I recently read a blog post by a woman who hails from Florida. Having suffered from several severe hurricanes, she has her list of the top 5 food items to prepare for a hurricane. These include: beans, peanut butter, seaweed, canned tuna and dried fruit. Although I had never thought about it, this list made so much sense to me.
First of all, beans and dried fruit are great sources of complex carbohydrates and provide energy over an extended period of time, rather than a quick burst of energy followed by a crash which one gets when consuming refined foods such as (white pasta, white bread or white rice). Dried fruit also contains lots of important vitamins and minerals.
Nuts are a great source of fat. Fat is important because it serves several important functions in the body. First and foremost, fats keep us warm; they help regulate hormone function; they surround and protect our vital organs and keep our cell walls strong; and help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Canned tuna is a good source of protein, which is another important macronutrient in the body (along with carbohydrates and fats). Canned tuna (and here I would recommend the canned tuna packed in oil) also has a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for brain function and to prevent inflammation. They also have been shown to have a beneficial effect on depression. Seaweeds are full of essential vitamins and minerals, especially selenium, iron and iodine. They have also been shown to be antioxidant and help prevent the assimilation of heavy metals.
Many packaged and processed foods are not only devoid of important nutrients, they also have lots of chemicals which allow them to remain on supermarket shelves for extended periods of time. Some of these, such as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), can cause severe migraines, as well as other neurological effects. In addition, they are often loaded with sugars, also to allow them to remain in supermarkets for a long time. Sugar, as well as refined carbohydrates, cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels that weaken your immune system and deplete your energy.
So, the next time you go to the grocery store, stock up on foods that will provide essential nutrients — complex carbohydrates, good quality fats and proteins — that will give you the strength to face what Mother Nature has in store.
Rachel Khanna is a Certified Health Counselor. She resides with her husband and four daughters in Greenwich. Visit her website at: http://www.healthytiffin.net