the one food pretty much all diets agree on. Many diets will rank vegetables based on their nutrient density. However, Chinese medicine ranks by healing properties. Any whole food actually has the potential to help or hinder our health. Try eating raw salads when you have chronic diarrhea. Your tummy won’t be too happy. Here are a few “honorable mentions” that can often be a quite beneficial despite their low nutrient density.
Radishes are a heavy favorite for me. Sure, their nutrition profile may appear paltry, but radishes have some rather significant effects elsewhere. First and foremost, radishes have an impressive effect on the respiratory system. They clear mucus from the sinuses and throat and relieve sore throat and hoarseness. Radishes have also been used historically as a flu preventative. No flu shots for this guy! Additionally, radishes are useful for indigestion and removing stagnant food. I’ve successfully used a radish or two after a heavy meal to relieve that bloated, full feeling. Some sources suggest radishes make a good detoxifier and may help with hypertension.
It’s time to shed light on the “cool as a cucumber” saying! Cucumbers, true to the saying, cool the body down. Because of this, cucumbers can be utilized for many inflammatory conditions but also general feelings of heat. Cucumbers also have a cleansing affect on the blood, making them useful for skin conditions. An enzyme in cucumbers (erepsis) assists in protein breakdown and intestinal cleansing. Eaten with the skin (organic please), cucumbers contain a decent amount of silicon. Silicon is important because of its role in connective tissue structures (hair, nails, bones, skin) and is useful for cardiovascular health (prevention of arteriosclerosis). Their moistening and cooling nature also makes cucumbers especially useful on hot summer days.
Celery is amongst my personal favorites. Good with hummus, nut butters, or by itself. Another silicon rich vegetable, celery is known for being useful in the treatment of high blood pressure. Celery has a cooling nature on the body and improves digestion. Because of the latter, it is one of my staples for ensuring digestive harmony. It also quells inflammation and can be useful for eye irritation, urinary discomfort, acne, canker sores, and weight loss. Low carb, high satiety, and it has to be chewed thoroughly making it an ideal weight loss snack.
Together, I refer to these three vegetables as my “cleaners.” They all have some cleansing effect on the body, blood, or digestive system. They pair well with just about anything, and need little to no preparation.