Why Food Could Be The Best Medicine Of All
It was only a mere 2,500 years ago that Hippocrates said, “Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food.”
In the day and age of COVID, our health is more on our minds than ever. What you may not know however, is that your diet is one of the greatest indicators of health. In America, 50% of our food is processed, whereas only 5% is plant-based. These numbers are complete opposites of what we need to see for ultimate health and well-being.
Research shows that your dietary habits influence your risk of disease.
Something as simple as your food choice can make the difference between getting sick, avoiding diabetes, or helping to prevent cancer. Yes, processed foods are convenient and can make our day seem easier, but the long term side effects are usually not worth saving 30 minutes cooking a meal.
How To Support Wellness Goals With Healthy Foods
Knowing where your food comes from and what it’s made of, is a huge part of taking your power back. When you eat, you are giving your body fuel and energy to function, providing information to your cells, and maintaining your health which may help prevent disease.
When you incorporate ideas from other cultures into Western Medicine you realize how much control you truly have over your health and well-being. Although there is growing research on the power of food to treat or reverse disease, that doesn’t mean diet alone may always be the solution or that every illness can benefit substantially from dietary changes…but it could be a start or have major influence.
Physicians say that when they look at the cumulative data, a clear picture emerges that the salt, sugar, fat, and processed foods in the American diet contribute to the nation’s high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Instead of pushing a fad diet on yourself, or over-exhausting your body with exercise, simply shift your perspective on food.
Food is fuel and medicine. We put high quality gas in our cars to make them work more efficiently, our bodies are no different. In order to shift your perspective on food and make healthier choices, you can adjust your diet in the following ways:
- Replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats, including sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- Ensure generous consumption of fruits and vegetables and adequate folic acid intake
- Increase fiber consumption to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, assist in detoxification, and weight management
- Consume adequate amounts of protein to maintain lean muscle mass
- Limit consumption of sugar and sugar-based beverages
- Limit excessive caloric intake from any source
- Limit sodium intake
If you want to strengthen your bones, focus on eating more foods rich in Calcium like salmon, dark leafy vegetables, tofu, and perhaps calcium fortified juices and milks when veggies aren’t always a part of your daily routine. Increase Vitamin D (get your sun time in or take a supplement), have sufficient Magnesium (whole grains, spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds), look to vitamin K (green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli), and don’t forget Boron (tomato, pear, apple, prunes, raisins, peanuts, almonds, dates, honey, and seafood.)
Now let’s talk about foods for brain health. Choline is a building block for acetylcholine, which is a crucial neurotransmitter that is responsible for healthy mental functioning. Choline can be found in soybeans, peanuts, eggs, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, banana, milk, oranges, lentils, oats, barley, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and whole wheat bread. Lecithin granules are my favorite way to get this brain food!
Omega 3 fatty acids are ESSENTIAL for brain health and function. You can find Omega 3’s in salmon, halibut, mackerel, herring, tuna, sardines, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and freshly ground flaxseeds or oil. Zinc is another mineral that is crucial to brain health. Zinc can be found in liver, red meat, egg yolks, dairy products, whole-grain cereals, seafood (particularly oysters and shellfish), sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Your heart healthy foods are going to include healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, and fish), nuts and seeds (particularly almonds and pumpkin seeds), antioxidant-rich foods (sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, and cod liver oil – which are rich in vitamin A, as well as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, red pepper, and broccoli which are all rich in vitamin D.) Dark chocolate is my favorite heart healthy antioxidant rich food!
At the end of the day, the food building blocks that you use to strengthen and fuel your body make up so much of your health and well being.
p.s. Just in case you are looking for a specific food, supplement, or any other wellness need, reach out to us here at 916-253-9276 and we would be happy to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
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