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Food Is Medicine

Good nutrition and what you put into your body is the foundation for good health. “Food is Medicine” is a term which was originally coined by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine; it was his belief that eating wholesome food is the basis for good health.  Hippocrates said almost 2500 years ago “Leave your drugs in the chemist's pot if you can heal the patient with food."

Centuries ago the earliest known doctors and health practitioners across the world imparted the benefits of using food as medicine to heal the body and now based on research it is clearly evident that food plays a major role in health and how you feel on a day to day basis.

Hippocrates believed that illness stemmed from inadequate nutrition and bad eating habits and that if people were to learn good eating habits then optimum health would be restored.  Long before doctors and medicine was commonly used, wise tribal elders would seek out healing herbs and plants for their community and food would be applied prescriptively to bring about healing.  Slowly through the years man has moved away from the healing power of nature and towards prescribing packaged synthetic drugs and artificial remedies to deal with illness.

The reality is that because we have shifted away from natural remedies and many of us rely on a diet of processed, fatty and sugar-laden food the consequences are that rates of obesity and disease have increased significantly.

If food has the power to prevent much of the chronic illness we experience today then it makes sense to alter our diets to use it to our own advantage to not only heal and restore the body but also to prevent illness.  Although taking pharmaceutical drugs for ailments may be useful, they often come with short and long term side effects and contribute to the toxic build up in our bodies.  While drugs are important in life threatening situations, if long term conditions can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes then using food as medicine must be considered as a initial way of tackling the issue and preventing future health problems.

Health practitioners and scientists are now uncovering the benefits of Nutrigenomics and the whole notion that food is information that speaks to our genes and triggers messages that create health or disease. There are many factors that culminate to bring about disease such as stress, nutrition, hormone balance, the health of our gut, and the importance of detoxification and food.

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 good news is that these can be reversed with the help of a good diet. Even if you live on takeaway you can make healthier choices.  More and more food services, restaurants, and other institutions are recognizing the healing power of food and are including healing foods as part of their menus so nutritious food is not as hard to find as it once was.

Being healthy means putting the right fuel into your body and having your internal engine run smoothly. Every meal that you consume influences the way that you feel one way or another so the more nutritious foods you choose, the healthier you will be. Whole foods act as medicine to heal and protect your body and give the immune system a break from dealing with toxins, preservatives, additives and chemicals that are included in so many of today's processed foods.

If you are eating junk food everyday with little or no nutrition, your body will not be receiving all of the nutrients it needs to function properly and health issues can arise. All that your body can operate on are the foods that you choose to put into it. Healthy nutrient-rich and alive foods help to heal the body at cellular level and build strong defenses enabling you to combat illness and environmental toxins.

The first thing to think about if you’re planning on giving your diet an overhaul is to ensure that you have a healthy digestive system. This is a vital ingredient and essential to guarantee that you’re efficiently burning your food and effectively extracting the nutrients from it. Diseases are often associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies or food senstivities so having healthy digestion and knowing what foods work for you is really important.

You may want to consider a food elimination diet to find out which foods you may have a sensitivity or allergy too.  For some people raw food although perceived as healthy, is way too hard on their inflamed and delicate digestive systems and they may need to begin by incorporating a liquid diet such as juicing and eating soups and easily digestible foods until their gut heals. Fish oil is a great way to naturally combat inflammation too.

Numerous foods have specific healing properties such as garlic and onions which include antibiotic and antifungal properties.  Particular chronic conditions such as arthritis and celiac disease benefit from a specialized diet and avoiding particular foods. There are foods which reduce inflammation and ones that help lower cholesterol such as fish and omega 3 fatty acids. Doctors recommend eating at least two servings of fish a week. It’s always good to try and get the nutritional benefits from your food and not rely on synthetic supplements.

Fuelling up on super foods is a great way to provide the body with nutrients and not over eat. Individual foods have their own unique set of nutrients to meet the needs of your body so eating a wide variety of foods ensures that you are getting a diverse range if nutrients vitamins and minerals that you need.

Incorporating the seasons into your menu planning will benefit you so that you can enjoy fresh and in the moment foods that are abundantly available.  There is also a cost saving when you buy in season.  Shop at local growers markets or co-ops and talk to the sellers about what’s in season.

When it comes to buying healthily the best way to shop is to think about where the food you are buying actually came from, is it traceable, fresh and at its best? Or is it housed beneath layers of packaging? Even though it takes a little longer when shopping get used to reading labels and finding out exactly what is in the food.  If it has more than six ingredients it’s probably not going to be that good for you.

Shop in season and choose foods which are as close to their natural state as possible. Remember that your body will love you for it!

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