nourished the nervous system. The key to maximising the humble eggs therapeutic properties is to keep the yolk runny when cooking. Soft boiled or poached are the best option for cooking and preserve the wonderful therapeutic ingredients.

Two soft boiled or poached eggs for breakfast or in a salad have a therapeutic effect.

Virgin, Cold pressed oils- coconut and flaxseed oil

As discussed earlier in the chapter, it is essential to avoid bad saturated fats and include nourishing unsaturated fats. Apart from cooking with healthy oils, using them for salad dressings and placing them over vegetables, two oils – flaxseed oil and coconut oil can be taken therapeutically to assist with hormonal imbalance. Within two hours of taking 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil researchers have observed a reducing in stress levels and a general calming of the nervous system. When taken regularly 2-4 tablespoons per day flaxseed oil and coconut oil will improve nervous system stability, provide a regular source of healthy fats for good cholesterol manufacture and also improve skin lustre and condition! Coconut oil has been shown to boost metabolism and encourage weight loss.

Kiwi fruit, pears, fibre

If you are not having two healthy bowel movements each day then there are some foods which can improve this situation. Having regular bowel movements is one of the most important preventative and therapeutic treatments in regulating hormone levels. (See causes of hormonal imbalance) Two Kiwi fruit regularly every evening encourage healthy bowel movements, pears have a natural laxative action, whole grains and brown rice increase bulk in the stools and a vegetable juice everyday stimulates bowel peristalsis (movement). If all these fail to work using some psyllium husks can work. If you are still having problems maintaining two regular movements each day then you may have a sluggish liver which needs to be addressed.



In a 12-week pilot study, led by Dr. Ken Fujioka, monitored weight and metabolic factors, such as insulin secretion, of the 100 men and women who participated in the Scripps Clinic ‘Grapefruit Diet’ study.

On average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. However, many patients in the study lost more than 10 pounds.