Healing Foods: Dr. Pompa’s Top 10 List
In our increasingly toxic world, proper diet and lifestyle choices are more important than ever before in history. In order to feel our best we need to provide our bodies with the most healing foods and God-given natural remedies available. I’m excited to share with you my top 10 healing foods, in no particular order, that give your body the boost it needs to handle the onslaught of modern toxins encountered on a daily basis. These foods can help enhance immunity, digestion, hormone balance, weight loss, detoxification, brain function, and more. They will also aid in decreasing inflammation in the body, which lies at the root of most contemporary disease. Though I do not believe there is one diet that is right for everyone, consuming these foods on a regular basis will support any health condition at the cellular level, where all healing begins.
Dr. Pompa’s Top 10 Healing Foods
INCLUDE these foods to radically improve your health from the inside out:
Healing Foods 1: Bone Broth
What’s bone broth? As the name suggests, it is stock made from the bones of animals, and remains one of the most healing and non-reactive foods on the planet. Though not commonly consumed in America today, bone broth has been used as a healing tool for thousands of years by nearly every civilization. Healthy animal bones are rich in valuable vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, and when consumed in stock form are easily recognized and absorbed by the body. Bone broth also contains collagen, the base material of our cells which is integral to cellular regeneration and healing. Drinking the broth can improve the appearance of your skin and can even reduce cellulite!
Bone broth is easy to digest and prepare, and is extremely healing for the gut. Many of my patients, and many Americans for that matter, have issues with their gut that impede the healing of other coexisting ailments. One common gut issue is a condition called leaky gut. As the name suggests, leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions that make-up the gut wall become inflamed and cause undigested food proteins to leak across, resulting in inflammation. Our modern diet full of GMOs, grains, sugars and other toxic substances is the root cause. In severe leaky gut cases, everything that a person eats becomes an irritant and drives persistent, systemic inflammation throughout the body. Fasting exclusively on bone broth starves down all gut bacteria, good and bad. Post-fast, the gut is then re-inoculated with good bacteria which helps to reset an imbalanced and leaky gut. Fasting gives the gut time to heal, and also brings much needed nutrition to a depleted body.
Bone broth fasting is an incredibly simple and effective tool for getting my sickest patients well. And fortunately it is easy and inexpensive to make this healing food in your own kitchen. In preparation for making the broth, be sure to choose bones from 100% grass-fed and organic animals for the most healing effect. I typically recommend using beef bones, but poultry and fish bones work as well. To read more about the healing effects of bone broth, watch a video on the topic, and view the recipe HERE.
Healing Foods 2: Whey Water
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician known as the Father of Modern Medicine, recommended whey water to his patients and even referred to it as “healing water”. So there must be something to it, right? Many of my healing protocols incorporate high-quality whey water, which, akin to bone broth, remains an under-utilized ancient tool for healing modern diseases. Whey water is the liquid that remains after making cultured dairy products like yogurt, and contains very unique bacteria that cannot be found in a probiotic pill or powder. I know probiotics are very popular today, partly due to the massive increase in gut problems, but most do very little to fix a leaky gut condition or other severe gut problems I observe in patients. Whey water boasts trillions of bacteria, compared to billions in the best probiotics, and contains bacteria I believe we have yet to discover. More and more research is finding the impact of these bacteria on our health is greater than we ever thought. Bacteria can change how our cells communicate with our hormones, and can even change our gene expression for good…or bad!
Other than containing beneficial probiotic cultures, whey water has many other healing qualities. It has a profound restorative effect on the body’s three main detoxification pathways: the liver, kidneys, and gut. Yet I believe whey water’s greatest healing attribute is that it contains the perfect ratio of sodium and potassium, which resets the way cells move toxins out and nutrients in, promoting balance at the cellular level. For very sick and sensitive patients, I often suggest a combination of consuming bone broth and whey water within a fasting period. Whey water is particularly beneficial to drink after fasting, because it adds good bacteria back into the gut. And for those who simply want to take their health to the next level or lose weight, I suggest fasting for 3 to 4 days drinking only whey water. After the fast, continue to drink at least one bottle of whey water and consume beef stock daily for one month. Watch what happens to your health!
