“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –Hippocrates
I am in awe of Hippocrates’ wisdom, yet only recently has research begun to prove that the foods we eat are not only beneficial to your health, but truly heal. This makes me so passionate about helping people learn how to heal themselves with nutrition!
Many nutrients not only prevent health problems, but also alleviate them. Wouldn’t you prefer to benefit from the nutrients in foods and beverages than taking prescription medications that merely put a bandage on your symptoms? …and as we know, with each prescription there are side effects.
Healthy nutrition should be the first weapon of choice when taking charge of your health. Remember – Food is Your Medicine!
Eating healthy can improve your life by helping you to:
• reduce inflammation in your body
• boost your immune system
• reverse disorders and disease
• reduce your risk of developing disorders and disease
• increase your energy
• decrease cravings
• lose and maintain weight
• improve digestion and elimination
• reduce cholesterol values
• balance blood sugar, and
• maintain your blood pressure, to name a few benefits.
From the common cold to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer…your risks can plummet.
Research is showing that the foods with the greatest benefits are plant-based: vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. They contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, enzymes, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, and the newest research confirms that we should all be eating more plants to achieve our best health. Animal proteins and dairy products did not make the list. That is not to say they do not possess beneficial qualities, but they may also increase acidity, inflammation, and toxicity in our bodies, all of which increase our risk for premature aging, disorders, and disease.
Research is also showing that there is a synergistic effect when combining particular foods or substances together that makes them even more nutritious and more bioavailable for our bodies than when they are eaten separately, such as spinach and tomatoes, cinnamon and whole grains, green tea and lemon, and turmeric and black pepper.
Then we have superfoods and functional foods – just what are they? Superfoods are known for being health-enhancing and are naturally rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants (based on the ORAC scale). Superfoods include specific spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins that are known to improve well-being and longevity. There are superfoods that come from exotic locations, but you can save money by supporting your local farmers and purchasing local, seasonal, organic produce. Some superfoods are common in our diet, such as almonds, apples, beans, berries, cinnamon, dark chocolate, leafy greens, low-fat yogurt, onions, oranges, quinoa, tea, tomatoes, walnuts, and wild salmon.
Functional foods, on the other hand, are common foods that have specific nutrients added to them for a specific purpose, such as pre- and probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Examples include adding calcium to orange juice, and vitamins and minerals to breads and cereals. If you are deficient in certain nutrients it is possible to fill the gap by eating functional foods.
So clean out your kitchens of processed foods containing excess sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and ingredients you cannot pronounce and choose to eat clean, whole, and minimally processed foods. Load up your plates with a rainbow of colorful veggies, grab fresh fruit when your sweet tooth is calling, and if you eat meat, poultry, and dairy products, try to limit them to one serving per day. Increase the number of meatless meals you have each week. Choose plant proteins for your other meals and snacks, such as a variety of beans, legumes, and nuts and seeds (including nut/seed butters and plant-based dairy products). Drink plenty of water to flush toxins out, keep your cells plump and hydrated, and keep your body working like a finely tuned machine.
I encourage you to determine your current state of health, and if needed, make small changes that will last. Be as active as possible, practice stress reduction, increase joy in your life, and listen to your body. All of these lifestyle changes will improve your immune system, lift your mood, and energize you. You will be amazed at how much better you feel both mentally and physically.