Naturally found foods rich in nutrients are known to help protect against and even cure many chronic diseases. They’re also known to slow down the effects of aging – no wrinkles! This is primarily because these nutrient-rich foods control and decrease inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of many ailments and a significant contributor to premature aging.
“Let food be your medicine” is a well-known quote by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek philosopher and physician, who is considered to be the forefather of modern medical practice. Despite the widespread familiarity of his words, they’re still not very clear to most people who have the wrong understanding, let alone trying to apply them to their daily lives.
Certified health coach Ali Shapiro experienced crippling IBS flare-ups in her early twenties. Medical experts gave her ineffective prescriptions, which proved to be of no use. After studying nutrition and health herself, Shapiro gradually made the connection between what she ate and how she felt. Upon noticing an improvement when she ditched processed foods, she later kicked dairy and gluten to the curb – all of which helped to finally control her painful symptoms. 15 years later, IBS is no longer an issue in Shapiro’s life; she now guides others through the healing process she went through. Practitioners of alternative and traditional medicine alike urge patients to look to their daily diet in addition to their pharmacy for optimal health.
“Everyone knows eating healthy is important for preventing disease,” says cardiologist Stephen Devries, M.D., executive director of the Naples Institute. “What few people realize is the incredible potency of nutrition for treatment.”
A 1998 seminal study published in the journal Circulation showed that heart disease patients who switched to a Mediterranean diet (rich in veggies, whole grains, beans and good fats, and low consumption of red and processed meat) were 72% less likely to have a second heart attack within five years. Similar research has shown that dietary changes and specific nutrients can help reverse diabetes, ease depression, boost cancer survival rates and fight wrinkles and acne.
After decades, there are signs that things are finally changing. While “food-as-medicine” movements have been around for years, their insights are now widely accepted by a growing number of institutions and medical professionals who don’t want to solely rely on medications in their approach towards treatments. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. provides training for medical professionals to integrate nutrition into their work effectively. The Food as Medicine Institute in Portland is also popular for its courses in nutrition science which emphasize the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.
Foods That Help Your Body Heal
Doctors often recommend healthy lifestyle changes whether it is to fight fatigue, boost your immune system or recover from an illness. Many of the foods we eat have the power to improve our overall health and well-being from head to toe. There are powerful foods that can heal the body and can significantly help prevent and manage symptoms of illnesses. It is always better to get nutrients directly from food rather than from supplements. The next time you’re at the supermarket – be sure to pick up these healing foods that do a super job at putting you at the top of your nutrition game:
Canberries are packed with antioxidants that can heal your body from cell damage. According to Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, cranberries contain compounds that can help prevent the growth and development of certain lung, breast and colon cancers.
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber and are also free of sodium and cholesterol. As discussed in the Archives of Medical Research, avocados can help reduce cholesterol levels – which can reduce your risk of heart disease. But the healing benefits don’t stop there: avocado oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce arthritis pain amongst many other things.
3. Greek Yogurt
Greek yoghurt’s healing powers are actually found in its probiotics. It is the healthy or good bacteria that is already present in your gut which helps in digestion. This is the key reason that greek yogurt is often consumed by those battling different intestinal issues, primarily Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Spinach is an excellent source of iron. It lowers your blood pressure and can help your brain to function at peak levels. It’s rich in antioxidants that help protect your eyes against macular degeneration as well as inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that spinach can help maintain a healthy immune system and significantly aids in healing wounds.
5. Olive Oil
Olive Oil plays a significant role in the Mediterranean diet and is one of the healthiest foods in terms of illness prevention and extended lifespan. Rich in omega-3s and monounsaturated fatty acids, its consumption can help lower the risk of a stroke, high blood pressure and different heart conditions. Applying olive oil in the form of creams can help repair skin, especially in terms of healing burns.
Kiwis pack a powerful punch when it comes to their healing characteristics and their actual value in your diet. This fruit can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as prevent different types of cancer. Research shows that eating kiwis can help improve your quality of sleep.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has many healing properties. It is full of antioxidants and contains essential cell reparative powers. Studies have also shown that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and even prevent blood clots.
Every doctor will tell you that the right kind of food is of great importance when it comes to your health, and that it doesn’t take sweeping changes in your daily diet to actually incorporate these healing foods. In reality, many of the foods you eat every day have the power to improve your overall health. The key is knowing which foods are your ticket to good health, and which should be reserved for special occasions.
Food cannot do miracles and replace modern medicine, but small improvements to your current diet – such as cutting back on processed foods – can make you feel better right away. Talk to a dietitian or nutritionist if you’re considering making changes to your diet – it is the single best way to get and stay well.