Healing Foods 3: 100% Grass-Fed, Organic Beef
Man has consumed meat since time immemorial. Eating meat is not the problem: it is what man has done to the meat that is causing the real health concerns. Human beings can exist without carbohydrates, but cannot live without protein and fat. Grass-fed, organic beef provides our bodies with high quality protein, which is the building block of tissues and cells. However, there is a significant distinction between conventionally produced meat and organic, grass-fed meat raised as God intended. The difference lies in the meat’s fatty acid ratio. A meat’s ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids affects our health more than the measure of the fatty acids themselves. And, given that God designed cows to eat grass, when they are fed a diet of GMO grain their fatty acid ratio changes and the good fats denature into bad fats. This imbalanced ratio causes health issues for those who regularly consume grain-fed meat, and commercial pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones loaded in the meat further add to the toxic load.
Grass-fed beef also contains the two most vilified, yet essential, fats fundamental to optimal cellular health and brain function: saturated fat and cholesterol. I know that you have been told for years to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, but these two fats actually help prevent, not cause, heart disease 2 and diabetes 3. When consumed in a healthy form like grass-fed beef, saturated fat and cholesterol are your friend and will not make you fat. On the contrary, they will help you lose weight and become a more efficient fat burner! Good fat is the most important and missing nutrient in the modern American diet, and many diseases today can be linked to the lack of healthy fats. Bad fats, like those in vegetable oils and conventional meat, drive cellular inflammation. Good fats work to fix the problem. Eating good fats like those found in grass-fed beef as our ancestors did, while decreasing intake of grains and sugars, will positively impact many aspects of your health and help you drop stubborn pounds for good.
Healing Foods 4: Fermented Vegetables
We all know how great vegetables are for healing and maintaining good health. But to super-charge the healing power of vegetables, ferment them! Fermentation involves the conversion of a carbohydrate into an acid or alcohol, and naturally happens in different foods providing the right conditions. Many common foods and drinks are fermented including coffee, cheese, pickles, beer and yogurt. Before refrigeration existed, our ancestors used to ingest a wide variety of trillions of good bacteria daily because they fermented foods to extend the length of time that they could be consumed. Fermentation is truly a lost art, and holds the key to healing many chronic conditions, especially disorders of the gut. I believe if we were still consuming fermented foods regularly, we would not be seeing the epidemic of modern health problems like obesity, autoimmune conditions, allergies, and debilitating gut conditions that often lead to other illnesses. Though a great modern convenience, imagine where our world would be had the refrigerator never come to pass!
A type of bacteria called Bacteroides is one of the most important and abundant bacteria in the colon. It is acquired at birth and is not present in any probiotic on the market because it cannot survive outside the gut in the presence of oxygen. And though Bacteroides can’t be taken in a pill or powder, they can be fed and multiplied from prebiotics (the food for bacteria) that occurs naturally in healthy and fermented foods. Eating fermented foods supplies trillions of bacteria to impact our gut health and more yet-to-be discovered bacteria that could be the most miraculous of all for healing.
Sprayed, washed, and processed vegetables will not contain enough beneficial microbes to make an impact on your health. Eating raw, non-washed, organic vegetables will help, but to truly affect your health and digestion, eating fermented vegetables will make all the difference. Fermented vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients which enhance liver detoxification, digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties. Homemade, lacto-fermented, raw sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and other cultured vegetables are a delight and easy to make at home once you begin the routine. There are a number of different ways to start a ferment: you can use a little whey liquid from fresh yogurt, whey water, liquid from a previous fresh ferment, or salt. Click here for a delicious sauerkraut recipe to start fermenting today. Your gut will thank you!
Healing Foods 5: Full-Fat, Cultured Dairy
Consuming cultured dairy was one of the first changes our family made when we started our journey of bringing whole-food nutrition into our lives. Cultured dairy is far superior to modern homogenized and pasteurized dairy which is full of antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, and devoid of milk’s innate life-giving qualities. Some benefits of cultured dairy include reduced lactose (milk sugar), immune-building probiotics, high amounts of B and C vitamins, increased digestibility due to decreased casein (milk protein) and increased enzymes. It’s uniquely tangy and delicious!
Full-fat cultured dairy like cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir and heavy cream all contain valuable saturated fat and cholesterol, vital to cellular regeneration and function. Please stay away from the current fat-free and low-fat dairy products, which do more harm to the body than good. The healthy fat in cultured dairy is where the magic lies and helped keep our ancestors healthy.
A significant but little known fact is that 99% of conventional dairy products in the USA contain a toxic protein called A1 Beta-Casein. A1 Beta-Casein is a transmuted gene in most modern cows that is 23 times more toxic to the body than gluten. It’s no surprise that many people react negatively to conventional dairy products. However, consuming cultured dairy products from an older breed of cows, called A2 cows, that do not have the A1 Beta-Casein mutation can offer remarkable health benefits. The dairy from A2 cows does not cause reactions like the dairy from A1 cows’ triggers. You can also try sheep and goat milk dairy products to avoid the A1 Beta-Casein concern.
