In its purest form, food is medicine for the body, and can help you fight diseases, inflammation, and more.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
- Hippocrates 400 B.C.
Hippocrates was ahead of his time when he advised people to prevent and treat diseases first and foremost by eating a nutrient-dense diet. Long before we used prescription drugs (and opioids) to treat disease, wise tribal elders would seek out healing herbs, plants, and food. Unfortunately, we’ve since moved away from the healing power of nature towards over prescribing synthetic drugs and artificial remedies.
Food has the power to activate the body’s healing mechanisms. Food influences gene expression  and personalized diets can be used to prevent or cure chronic diseases.
- give cells energy
- maintain health
- allow the body to recover
- prevent disease
“Plant-based diets are the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.”
- Michael Greger M.D. FACLM
Step Away From Processed Foods
In the U.S. we live in the land of plenty. The processed “comfort foods” we regularly consume may be convenient and tasty, but they compromise our health. Saturated fats and sugars in highly processed foods can trigger a cascade of events that may leave us sleepy, tired and craving more food. In fact, consumption of foods high in saturated and industrially produced trans fats, salt, and sugar is the cause of at least 14 million deaths .
Sugar, white flour, and dairy have been described as the “Three White Deaths”. Packaged foods with a long expiration date and animal products full of antibiotics and hormones are making us sick. The solution is to reduce processed foods and go organic.
Our hunter gatherer ancestors did not have saturated fats, antibiotics, and preservatives to deal with. In a simpler time our diet was also much healthier, consisting of herbs, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and wild game.
How Food Can Heal
Food is nature’s medicine - without any side effects. Yes, other factors add up to good health, such as exercise, stress management, and proper sleep, but diet is the foundation stone upon which you can build - and is something you can usually control.
Thinking about what is at the end of your fork can help you to avoid specific illnesses that arise due to years of unhealthy eating. The foods you include in your diet play a vital role in controlling inflammation, balancing blood sugar, fixing cardiovascular health (including blood pressure and cholesterol levels), helping the digestive organs to process and eliminate waste, and much, much more.
Medically tailored meals reduce hospitalizations emergency visits, and overall healthcare spending. We’re seeing progress at the national level! In January 2018, House lawmakers got bipartisan support to create the Food is Medicine Working Group. The organization hopes to improve health outcomes in the U.S. by expanding access to healthy food and nutrition education. As part of the initiative, medically tailored meals will be given to patients with illnesses like cancer, HIV, diabetes, and heart failure .
Tips For Healthy Eating
- Focus your grocery shopping around the perimeter of the store since this is where the fresh foods are usually kept
- Have courage to try a vegetable you’ve never heard of
- Discard an item if the ingredients listed on the package look more like a chemistry equation than a nutritious food item
- Review our superfoods checklist
photo credit: lightwise © 123rf.com
Dr. Sandy Ziya offers nutritional consultations.