Is food medicine? This question has never been so current and contentious as right now.
A growing number of physicians are “prescribing” foods not only for weight management, but also to prevent chronic diseases. According to Michelle McMacken, MD, assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, we have the power to prevent about 80% of chronic disease through simple lifestyle habits, and of those, nutrition is at the top of the list.
We already know that diabetes and heart disease are illnesses that are highly influenced by one’s diet – and the same can be said for allergies, autoimmune disorders like arthritis, thyroid disorders and many more. Fact is, all over South Africa we see the proof of unhealthy foods’ side effects: high blood pressure, obesity, joint problems, sleep and respiratory problems, guilt and frustration.
However, studies show that food can tip the scale in favour of preventing disease even if it runs in your family. Fruit and vegetables, for instance, are associated with tremendous cardio vascular risk reduction. Just two and a half servings of fruit and vegetables per day will lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 8% and your chances of having a stroke by 16%!
The food we eat has an effect on inflammation levels, balancing hormones and blood sugar levels, brain and heart health; and once consumed, acts like medicine. The question though… if you could choose food over medicine, would you?
For most of us, medicines are tablets and pills, but in ancient times food was both nourishment and medicine. The “food-as-medicine movement” has been around for decades, in fact, Hippocrates encouraged people to eat a nutrient dense diet 400 BC; claiming that wholesome food is the basis for good health. Sadly, food’s role in nourishing body and mind has been lost among an avalanche of fads and quackery.
“Food-as-medicine” is nothing different from what we know already about eating healthy; some of the medicinal foods include organic vegetables and fresh fruits, grass-fed and free range meats, low-glycaemic carbs, low fat dairy products and good fats. Other superfoods and condiments include apple cider vinegar, garlic, raw honey, turmeric, cinnamon and cocoa, to name but a few. Also, healthy drinks are free from added sugar and include water, herbal teas, veggie juices, bone broth, as well as coffee and red wine in moderation.
A healthy diet is a powerful tool for protecting one’s health, but, and here’s the kicker, you can’t be healthy simply by cutting down on the junk that you eat. You have to consciously up your intake on natures healing gifts. Think about it, if you look at what you eat as medicine, maybe you’ll think twice before you reach for artificial, chemically treated, metabolism-messing non-food foods.
Although healing foods are one of the best ways to manage symptoms and increase the odds of recovery, it is still best to seek medical care from a professional and not to discontinue any medications without the green light from a medical practitioner.
Take charge of your health and wellbeing by gaining knowledge about what your body needs.
“The food that you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine… or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
Source: draxe.com, www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu, www.superchargedfood.com, chopra.com, www.healio.com, edition.cnn.com, www.todaysdietician.com, www.greenmedinfo.com, www.prevention.com, kimberlysnyder.com, meetzipongo.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.theguardian.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.