Food as Medicine

Food as medicine – how to get the most out of the food we eat

Many of us hear the  phrase “FOOD AS MEDICINE” and think we have to eat healthy, i.e. lots of organic fruit and vegetables not too much red meat and limit sugar. However, food is potentially more powerful than this, especially plant foods as they contain invaluable phytochemicals that aid the body’s innate immune system, helping the cells deal with toxins, inflammation, bacterial invasion, joint pain etc. For instance when you have a cold you want to eat foods that increase immunity such as beta carotene rich foods, onion family, citrus, garlic, cabbage family, oysters (foods rich in zinc); foods that have decongestant activity such as chilli pepper, garlic, horseradish, onions, thyme, fennel and black pepper; and foods that have anti-bacterial activity such as apple, banana, basil, beetroot, celery, chilli, cumin, garlic, ginger, honey, horseradish, nutmeg, olive, onion family, nasturtium, mustard and turmeric.

Healing with food is not haphazard but can be specific to what ails you, and acts as a foundation for other medicines, such as herbal tinctures, homeopathy and acupuncture. With knowledge of the healing properties of food, we can use diet correctly for treatment and prevention on an individual basis, that is why food is the starting point for any holistic naturopathic treatment. This is why looking at a personal diagnosis and individual properties of food we can say that a balanced diet is unique for each person and a universal “perfect” diet doesn’t exist. This is also why fad diets are not the answer, as often they eliminate whole food groups asif all food in this category are created equal in their value to us. For example complex carbohydrates such as grains, root vegetables, legumes etc; although they have properties in common each has unique healing attributes and offer a variety of minerals and vitamins.

Below follows examples of best foods:

Tonic Health Giving Foods
Daily in the diet include yoghurt (plain full fat, no sugar), fruit, vegetables, grains like flaxseed, buckwheat, barley and wheat sprouts, turmeric

Best Digestive Foods
Any mint family, asparagus, dandelion, potatoes, brown rice, grapes, yoghurt, pawpaw, buckwheat, fennel, barley, chamomile, caraway, tarragon, sunflower seeds, turmeric

Best Foods for Fighting Fatigue
Almonds, apricots, broccoli, spinach, brown rice, sesame seeds, sprouts, bananas, figs, apples, raspberries

Best Foods for Joint Stiffness and Pain
Celery, turnip, cabbage, lemon, dandelion, oily fish, buckwheat, onions, artichokes, pears, melon, sprouted mung beans, rosemary, parsley, turmeric

Best Foods for the Skin
Carrots, watercress, parsley, celery, melons, dandelion, avocado, strawberries, oats, apricots, nettles, sage, buckwheat, turmeric

Best Foods for the Respiratory Problems
Garlic, lemons, carrots, onions, apples, figs, cabbage, asparagus, fennel, thyme, celery, watercress, mint, sage, barley, honey

Best Foods for Weight Control
All high fibre foods (such as fruits and vegetables), sprouts, pulses, brown rice, peppermint, ginger, turmeric

These are just a few examples of how to use food as medicine, so before you reach for supplements, spend your money on organically grown fruits and vegetables, reduce processed, fast and convenience foods. If you would like to find out what foods can help you maintain optimal health please contact us.