By: Mark Hyman, MD


Healing chemicals in foods may, in the end, be more important than the protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals they contain. Practically the only thing EVERYONE agrees about in nutrition is that eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce your risk from almost every known disease of our “modern” civilization, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and all of the brain and mood disorders so many suffer from. It also protects you from rapid aging.

One of the reasons phytonutrients are so powerful has to do with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying properties. To get enough phytonutrients in your diet, try the following:

Focus on anti-inflammatory foods including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries (these are rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts.

Eat more antioxidant rich and energy boosting foods including orange and yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, spinach, etc.), anthocyanidins (berries, beets, grapes, pomegranate), and purple grape containing trans-resveratrol, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries and cherries. In fact antioxidants are in all colorful fruits and vegetables.

Include detoxifying foods in your diet such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, brocollini, broccoli rabe, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, Chinese broccoli), green tea, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, artichokes, garlic, citrus peels, pomegranate, and even cocoa.

Use hormone balancing foods such as whole soy foods and ground flax seeds.

Use herbs such as turmeric, rosemary, and ginger that are powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and detoxifiers.

Eat garlic and onions noted for their cholesterol blood-pressure-lowering and antioxidant effects.  They are also anti-inflammatory and enhance detoxification.

Drink green tea, which contains abundant amounts of anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and antioxidant phytonutrients.

And yes … chocolate, only the darkest, most luxurious kind and only 1-2 ounces a day.  It should be 70 percent cocoa.