Culturing your own dairy is your best and most cost-effective bet to reap the healing effects of these ancient foods. But, if you don’t have the time or desire to commit to home fermentation, click here to see where I get my cultured A2 dairy products.
Healing Foods 6: Coconut Oil
For thousands of years coconut oil has been used around the world for internal and external health, skin, and hair care. And it is all the rage these days for good reason: its range of benefits to the body is quite impressive. Coconut oil is linked to improved thyroid function, increased metabolism (resulting in weight-loss), increased immunity, and better heart health. It’s also anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and chock full of brain charging saturated fat. Wow!
The kind of saturated fat found in coconut oil is called lauric acid, and is a Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT), which is a special type of fatty acid that the body metabolizes more fully for energy than long chain fatty acids found in standard oils and fats. The fat content in coconut oil is approximately 60% MCTs. This fatty acid can also raise your good cholesterol levels. High-quality fat is crucial for cellular health because it provides the building blocks to heal the cell membrane. If your cell membrane is inflamed and poorly functioning, your health will be negatively affected and disease will eventually develop. By adding the right fats to your diet, you can heal the cell membrane and begin to heal disease in your body.
If you want to get lean and improve many bodily functions, add a few spoonfuls of coconut oil to your daily diet. It’s excellent for use in cooking due to its high smoking point (350 degrees Fahrenheit), and is also great as a detoxifier through the practice of oil pulling and for external skin application as an anti-aging moisturizer. Its uses are seemingly endless. I like to swirl a spoonful into my coffee, smoothies, dressings, or even consume a heaping spoonful mid-day for a quick “fat bomb” which helps to regulate blood sugar. When buying coconut oil, choose organic, unrefined and raw for the most healing effect.
Healing Foods 7: Pasture-raised eggs
Eggs are a spectacular health food for many reasons. They are an easy to consume form of pure protein containing the all-important cholesterol and saturated fat to keep our bodies and brains functioning at top capacity. The best eggs to consume are those laid by pasture-raised hens. Pasture raised hens are raised in the traditional way, allowed to naturally roam outside in the sun so the eggs have a higher vitamin D level than eggs from factory farmed birds living in confinement. These hens also eat the natural diet of bugs and worms that God intended, instead of being pumped full of modern-day antibiotics, hormones and a steady diet of GMOs. According to Mother Earth News, pastured eggs also contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and A, and beta-carotene than factory farmed birds.
Furthermore, the term “free-range” does not necessarily mean the hens that laid your eggs had access to a natural outdoor area and ate a traditional diet. The hens may have only been allowed to come in and out of a door to range outside on dirt or concrete. Pastured eggs have lively orange yolks and are worth paying a few dollars more per dozen due to their superior nutrient content. You definitely get more “bang for your buck” per egg. However, free-range eggs are a better option than factory farmed eggs. To find pasture-raised eggs, take a trip to your local farmers market and ask questions to know what you’re buying and when the eggs were laid for maximum freshness.
BONUS: Here’s a super easy recipe for my “eggnog” smoothie, loaded with good saturated fat and clean protein. An excellent way to start the day!
Blend all ingredients until smooth:
2 whole, organic pastured eggs
½ can unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk
1 cup ice
2 capfuls organic vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg and cinnamon
Optional: stevia to taste
Healing Foods 8: Sea Salt
Salt has been consumed by humans since the beginning of time. Our blood is mostly made up of sodium (about 85%), thus salt is central to existence and cellular health. Salt is needed for numerous bodily functions, including nerve and muscle function and electrolyte balance. Benefits include blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, enhanced bone strength, and the stabilization of irregular heartbeats and sleep. Akin to whey water, salt contains sodium and potassium, which must remain in constant balance for our cells to function optimally and naturally detox.
We need not fear salt, but not all salts are created equal. Differences exist between modern table salt (found in most American homes and restaurants) and traditionally harvested sea salt that are important to understand. First, they are obtained and processed differently. Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits and is highly processed to remove valuable trace minerals. High-quality sea salt is hand-harvested from evaporated sea water, thus minerals from the water are left intact for consumption. Secondly, the mineral iodine is often added to modern table salt. Iodine affects our thyroid health and the mineral was originally added to table salt due to increased thyroid disease rates associated with iodine deficiency. Though iodine is a crucial component to cellular health, modern iodized table salt is devoid of the many naturally occurring minerals in sea salt and contains toxic additives like fluoride and anti-caking agents. Sea salt contains the trace minerals removed from table salt, due to the natural method of harvesting, and has a superior flavor and texture.
