Food as Medicine

5 08 2011

The philosopher and father of medicine, Hippocrates stated “Let thy food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food.” If food should be our medicine, then why are we spending so much time and money at the pharmacy buying man-made medications designed to do things such as expand our arteries so blood can get through the fatty deposits, or insulin that will help regulate our blood sugar because our pancreas has failed to produce it on its own? The answer may be one that you’ve heard before, “many of us are overfed, but seriously undernourished.”

One of the first things we think about when we decide to lose weight is, “How can I cut calories?” One might go through a drive through, order a number 8, and instead of eating the whole thing one throws away the bun, eats half the fries, and orders a diet coke. That is cutting calories right? Well yes, but is this meal nourishing our bodies in any way? There is a big difference between cutting calories, and actually giving our body the “medicine” that it needs that comes from whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.

The foods that we eat determine the quality of our blood, which affects our cells, tissues, organs, and even our minds. Foods that come from the earth have certain properties that just so happen to give our bodies the nutrients that we need to be healthy. To name a few, spinach, broccoli, and other dark leafy greens contains various nutrients that strengthen our bones, fight cancerous cells (specifically in the breast, colon, and lungs), and keeps the arteries in tact which in turn protects against heart disease. Who would have thought that some spinach and broccoli could do all of this for us? Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to name a few more contain disease-fighting antioxidants that prevent cancer, lower our risk for cardiovascular disease, prevent age-related memory loss, and lower cholesterol levels. This blog would go on forever if I were to list the benefits of every whole food out there, so I encourage you to do some research on your own. A good place to start is:

Instead of continuing to put foods into our body to simply fill us up and give us a quick fix that is full of chemicals and preservatives, I encourage individuals everywhere to forget the question, “How can I cut calories?” and instead ask “How can I incorporate whole foods into my meals so that I’m not only consuming low calorie foods, but most importantly putting the right things into my body for nourishment and natural medicine?” One meal at a time, focus on filling up your plate with foods that will nourish your body. Talk with your dietician to learn more about what foods to focus on.

Imagine how your body might respond as you get into the habit (and stay consistent) of filling up on nutrient-rich foods, and then exercising to burn off all of the “old, bad stuff” that has been stored as fat on your body. And how about incorporating some fruit into your day for snacks or dessert? Not only will you see the scales start to move downward, but most importantly, your body will thank you for feeding it what it needs to be healthy. Don’t be surprised if you start making fewer trips to the pharmacy as well! Start today, because you and your family deserve it.




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