Food is your best medicine. Or, more accurately, the right food choices can be powerful medicine for the mind and body. A lot of people are aware of this to one degree or another, but they don’t always act on the knowledge or use it to their benefit in the fullest extent. Everything we put into our body has an effect of one kind or another. Junk foods, refined food, processed foods, foods high in sugar or laden with pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and additives… these all tend to have an adverse effect on the health and wellness of our body both physically and emotionally. Healthy foods that were given to us by Mother Nature, like whole fruits and vegetables, herbs and nuts and seeds can be much more than excellent sources of vitamins and nutrition. Many of them, can also help us fight or prevent a wide variety of health conditions or syndromes and some may even prevent or cure diseases.
Many people are beginning to realize how important their choices in foods really are as more and more research is being done to explore the impact foods have on our health. It is estimated that at least one third of American adults will now try to address their health concerns by using food. However, instead of just looking at how nutritious the foods are or whether they are low in bad fats, people have started looking at the bigger picture. They’re now buying foods which will help contribute to their overall level of health instead of looking for one miracle food that will heal everything.
For many years, health researchers were focused on trying to identify which primary constituent in a food was responsible for it’s healthy properties. In time, what became apparent is that there is no one miracle constituent. The best health and wellness benefits from food come from a variety of elements within each particular food. Isolating just one factor won’t give you the same results as eating the whole food will, and this is why there are no true miracle drugs or vitamins on the market to buy. If you want all the health benefits that garlic or blueberries have to offer for example, then you need to actually eat the garlic and berries on a regular basis.
Hundreds of studies also reveal that it isn’t just one food all by itself that is the healthiest, the nutrients in food work together to promote health and heal chronic health conditions. So it is now understood that eating a wide variety of healthy foods is much more important than one or two independently. For example, combining the healing benefits of carrots, broccoli and garlic is much more beneficial than just one. Eating a balanced meal that contains meat, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit is healthier than one of them alone.
We know without a doubt, that the types of foods we eat plays a vital a role in maintaining optimal mental and physical health and it is also critical for helping to prevent and heal chronic health problems, diseases, and syndromes.
On the other hand, a food that is your best medicine for one person can also be a poison for another. We are each unique biochemically and metabolically. Different people need different things. It all depends on your particular body chemistry. Additionally, different illnesses, conditions or diseases have a different impact on nutritional needs and may result in limits that a healthier person doesn’t face.
For example, a diet that is healthy and beneficial for someone with diabetes may be completely different from someone living with asthma. Some body types do well with a vegetarian, raw or macrobiotic diet, while other body types need meat protein to function optimally and do best with steamed veggies.
Although certain dietary guidelines like removing sugar, white flour, caffeine, pesticides, herbicides, food additives and preservative will be beneficial to us all, other factors are more individualized. Part of designing a healthy diet is getting to know your body and what it needs. There is not a “one size fits all diet” and not all foods are created equally. Your diet should take into account the following factors:
– your overall level of health
– health conditions you may have
– what are you trying to achieve
– the integrity of your gastrointestinal tract
– food allergies or food sensitivities
One of the problems that many people face, is that they don’t really know there bodies or what it needs. Approximately 80% of the population has undiagnosed food sensitivities that they are not aware of. Hidden food sensitivities are often at the root of many health conditions or syndromes as well as psychological symptoms.
So, for example, garlic or whole grains may be a Superfood for a person without sensitivities, but for another person with undiagnosed sensitivities, it can unknowingly be the root of their arthritis, migraine, sinus congestion, heart burn, headaches, irritable bowel, fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia or even depression, anxiety, hyperactivity or autism and more.
A person without sensitivities may derive benefits for their colon with a diet rich in whole grains, while someone who is sensitive to gluten or grains may find that these foods are at their root of their irritable bowel or gas and bloating.
One person can thrive and benefit from the vitamins and minerals in fruits high in sugar, while for another it may be the cause of their anxiety attacks and depression.
It is crucial when choosing the foods you will include in your diet, to know which foods are the best choices for you and your body. Food is your best medicine, but only when it meets your unique biochemical and metabolic needs. By designing a diet that is right for your body chemistry, you can make significant improvements in your physical and psychological health.
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* Do you like your beer malty? Hoppy? Smooth? Light? Dark? Join Dr. Charlie Bamforth, an Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting & Brewing Sciences at UC Davis, as he explains the chemistry behind the bitterness of beer.
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Food Chemistry: What Makes Beer Bitter