Food As Medicine
There was well over 4.5 trillion prescriptions filled in the United States alone in 2014, an increase from 3.9 billion in 2010 according to the IMS Health Institute.
A second mass study done in 2010 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that as children aged, their fruit and vegetable intake decreased from 92 percent down to 66 percent.
These two studies may show a direct relationship between the overall health decline in United States citizens (based on an increase of prescriptions filled) and the steady decrease in the intake of healthy foods like vegetables. Those who practice western medicine often end up leaving the fate of a recent diagnosis (and more importantly the recovery methods to said prognosis) up to a trusted doctor or sometimes a family member.
Regardless of the success and progress made within western medicine, there is often more than one way to take proactive action, especially in regards to health. If an individual recently experienced a decline in their health, whether in the form of an acute injury, a relentless cold or even a diagnosis of a chronic disease, it would be reasonable to assume that the individual would elect to combat the issue using as many responsible methods available in order to reclaim their health.
Despite the quick results of prescription drugs, the most safe and holistic method of healthy recovery and prevention is your diet. Food has long been used as medicine in many cultures across the world. Given the fact that food ingested into the body literally becomes the structure of our tissues, food is the very foundation of our longevity and long-term health. Food is a powerful force that may also influence the absorption and utilization of prescription drugs as well as dietary supplements.
Eating a nutrient-dense diet allows your body to recover, repair and prevent adverse health issues while optimizing the use of prescriptions and dietary supplements. For example, common health issues such as asthma, constipation, osteoarthritis and high cholesterol can be combated with the inclusion of particular foods. Research in 2004 and 2007 showed that children with lower levels of vitamin C were more likely to develop respiratory problems and be diagnosed with asthma (Healing Foods, 2008). Eating a variety of foods containing higher amounts of vitamin C can reduce the severity of asthma attacks and limits the release of histamine in the body which causes wheezing and runny nose.
Some foods can also reduce your risk of a multitude of other health problems. For example, beans have been shown to reduce the symptoms of menopause, prevent certain forms of cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, and even improve your bone and prostate health (Healing Foods, 2008). Peppers are a highly nutritional food that can aid in weight loss, treatment of colds, arthritis pain prevention, protect against cancer and heart disease, and they’re loaded with antioxidants.
As Hippocrates said nearly 3,000 years ago, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Provided for us by the Earth, natural foods contain the vital life energy that we need to maintain optimal health, and to recover from health challenges. Asking a certified nutritionist what foods may optimize your particular health concerns could successfully catapult your recovery and long-term health management.
About the Author:
Working within the health field for four years, Laurel Dierking MEd, NFPT, is passionate about cultivating body, mind and spirit awareness through holistic health practices. As a Health and Fitness Professional and yoga instructor at JKFITNESS, Laurel strives to guide individuals on a path to self-awareness, long-term functional fitness, and weight-loss management.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not reflect the views of the OAC, the National Board of Directors or staff. The OAC does not endorse any merchandise, program or hyperlinks mentioned in this blog post.