Historical Background of Food as Medicine
Why food is the best medicine? Interestingly, the Greeks know this and the most famous Hippocrates quote about medicinal significance of foods is: “Let Food be Your Medicine and Medicine be Your Food”. This quote lays the foundation for insightful fact that “Food is Medicine”.
Medicine and Healing Process as Rational Science
To date, many historians, medical practitioners and health experts describe Hippocrates as the founder of medicine who envisaged it as a rational science. Moreover, published literature suggests that Hippocrates is the most notable influential figure in medical history.
Above all, Hippocrates was the genius of his times who thought ahead of centuries and around the year of 400 B.C., he advised people to focus primitively on eating of nutrient-dense diets for disease prevention and treatment.
Foods- More than Just Caloric Needs
A Time Magazine article published in 2019 regarded food as the best medicine. As far as your health is concerned, calorie is not just calorie and traces back to the origin of foods you use to meet up your caloric needs. Type of foods we consume become a matter of so much significance in day-to-day life.
Moreover, we get energy from food materials. Energy translates to calories when we consume foods. However, the functions of foods are not merely related to caloric needs only. Foods included in our diet plan have a significant influence on:
- Controlling inflammation levels inside our bodies
- Regulating body pH and hormones
- Regulating serum glucose levels
- Elimination of toxins from body
- Waste clearance
- Improving digestive ability and much more
It is worth mentioning that according to Dr. Axe Josh, various foods are anti-inflammatory foods which contain powerful phytochemicals that affect and regulate the gene expression. Hippocrates and the ancient Greek philosopher were not the only ones who described the dietary significance and medicinal properties of foods.
Many centuries-old historically proven healing systems including Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine have concluded centuries ago that food is medicine and one can protect his health by focusing on healthy diet as the most effective regime to improve overall well-being and maintain optimal health.
Read the given below article contents to gain knowledge about a plethora of foods included in healthy eating/diet plans which have critical roles in determining longevity and health and.
Medicinal Significance of Foods- How This Works
Foods have a pivotal role in our lives than anything else. The foods included in our regular diet plan determines our capacity to fight infections and avoid illnesses and longevity (lifespan extension). Just name it! Whatever the food group is- meat, vegetables, fruits, cereal grains, fast foods, processed foods, fats and oils or dairy products- foods contain vital nutrients including powerful antioxidants along with other phytonutrients, such as fiber, fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins and trace elements etc.
Joint expert consultative group of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of Unites Nations endorsed role of diet and nutrition in prevention of chronic diseases.
Fate of Poor Dietary Choices
In the modern era, poor dietary practices may lead to nutrient deficiencies and cause toxicity which aggravates the complications associated with contemporary health issues.
Malnourishment is one of the key issues which is found in 80% of cancer patients according to one report of John Hopkins University. Moreover, the cancer therapy methods like chemotherapy only enhance the body nutrient requirements which only consumption of high-quality superfoods may fulfill.
Malnutrition and Lifestyle Disorders
Modern lifestyle disorders like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes are the main culprits for the highest number of deaths in developed countries like the United States and other industrialized economies.
Our food choices significantly influence the onset and progression of these illnesses. Same applies to the other health conditions including allergies and autoimmune disorders like chronic kidney diseases, arthritis, thyroid gland issues, and so many others.
Role of Foods and Effect on Health and Well-Being
Contemporary research in nutritional sciences including Nutrigenomics also envisaged roles of foods and their effects on gene expression.
University of California Davis (UC Davis) also started global imitative in nutrigenomics to explore roles of foods in determining lifespan and health implications. Food choices also exert influence on our lifespan, overall well-being and onset of diseases and premature death.
- Our genes govern the phenomena of disease development and prevention
- Diet has serious implications in determining risk factors of diseases
- Poor diet choices, food toxicity and diet having low quantities of vital nutrients (Fade diets) may affect the gene expression in humans
- Humans are variegated in their genetics, therefore the diet implications on genes and health are different for each person
- A healthy diet may help to mitigate the onset of diseases
- Moreover, each person has certain requirements based on genetic profile, therefore, personalized diets are good for prevention, mitigation curing modern lifestyle diseases and chronic disorders
How Superfoods/Medicinal Foods Affect Aging
Medicinal and superfoods are natural protectors because of dense-packed nutrients in their compositions and help to slow down aging effects in several ways like:
According to Raymond Francis- the author of “Never Be Sick Again”– inflammation is the main culprit of majority of diseases and the most significant contributor to aging process.
Inflammation accelerates aging effects. Normally, we come across various situations in day to day life. Our immune system produces a response in the form of inflammation when we face threatening and stressful conditions.
All cells in the human body get affected by inflammation. Cellular effects exert influence on body tissues and hormonal changes and impact every physiological process within the body.
It is evident from recent research that obesity contributes significantly to the overall body inflammation. According to an estimate, two-thirds of all adults suffer from this obesity-linked inflammation. Superfoods consumption helps to decrease inflammation in our bodies.
Hormonal Equilibrium Maintenance
Almost all our body processes get affected by endocrine hormones. Hormones regulate cognitive ability, sex drive, growth, body weight and digestion of food materials.
In case of abnormality in the hormonal system, we may become sick as hormonal dysregulation contributes to accelerated aging, diabetes, depression, fatigue, obesity, decreased cognitive ability, reproductive health issues and the onset of autoimmune disorders.
Maintaining adequate consumption of healthy foods help to maintain hormones balance.
Making Body Alkaline
Lack of exercise and use of junk and fast food makes our body acidic. Increased acidity results in inflammation in body. Human body needs a tightly regulated pH balance for its functioning and optimum pH is 7.36.
Modern lifestyle is verily different from the centuries-old hunter-gather civilization. Therefore, low-quality processed foods consumption in the current era makes our body more acidic and increases susceptibility to get sick. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables make our body less acidic and detoxify the body. Body detox helps in cellular renewal and life extension.
Blood Sugar Control
Poor dietary habits cause insulin dysregulation which ultimately leads to diabetes and weight gain.
Moreover, intake of empty calories and refined sugars produces severe health implications like mood swings, cravings, fatigue and blue sugar syndrome.
Using plenty of fruits and vegetables helps to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels at equilibrium.
We are always consuming too many chemicals in modern society and hence, we need to detox our bodies through dietary regimes and exercise.
Increased toxicity and failure to eliminate toxins causes severe inflammation and we may face several health issues like memory decline, infertility, autoimmune diseases and so many others.
Improved Nutrient Absorption
Malnourishment and nutritional deficiencies are the main factors for increased free radicals damage. Excessive use of synthetic ingredients and foods exhibit poor nutritional balance because of inadequate quantities of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzyme and fiber.
Therefore, a well-established diet plan helps to keep free radicals at lower levels, reduce inflammation and risk factors of many modern-day illnesses.
Conclusively, whatever we choose to eat affects our health significantly according to the famous maxim “We Are What We Eat”. Dietary habits exert influence on risk factors of chronic diseases and impact our health. We can avoid several illnesses and lifestyle disorders by adopting healthy dietary habits and making necessary lifestyle changes.
Furthermore, health-promoting superfoods consumption increases our body protection from oxidative stress and metabolic disorders by providing vital nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, fiber and so many others.