21 October 2005

'Let food be your medicine and medicine your food.' - Hippocrates

This quote from Hippocrates is maybe more relevant today as it was back in his time. We need to take a look at the foods we are eating and take care in our choices. 'You are what you eat' is another quote we hear often and it is true.

The food we eat affects us in so many ways - mentally, emotionally and of course physically.
We all know about eating a good healthy diet, but there are so many dietary temptations out there these days it's easy to get off the track. Just to give us all a reminder of how important what food we eat is, I thought I would list a few common foods and their disease fighting powers.

APPLE: Reduces cholesterol, contains anti-cancer agents.
Has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, estrogenic activity. High in fibre, helps avoid constipation, suppresses appetite.

AVOCADO: Benefits arteries. Lowers cholesterol, dilates blood vessels. It's main fat, monounsaturated oleic acid, acts as an antioxidant to block artery-destroying toxicity of bad-type LDL cholesterol.

BANANA: Soothes the stomach. Good for dyspepsia (upset
stomachs) Strengthens the stomach lining against acid and ulcers. Has antibiotic activity.

BROCCOLI: Abundant in numerous strong antioxidants.
Extremely high ant-icancer activity, particularly against lung, colon and breast cancer. It speeds up removal of oestrogen from the body, helping suppress breast cancer.
Rich in cholesterol-reducing fibre. Has antiviral, anti- ulcer activity, a super source of chromium that helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.

CABBAGE and Bok Choy: Contain numerous anticancer and antioxidant compounds. Speeds up oestrogen metabolism, is thought to block breast cancer and suppress growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. In studies, eating cabbage more than once a week cut men's colon cancer odds 66 percent. As little as two daily tablespoons of cooked cabbage protected against stomach cancer, contains anti- ulcer compounds. Cabbage juice can help heal ulcers.
Has anti-bacterial and anti-viral powers.

CARROT: A powerful anti-cancer, artery-protecting, immune- boosting, infection fighting antioxidant with wide protective powers. A carrot a day slashed strokes rates in women by 68%. One medium carrot's worth of beta carotene cuts lung cancer risk in half. Carrots' high soluble fibre depresses cholesterol, promotes regularity.

DATES: High in natural aspirin. Has a laxative effect.
Dried fruits are linked to lower rates of certain cancers, especially pancreatic cancer.

FISH AND FISH OILS: Intervenes in heart disease, preventing heart attack deaths ( 2 servings a week) Oil in fish can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, psoriasis, high blood pressure, Raynaud's Disease, migraine headaches, ulcerative colitis. May help ward off strokes. A known anti-inflammatory agent and anti-coagulant.
Raises good type HDL cholesterol. Slashes triglycerides dramatically. May help guard against development of glucose intolerance and Type II diabetes. Some fish are high in antioxidants, such as Selenium and co-enzyme Q10. Exhibits anticancer activity especially in blocking development of colon cancer and spread of breast cancer. Note: Fish highest in Omega-3 fatty acids appear most protective: These include sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna. (Sardines are high in oxalates, so should be avoided by those susceptible to kidney stones and gout.)

PINEAPPLE: Suppresses inflammation. Both the fruit and a main constituent, an antibacterial enzyme called Bromelain, are anti-inflammatory. Pineapple aids digestion, helps dissolve blood clots and is good for preventing osteoporosis and bone fractures because of its very high manganese content. It is also anti-bacterial and antiviral and mildly oestrogenic.

YOGHURT: An ancient wonder food, strongly antibacterial and anticancer. A cup or two of yoghurt a day boosts immune functioning by stimulating production of gamma interferon. Also spurs activity of natural killer cells that attack viruses and tumours. Helps prevent and cure diarrhoea. A daily cup of yoghurt with acidophilus cultures prevents vaginitis (yeast
infections) in women. Helps fight bone problems, such as osteoporosis, because of high available calcium content.
Acidophilus cultures neutralize cancer-causing agents in the intestinal tract.

Reading this, I hope makes you think a little about your diet. Food can be such an amazing medicine. Getting all the important nutrients makes so much difference. So many times, as a Naturopath, I will see someone and they will need so many nutrients, that to give them supplements that include everything would be over costly and ridiculous. The diet is the answer. If we concentrate on a good healthy diet, as you can see from the above examples, so much illness could be avoided.

(Excerpts from this article come from 'Food - Your Miracle Medicine' by Jean Carper)

Andrea Putting