For millennia, people used the food they eat as their medicine. Before modern medicine was invented, the only way to find remedies to heal yourself was in nature. Over time, humans were able to see correlations between what they ate and how the body reacted. Then, they passed this knowledge down through the centuries.
It may seem like old wives’ remedies these days, but there is a lot of good information to be learned from these old ways of doing things. These days there are more powerful ways to take care of any illnesses, but the best medicine is always prevention. Using your diet to stay healthy and avoid expensive and time consuming doctors’ visits is always the best way to go.
In this article, we will go over how your diet can help you with certain illnesses. You should consult a doctor before trying any diet, or to see if your illness is serious, however. Since this is not medical advice, find OKC doctors offices for a consultation if you are in that area.
Why use diet as a way to heal?
There are so many benefits from eating a balanced diet and using food to heal that it can actually transform your life. Think about how people in the Mediterranean live to be over 100 years old. It is mainly due to their diet that they are so healthy and can extend their lifespan to such long lengths.
For starters, the proper diet will do a few things automatically. You may be eating healthy to treat something specific but it improves your overall health. Obesity rates are much lower in populations where they eat a balanced diet and often use food to treat any illnesses. Since obesity can cause so many other illnesses, just staying at a healthy weight will improve many aspects of your health. Diabetes is lower, blood pressure stays normal and the risk of heart disease is greatly reduced.
All of those diseases are preventable by eating a sound diet barring any type of genetic predisposition to them.
You’ll also save a lot of money by using food as medicine as it often means that you don’t need to buy expensive prescriptions. Blood pressure medication and insulin are very expensive. When you maintain a healthy weight and can avoid high blood pressure and diabetes then you don’t need those drugs. Doctor’s visits can also add up if your insurance makes you do copays. And with a deductible, any kind of surgery can be prohibitively expensive. All of these expenses can be avoided by eating a good diet.
Lastly, you can actually enjoy your older years when you are maintaining your health due to a better diet. Many of those 100 year olds in the Mediterranean and Japan often live at home or with loved ones. They have a high quality of life until the very end. Eating a bad diet can put you in a rest home much earlier and this can impact your quality of life in a very dramatic way.
What to avoid
Just as there are foods that heal us, there are foods that harm us. Many foods are contributing to the obesity crisis in the Western world and have no place in a healthy person’s diet.
Processed foods are the number one culprit. There are a lot of ingredients in them that are there to increase shelf life, consistency and appearance and have little to do with nutrition. There are a number of ingredients in them that we know cause many health problems let alone those that we are still unsure about.
Most of the bad ingredients will cause inflammation in the body that has a domino effect on your overall health. Others cause clogged arteries and some can lower your immune system so you end up sick often. As a result, we often eat up to 50 calor
The things to avoid are foods with a lot of preservatives such as anything that can sit on a shelf for a long period of time. Food that comes from a factory is best to be avoided as it is mass produced with no thought put into its nutritional benefit. Fast foods should also be avoided as they contain almost no nutrition.
What to eat
There are many types of foods that have a specific benefit for the type of illness you are trying to prevent. But, there is a general way to approach your diet that has overarching benefits that will go a long way toward preventing certain diseases.
The key is to eat whole foods. You should shop for fresh produce, meats and fish and cook meals yourself. This way there are no added synthetic ingredients that do more harm than good.
When cooking for yourself, make sure to not eat too much meat or refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Go heavy on the fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Once again, the Mediterranean diet is the path to follow for good health. If you get most of your protein from legumes like beans and lentils, then you are adding in a weather of other minerals and nutrients along with it. Including fiber which is very important for your digestive health.
It’s ok to eat meat, but try to not eat it everyday and keep the portion sizes to around 200 grams at the most per day.
Spices added to the food will not only make it taste better but can add to the medicinal effect. Turmeric is a very good spice to use to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Cinnamon is good for reducing blood pressure. And garlic in any form will give a boost to your heart health.
In addition, probiotics are essential in maintaining your gut flora that prevents a whole host of diseases. Eat yogurt and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Even pickles are very good for your gut health if you choose fermented ones.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash