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Food as Medicine

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

By: Grace Buffa NBC-HWC, ERYT, LPTA

Food is a source of pleasure and sustenance, a cause for gathering with family and community. It’s something associated with happy memories, childhood pleasures, smells and tastes that connect us to our past and bring joy in the moment. Yes, it is all that and so much more. Eating is the most important, connected act we perform every day—an act that connects us to nature, ecological cycles, biological functions, and, of course, to each other. We are part of a great web of nature that provides the raw materials for creating a vibrant, alive, healthy life.

Food is information. Food is medicine. Food is the most powerful regulator of the chemical signals in your body.

In fact, the most important part of food may not be calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, or minerals, but the tens of thousands of medicinal compounds embedded in plants and even animal foods that regulate, modulate, and influence nearly every single one of the 37 billion chemical reactions that occur in our bodies every second. This is extraordinary, and yet, we still aren’t talking about how to take advantage of the greatest medicine we have available.

Inflammation is our body’s response to injury. Whilst this mechanism is a very important one (such as helping the body heal cuts or fight infection), it can be dangerous to our health if it continues to simmer away in the background without completely going away. This is known as chronic low-grade inflammation; it can be difficult to detect and you may not have any symptoms. This type of inflammation can play a role in developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Lifestyle factors such as your diet can play an important role in helping to reduce this dangerous type of inflammation.

There are many reasons why we should pay attention to what we eat. The processed, low-variety foods many of us consume regularly may be convenient and tasty, but they compromise our health.

When people hear that we eat Whole Foods Plant Based in our house they question me for feeding my children this way. “ How can they grow properly without meat”. What I say is “ I would be doing them a disservice by not teaching them how to use food as medicine and having them grow up understanding how to avoid disease and illness”

Did you know that Broccoli 🥦 ( for example) has just as much IF NOT more protein than meat?! AND Animal protein has been linked to cancer and other diseases while broccoli has been known to provide your body with cancer fighting nutrients ( along with many other vegetables). It is packed with amino acids, fiber, and vitamin B6 to improve your mood and is one of the best vegetables to eat.

Whole foods contain a number of substances that work synergistically and may be far more effective than supplements that just deliver one of them.

Why take the powerful antioxidant lycopene in a pill when you can eat a tomato that contains both lycopene and a number of other antioxidants, along with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that work together to prevent heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and lipid levels and stopping abnormal blood clotting?

We have the ability to reverse disease and illness in the body when we start to understand the medicinal properties in many foods and manage our stress levels. We have a great chance of living a high quality of life and age well. Isn't that what we all want?

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