Is Food the Best Medicine?
In today’s modern, fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that medicine developed in laboratories and research departments across the world can cure most if not all ills. Of course, this is not true.
The role of diet and good nutrition in overall health has often been side-lined for the sake of a medicalized approach and many of us today consume far too much processed food high in sugar and salt.
However, as far back as during the time of Hippocrates, food has been viewed as the basis for good health and focusing on fresh produce and the right ingredients can make a big difference.
Unfortunately, walk into any grocery store in the western world today and the vast majority of produce is either processed or high in additives. By the end of 2018, according to one study, 57% of the calorie intake of Americans was consumed in the form of processed foods. For many, this presents a ticking time bomb when it comes to overall health.
Food and Nutrition: What Does the Research Say?
There’s no doubt that the people who lead healthy lifestyles and maintain healthy diets tend to fare better when it comes to the risk of developing major illnesses and this is no fluke of nature.
A team of researchers at the University of Utrecht University recently looked at 200 separate studies and found that many nutrients have comparable effects to some modern pharmaceuticals.
They looked at how nutrients from food can be absorbed by the body and bind to cells which help do things like fight inflammation or prevent allergic reactions. Inflammation plays a pivotal role in many life-changing diseases including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Finding a natural solution to this increasingly modern problem is critical.
Good nutrition is already advised when someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A review of the research in this area in 2017 found switching to a good diet could not only help patients manage their diabetes better, but in some cases could put it into remission.
One of the key focuses of good nutrition should, according to most physicians today, be on helping to prevent major illnesses in the first place. A recent review found that switching to a diet that prioritised fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts and cut back on processed meats and avoided sugar-sweetened drinks had substantial long-term health benefits.
Why Good Nutrition Could be Better Than a Drug
Pharmaceuticals do an amazing job of helping to combat some of the most serious diseases in modern times but they tend to come with a whole range of different side effects.
The problem is that medication is often prescribed for less immediate health problems such as high cholesterol, where making lifestyle changes is likely to be more effective.
There are simple things that people can do to improve their health through nutrition and, at the same time, reduce their risk of serious illness:
- Many people don’t get enough fiber. Switching to a higher fiber diet by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet feeds our gut microbiome and improves digestion.
- Reducing processed foods, ideally cutting them out altogether, especially those that contain corn syrup, can make a big difference to long-term health. These foods tend to have all the vital nutrients taken out of them during the production process and also often have additives that can be damaging to health.
- Reducing intake of salt and sugar, which is present in significant quantities in sweets and processed foods, can also make a difference to individual health.
- Healthy foods that people can easily include in their diet are nuts, legumes, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.
In addition to a healthy diet, undertaking sufficient levels of exercise on a regular basis also reduces the risk of developing many chronic illnesses.
The medical team at Miskawaan Health Group will create a personalized dietary plan for you to achieve your health goals or overcome health issues.
The content above is based on the information featured in the article linked below.
The author of the article is Dr Ross Walker, one of Australia’s most esteemed cardiologists and a member of the Miskawaan Medical Advisory board.