“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” ~Hippocrates (400 B.C.)
More than 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician and founder of Western medicine, understood the importance of food and our diet to our overall health and as a predictor of illness. While some people may be genetically predisposed to certain types of illnesses, it has been proven that you can affect your long-term health and even mitigate some of those risks by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, the average American lifestyle today is anything but healthy, it is high in fat, processed foods, sodium, and sugars and low in exercise and healthy whole foods and vegetables. Some conscious choices regarding a healthy lifestyle can result in improved overall health, more energy, and help you prevent the onset of many health conditions.
Eating for Disease Prevention
Experts have recommended eating a healthy, balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables for decades.Research shows that those who eat an abundance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. Eating a healthy diet will also help you manage your weight.
If you’re really interested in pursuing good health, however, take it one step further and eat for disease prevention. Specific foods have been identified for their disease-preventing qualities, and some are even credited with reversing the damage caused by disease. Some have even been called “superfoods.” The World’s Healthiest Foods.com is one of my favorite food websites and it lists 130 foods that it has identified as the world’s healthiest and it provides recipes on how you can prepare those foods.
I keep the following list of healthy foods on my refrigerator and refer to it when I make my grocer shopping list and when I plan my menus. I work to incorporate fruits and vegetables in my meals and also include the following foods frequently and intentionally into my family’s diet:
- Teas: Green Tea
- Berries: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries
- Fruit: Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons, Apples, Pineapple, Cherries, Red Grapes
- Vegetables: Bok Choy, Kale, Artichokes, Pumpkin, Sea Cucumber
- Herbs and Spices: Turmeric, Nutmeg, Lavender, Parsley
- Seafood: Tuna
- Other: Dark Chocolate, Red Wine, Ginseng, Licorice, Soy Beans, Maitake Mushrooms
Know Your Risk Factors and Eat Accordingly
Your family’s health history can also provide a lot of information about conditions that we may be prone to having later in life. If we know these conditions, we can make a conscious choice to eat in a way that will help prevent the onset of those conditions. For instance if your family has a history of high blood pressure, eating a healthy diet that includes potassium can help reduce your risks. Foods that are high in potassium include sweet potatoes, tomato paste, beet greens, potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, and prune juice. Integrating those foods into your meal planning is an easy and effective way to take care of your health.
The Nutrition and Food Web Archive (NAFWA) provides a free chart listing common foods and their health benefits to help you get started.
Do you consciously include specific foods in your diet for health reasons? Which ones? Share your thoughts below.
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Jaky Astik says
Most of our health problems arise form the food we intake. You are right to say that food take properly is, by far, the best medicine in the world.
Thank you, I agree, food can be a powerful thing – either good or bad.
Eating healthier is something we can all do, even those that seem obsessed with junk food. Just take it a little at a time until you are there. That is what worked for me! 🙂
Very true, it can take time to transition to a healthier diet but it is so worth it. Thanks for visiting my blog, so happy to have you.
I have Type 2 Diabetes and have found that managing my disease is possible just by changing my diet alone. I have noticed that when I eat a vegetarian or vegan diet that my numbers drop without any insulin or pills at all. And the side effects of a lot of the medications they prescribe are horrendous. Nobody who wants to live life to the fullest has time to sit in a bathroom most of their day or stay close to one just because of the side effects. I much prefer to eat healthier foods and exercise on a regular basis as well as keep my stress levels low than to have to deal with all that medication and the ill effects on my body. I’ve also noticed also that by eating mostly fruits and vegetables I have more energy and my hair and skin look better as well.
Thank you for this blog post. I completely agree with you!
Delaine – thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m really glad that changing your diet helped you manage your diabetes. Keep up the good work and please keep us posted. It was great to see you on LifeOhm. ~Monica 🙂