A Guide to the “Medicinal Diet”

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates, 400 B.C.

I have previously written about why a calorie is not just a calorie and the key to an anti-inflammatory diet.

While foods do provide us with energy, they can also shape our health and determine the way we live. In addition to Hippocrates, Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine, have promoted that food is medicine and how to use nutrition to optimize one’s health.

Foods can contain both harmful chemicals such as pro-inflammatory substances, including sugars, trans-fats, aspartame and nitrates. But food can also be beneficial by consuming antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much more.

Food is Medicine

  • The foods we eat can determine our health status
  • Toxicities of certain substances and deficiencies of others are linked to most modern health conditions (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and others)

Nutrigenomics is a new field focused on studying how health and life expectancy can be influenced by food.

  • genes play a role in BOTH disease development and prevention
  • a poor diet can be a serious risk factor for many diseases
  • a healthy, personalized diet CAN prevent or even cure chronic diseases

Blood Sugar

  • consuming high amounts of sugar and processed carbohydrates lead to increased blood sugar
  • the body responds by pumping out more insulin
  • with weight gain, the body becomes less responsive to insulin requiring more and more to bring down blood sugar
  • this can and will eventually lead to diabetes

Decreasing Inflammation

  • inflammation is at the core of most diseases
  • inflammation is your body’s immune response system and can effect every tissue
  • obesity has been shown to be largely inflammation drive

Body Acidity

  • the human body functions best at around a pH of 7.3-7.45 (slightly alkaline)
  • with the stomach contents being very acidic (pH 3.5), the body must balance this by consuming high alkaline foods
  • processed good increase the body’s acid, but whole food and plants help maintain balance and cellular renewal

The Best Medicinal Foods

Digestion and absorption tend to decrease as we get older. For this reason, food choice and consuming the best possible nutrients are paramount.

Here are five food groups that help protect you most:

  • High-Antioxidant Foods
    • Antioxidants slow the effects of aging by decreasing free radical damage
    • “Eat the rainbow”- naturally brightly colored foods (red, orange, yellow, green, etc.) are supplying nutrients like beta carotene, resveratrol, flavanoids and more
    • Berries, red wine, raw cocoa, acai, leafy greens, fresh herbs and spices, cruciferous veggies and bright root veggies

Fresh/Raw Vegetables

  • Green leafy vegetables and fresh vegetable juices are considered some of the healthiest foods on earth
  • They help restore the body’s proper pH, prevent nutrient deficiencies, curb hunger and detoxify the blood
  • They are also super low in calories, yet beaming with antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, iodine and fiber.

Meats

  • Organ meats, including chicken/beef liver, are some of the most nutrient-concentrated foods
  • Liver is a true superfood and exceptionally high in zinc, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12
  • Bone broth provides us with collagen, glucosamine and other trace minerals
  • These nutrients help treat illnesses like irritable bowel disorders (IBD), arthritis and joint pains

Healthy Fats

  • A diet high in “good fats” is essential for controlling inflammation, cognitive health, hormone production, cancer prevention, weight loss and cellular healing
  • Omega-3 fats are natural anti-inflammatories and help counteract the effects of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats
  • The best fats include fish like salmon, halibut, tuna and mackerel
  • Other plant sources include walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

High Fiber Foods

  • Dietary fiber helps keep you “regular” in the bathroom
  • But it’s also very important for heart health, your entire digestive system and gut, and even your immune system
  • Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels, helps prevent insulin resistance, and promotes the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in your gut that influence immunity

Sample “Medicinal Diet”

  • Organic Vegetables
    • (raw and cooked):
    • leafy greens, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, squash, sea vegetables, fresh herbs
  • Fresh Fruits
    • berries, citrus and melon
  • Grass-Fed Meats
    • Free range meats and eggs
    • Turkey, fish, organs
  • Low-Glycemic Carbohydrates
    • sprouted grains, soaked legumes and beans, nuts and seeds
  • Healthy Fats
    • Coconut oil/cream, real olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds

Summary on Food is Medicine

  • Because foods have an effect on inflammation levels, blood sugar, energy, hormones, brain and heart health, they truly do act like medicine
  • A healthy diet plays a role in how genes are expressed and can tip the scale in favor of preventing disease, even if one runs in your family

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