In the old days, there were no sodas, chocolates, candy or even semi-healthy snacks like meat pies. And yet our forefathers were healthy. Let’s go forward a bit to the 60s and 70s. I remember how my mom used to ration the coke we drank. She’d share one 30cl bottle of coke between my siblings and I. Why? It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford it, it was simply not regarded as a Nigerian everyday drink. When my folks bought oranges, mangos, etc. they gave us more than enough, but sodas and citrus powders like “Tree Top” (remember those) were rationed.
Fast forward to today. I went out to a birthday party the other day and saw this really cute kids armed with 50cl bottles of soda. Please ooh, coke is not your enemy! It is the new diet culture in Nigeria that is now our enemy.
“Food is medicine,” originally coined by Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, implies that good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Hippocrates believed that eating healthy food was the basis for good health.
Centuries ago, the first doctors across the globe revealed the advantages of using nutrition as medicine to cure the body and presently, based on some research; it is obviously evident that diet plays a role in health and mood on a daily basis.
Hippocrates had the belief that illness is caused by inadequate nutrition and that if people learn better eating habits, then optimal health can be restored. Long before physicians and drugs were used, wise elders in the tribe sought to heal with plants and herbs and foods were also prescribed during the process. Slowly over the years, humans have moved away from this healing power found in nature towards prescribing synthetic drugs with artificial remedies to handle various illnesses.
Since we have shifted away from the natural remedies and a lot of us now rely on processed, sugar-laden, fatty food, the consequences are a higher rate of obesity and illness. If food has the capability to prevent some chronic illness we experience currently, then it only makes sense to alter our diet and use it to the full to heal restore as well as prevent illness. Even though taking pharmaceutical drugs for various ailments may be useful, these drugs come with both long and short term side effects. They also contribute to toxic buildup in the body. While these may be essential in life threatening situations, when long-term disorders can be managed with lifestyle change and diet then using nutrition as medicine has to be considered as an initial way of solving the issue and also preventing health problems in future.
Scientists and health practitioners are uncovering the different benefits of nutrigenomics as well as the notion that food speaks to our DNAs. Various factors culminate to cause diseases such as nutrition, stress, the health of the gut, hormone balance, and detoxification.
Why food is important
Thinking about your food can help you prevent specific illnesses that occur due to decades of unhealthy eating. However, such diseases can be reversed with healthy diet. Even if you depend on takeaway meals, you can make better choices. Restaurants and food services are now aware of the healing power food possesses, so nutritious food isn’t as hard to find like before.
Being healthy means consuming the right food for the internal system to run smoothly. Whole foods are medicine and heal the cells of the body by building strong defenses which enable you to combat toxins and illness naturally. If you consume junk food daily with no added nutrition, your body will not receive the nutrients it requires to function and health issues will arise.
How to use food as medicine
First, consider having a food elimination diet as this will help you to determine what foods you are allergic to. Foods like onions and garlic have antifungal, and antibiotics properties should be included in diets. Fueling up with these superfoods is an excellent way to provide nutrients to the body. Some other foods that reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol include omega three fatty acid and fish. Most doctors recommend consuming two servings of fish weekly since it’s better to get the nutritional benefit from food rather than relying on synthetic supplements. Also, incorporating the seasons into food planning will help you pick fresh foods when they are abundantly available. You also save cost when you buy them in the season.
If food is medicine, it is therefore important to know that you need to take the right food in the right proportions and at the right time. This means you eat all the food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins) in the right quantity as small, frequent meals. Excess of any will cause side effects, and the whole aim of eating right will be defeated.
Food has the ability to act as medicines for instance, there are natural pain killers from food, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory agents, and hormonal agents as well and a lot more. Eat for your location and aim to eat what is in season so you can have it in the freshest form.
Eating garden eggs, paw paw, watermelons, etc. when they are in season are a great way of staying ahead and keeping your diet balanced. As opposed to popular conventions eggs and fats are not your enemy anymore. In fact, to stay healthy, you need to consume and all round healthy diet.