It’s better to obtain iodine from whole foods in your diet and use sea salt for cooking and seasoning to obtain the valuable minerals. There are many healthy foods rich in iodine which promote good thyroid health, including seaweed, seafood, fermented dairy products, eggs and strawberries. Simply replace processed foods coated in poor quality salt, and eat whole foods naturally rich in iodine, using sea salt to flavor as needed.
Healing Foods 9: Organic, Shade-Grown, Arabic Coffee
Does coffee have a positive or negative effect on your health? You’ve likely been hearing plenty of mixed messages about coffee over the years. In my opinion, coffee is a wonderful health food, used medicinally for thousands of years as a drink and as an enema to cleanse the colon. It is loaded with free radical fighting antioxidants and brain-stimulating caffeine, and its benefits outweigh the risks. However, coffee is only beneficial to the body if the right type is consumed in the right way. This is a BIG if!
To get the benefits of coffee make sure to drink freshly ground, organic coffee. Most coffee sold in stores is at least eight weeks old and already stale, which lessens the valuable antioxidants it contains. Traditionally shade-grown coffee is also preferable because it develops half the acidity of conventional coffee. Of the two types of coffee called Robusta and Arabica, Robusta contains twice the acidity and caffeine content of Arabica, so choose Arabica beans when possible. It is also important to use only healthy sweeteners if desired, and avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs.
To further enhance your morning cup of joe, spoon in some healthy fat. Adding good fat to your coffee fuels your brain and helps to get your day off to a great start. Fat also protects the antioxidants in coffee, controls blood sugar and prevents many modern diseases1. Stir in a spoonful or two of any of the following fats to make your coffee a super health food: grass-fed, organic heavy cream; grass-fed, organic butter; butter oil; coconut oil; or MCT oil.
You can get a free pound of the coffee that my wife and I drink, which I feel is the best available today, by clicking here. It is USDA Certified Organic, shade-grown with high anti-oxidant levels, mold-free, and sustainably harvested. For even more information on making your coffee a health food and to watch my video on the topic, click here. Keep in mind, you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive coffee consumption stresses our precious adrenal glands. Moderation is key.
Healing Foods 10: Kombucha
Kombucha is a naturally raw, fermented, bubbly tea beverage that is loaded with beneficial probiotics. Kombucha has been brewed by cultures for thousands of years, and according to Kombucha Kamp’s website, its benefits include detoxification, strengthening the immune system and improving digestion. The unique beverage is made from tea, water, sugar, and a bacteria culture which ferments the drink called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The SCOBY is a living organism, akin to a starter bacteria culture used to make sourdough bread, kefir or yogurt. The sugar is a necessary ingredient for the SCOBY to feed upon and for fermentation to occur. You may be thinking “Isn’t sugar bad for me?” In short, yes. Consuming refined sugar in the form of desserts and grains creates inflammation in the body and can trigger many health conditions. However, the sugar used in the kombucha making process is transformed by the SCOBY into healthy acids, and very little sugar remains once fermented, so the benefits of the good probiotics in kombucha outweigh the small amount of sugar it contains. The sugar content of the kombucha is dictated by the length of time the tea is fermented, with shorter fermentation periods yielding a higher quantity of sugar. Longer fermentation is therefore preferable. Cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, honey (not raw), maple syrup, and molasses may be used to feed the SCOBY, but follow recipes when experimenting with different ingredient combinations to avoid contamination.
Selling around $4 a pop at your local health food store, retail kombucha is pricey. Luckily it’s easy and fun to make your very own batches at home. Gifted team member and nutritional consultant Faith Hill shares her recipe for making delicious kombucha in your own kitchen. Click Here to view the recipe and start brewing.
- Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB, Herrington DM. Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal.
- Knopp R and Retzlaff B: Saturated fat prevents coronary heart disease? An American paradox. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No5, 1102-1103, November 2004
- Dariush Mozaffarian, Haiming Cao, Irena B. King, Rozenn N. Lemaitre, Xiaoling Song, David Siscovick, and Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, Trans-Palmitoleic Acid, Metabolic Risk Factors, and New-Onset Diabetes in U.S. Adults, Annals of Internal Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, 2010, December