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.
We especially need to pay attention to what we eat when we are sick so we can give our bodies the nutrients it needs to heal. And if you want to be even more deliberate in improving health—perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition—a Functional Medicine approach can yield great benefits.
Overall, seeing your food as medicine helps you make better decisions about what (and how) to eat in order to make the best decisions for your own wellbeing.
In many medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, or Native American, food has always been an important way to treat illness and maintain health. Little by little more ‘traditional’ medical institutions and environments are recognizing the legitimacy and importance of these approaches.
An increasing number of studies provide evidence for the preventive or curative properties of certain foods, as well as the effects of utilizing food and diet as part of a comprehensive approach to health. For example:
Garlic is often used in the U.S. for its ability to lower cholesterol and serum triglycerides.
Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, which can protect cells, tissues, and cellular components from damage by so-called Reactive Oxygen Species.
Some studies suggest that ginger may be an effective treatment for nausea
There are many other plants that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds known as phytochemicals. Often, it is important to eat the whole plant, as the skin or outer hull contains nutrients and fiber that offer significant health benefits.