We're all committed to nourishing our bodies, but do you ever think about feeding your soul? Medical Medium Anthony William believes in the inherent but often untapped healing powers of foods to restore health spiritually. In his second book, "Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love With the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables," William details more than 50 foods along with their healing properties and spiritual effects, describing the ailments they target—including everything from anxiety to brain fog to fatigue.
On the flip side of the coin is the medical medium's list of foods to avoid, which (thankfully) is shorter, with only 14 foods and ingredients landing a spot on William's do-not-eat list. Spanning MSG and gluten to farmed fish and canola oil, these foods "can substantially worsen already-existing illnesses [and] trigger new health conditions," per William.
Knowledge is power, so we're highlighting our four favorite healing foods from William's list, along with scientific evidence to substantiate each food's designation as a superfood.
The claim: Dubbed the "mother fruit" by William, the avocado is as much of a nurturing comfort food as it is a nutritional powerhouse (it's the closest food on the planet to breast milk, claims William). Beyond its ability to give you the warm fuzzies, avocados are beneficial for the brain and the digestive tract. The fruit contains phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory compounds that help ease digestive disorders, while omega-6 fatty acids "help restore the central nervous system and alleviate Alzheimer's and dementia." Bonus: William suggests that eating avocados can contribute to a dewy-fresh complexion and help lessen the appearance of under-eye circles.
The proof: Scientific studies about Hass avocados support William's esteem for the bumpy-skinned fruit. Packed with fiber and key nutrients (think magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C) and naturally low in sugar and sodium, avocados are linked to improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and healthy aging. By adding one-half of an avocado (the official serving size determined by the NHANES) to your meal, it's plausible that you could experience lowered cholesterol levels, more normalized blood pressure, improved skin elasticity, and longer satiation between meals, among other benefits.
The claim: Always a go-to for stomach ills or when we're feeling under the weather, "ginger is one of the most important tools for giving ourselves respite from a reactive state," says William. Use the herb for any stress-related illnesses to calm nerves and muscles and release the tension, even from deeper within. As William puts it, "just like we can turn to ginger to work the kinks out of our muscles and the knots out of our stomachs, we can let it work that antispasmodic magic on our souls, cleansing us of wounds and damage without us having to do anything other than let it."
Ginger is one of the most important tools for giving ourselves respite from a reactive state.
The proof: While there's no hard evidence that ginger can act as a spiritual cure-all, there is proof that it's one of the best foods for nausea. This is due to the rhizome's high concentration of gingerols and shogaols, the pungent (and antioxidant) properties responsible for ginger's spicy kick. Whether consumed in capsule form, in tea, or another mode of preparation, ginger is an effective, natural, and science-backed antidote for nausea and vomiting—just stay below 1,000 mg/daily, the dosage recommended by most clinical studies.
The claim: We all know the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away, " yet we continue to underestimate its power, according to William. "The fruit's anti-inflammatory properties make it a top pick when you're faced with practically any illness," says William. In terms of emotional support, "the apple is an ancient food that brings us back to the source," he says, providing comfort and lightening your spirit.
The proof: In studies investigating the effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on chronic diseases, it was found that people with produce-heavy diets exhibited a lessened risk of cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even cataracts. The protective effect of the fruits and veggies is attributed to their phytochemicals, and these non-nutrient plant compounds abound in both the skin and flesh of the fruit. Moreover, apples are naturally high in fiber and vitamin C, and they boast one of highest levels of antioxidants among fruits commonly consumed in the U.S., second only to cranberries.
The claim: "If you feel out of touch with miracles, then reacquaint yourself with honey," suggests William. Raw honey repairs DNA and is high in essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, and zinc. William says to incorporate it into your diet to strengthen your immunity and also to light you up and feed your soul.
The proof: William certainly isn't the first to recognize the healing powers of honey: Stone Age paintings depicting the treatment of disease with a bee product suggest that human interest in honey stretches back some 8,000 years. Over the course of history, honey has solidified its position in both traditional and modern medicine thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial properties; in fact, honey has been proven to have an inhibitory effect on around 60 species of bacteria, plus some species of fungi and viruses, which is why honey has readily been used in topical wound dressings.