What does food as medicine mean and how can you experience it?
“Food as medicine” is a term that often gets thrown around with a bit of bad blood. You might consider food to be absolutely useless compared to modern medicine, an outdated remedy. Well, you wouldn’t be wrong, but you’re not exactly right either. Feel as you may about that (though I’m sure you’re open-minded or you wouldn’t still be here after that outrageous comment), today we’re going to take a look at what food as medicine means and how you can experience it.
What does ‘food as medicine’ actually mean?
Whatever it is you think food as medicine means, you’re probably not too far off.
Unfortunately for many of us, food choices have a severe impact on our health. Think back to when you were a child and your parents would tell you that eating your carrots would improve your eyesight. Or when you got told to drink honey and lemon tea the last time you had a cough.
Food as medicine can mean anything from eating your 5 a day to having a specific diet to help prevent and even cure (to an extent) disease. And it works.
What your diet means for you
You might have heard that having a red meat-heavy diet can increase the chances of heart failure and some cancers, and that’s absolutely true. However, many are also under the illusion that having a strictly meat-free diet is also key to a healthy lifestyle. While you can certainly have a healthy life meat-free, there are many benefits to enjoying a good steak every once in a while. Meat gives us much of the good stuff we need, such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. Red meat is actually one of the main sources of vitamin B12 in a diet, so chowing down on some red meat isn’t something to look down on either.
It should also be noted that dropping meat entirely and sticking to a diet of fruit and vegetables also isn’t the best idea. Your diet will lack in all of the vitamins and minerals you ideally want, meaning you might end up with something such as iron deficiency (you might be looking at filling this slot with veg such as kale, but these vegetables also contain the chemical phytates, which is believed to block absorption of the mineral. Eating too much of this could eventually lead to amenia.
Having a healthy mixture of both meat and vegetables (as well as other food types) is the key to having a healthy body and lifestyle. That way you can ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body craves.
Using food as medicine
Beyond ‘food as medicine’ meaning a healthy diet to prevent illnesses, there are also people who change their diet to recover from one.
We’re talking as little as drinking chamomile tea when you get heartburn or eating fibre-full figs to get rid of your haemorrhoids (yes that works), to something as extreme as Jay Kordich’s cancer-beating juice therapy as seen on Juicemania.
As great as this sounds, it’s important to note that no food remedy will ever be fully effective, and should not replace medical treatment. Using food as medicine should only ever be an additional effort on top of medicine, and should only be taken if safe.
There’s our basic guide on what food as medicine means and how you should be eating if you want to boost your health with a planned out diet. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks as we continue our exploration of food as medicine, looking more specifically at what different foods and beverages can do for you, and when you should take them.
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