Healing with food

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For millennia, human beings have used food to not only give themselves the energy to function, but to heal themselves.

While the claims that some herbs and foods and various cocktails work medicinally have been debunked, other plants and foods have been proven to actually aid in improving health and neutralizing certain ailments, or there’s at least plenty of anecdotal evidence to give certain options a thought. Many people have found that switching to a plant-based diet can help chronic diseases.

Foods that promote healing and incorporate the nutrients your body needs to rejuvenate itself include fresh greens, virgin oils, and organic protein. Try to avoid meats raised with hormones and too many antibiotics–they’re not good for the body, and can actually cause certain bacteria to resist antibiotics if you get sick. Apple cider vinegar is a well-known health supplement. It alkalizes your body and aids in digestion.

If you go into a natural health store, you’ll find lots of herbal supplements and plant extracts that claim to have particular benefits for the body. Many of these claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. Do your research and ask your doctor. Interestingly, your doctor may actually recommend certain supplements and dietary changes. For instance, a rheumatologist may suggest avoiding sugar and taking turmeric and fish oil supplements. Fish oil is known to be good for joints, and turmeric is a proven anti-inflammatory. Your doctor will undoubtedly tell you, with any issue you may experience, to avoid processed foods and try to go for “whole” foods as much as possible. Basically, avoid packaged products, and when you look at ingredients lists, don’t buy anything with words you can’t pronounce, or, at least, don’t recognize.

Just as food can heal, so can it hurt. There is too much of a good thing. Some studies show that a single glass of red wine a day can improve health, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants. On the other hand, alcohol is a drug, and an addictive one at that. If you are struggling with an addiction, turn to tried and tested groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Food itself has addictive properties. Sugar affects the brain in the same way as cocaine, so avoid sugar and other processed foods as much as possible. Opt for honey or other sweeteners, such as stevia and coconut sugar.

Prepare your food yourself. If you know precisely what’s going in it, you can avoid things that bother your body and ensure that you include things that are beneficial for it. “Smart” kitchen appliances help make this process easier. They usually have a wide range of capabilities, which will allow you to bake, broil, and choose other healthy options. By being connected to a computer or your phone, you can set start times and trust that an oven will sense if things are getting burnt! This will save you lots of time and worry, letting you focus on developing that healing diet.

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”