The Role of Food As Medicine
Whether or not early healers or ancient practitioners recommended medicinal foods such as oils, herbs, or fruits as medicine, the application of food as medicine has been one way to treat, control, and even prevent many common diseases. This method is particularly relevant to modern health and medicinal systems today. In the case of a simple fever or cold, the application of food has been around since cavemen learned to cook a meal. Today, many diseases can be treated by using food to heal the body. Many of these have their roots in what came before the age of agriculture. The use of food to treat diseases is called “folk medicine” and is a very important component of today’s western medicine.
Food as medicine dates back to the beginnings of recorded history. Even cavemen used food as medicine. By combining plant and animal proteins, the first food sources were plants and nuts that provided protein, minerals, and other nutrients that were essential to living. As crops and domesticated animals were more productive, food as medicine became more important and is still used today.
In this type of medicine, food is used to treat, prevent, or heal different types of disease. The earliest examples are probably found in relation to food related conditions. Diarrhea, which can be a result of any number of factors, is often treated by adding food that restores a proper balance to the intestines, such as papaya or figs to a person’s diet. High blood pressure can be prevented by changing the diet to include a lot of fruit and/or fresh vegetables (especially dark colored ones) and whole grains. Certain diets can actually increase the risk of cancer, even though no one has proven that diet plays a role in that particular type of cancer. But it is well known that certain diets can reduce a person’s life expectancy.
To prevent heart disease, researchers have found a relationship between the food eaten and blood levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines in the bloodstream. A study done at the University of Wisconsin found that a low fodmap diet reduced markers of inflammation in the bloodstream. Doctors are not sure whether it caused the lowering of markers, but they think it may be related.
People who suffer from chronic diseases may also use food as medicine
Those with Crohn’s disease can use food as medicine for IBD, colitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, as well as those who have diabetes and experience recurring infections. Even more recently, it has been discovered that certain foods can help regulate brain chemistry, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, and slow or stop the growth of tumors.
This type of medicine can be used by dietitians, registered dieticians, and people who have a special license to practice nutrition and dietitian. It is not recommended that you use food from your kitchen for treating any of these diseases. It is important to remember that many of these diseases are considered chronic, and that they will require ongoing medical care. For this reason, you should contact your doctor if you start experiencing symptoms that seem like diabetes, hypertension, a stroke, or a heart attack.
In addition to treating symptoms, some foods have been found to lower high blood pressure
One such food, rice bran oil, has been shown to reduce high blood pressure by reducing the size of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Other foods have also been found to lower high blood pressure. Some studies have shown that fish oil can reduce high blood pressure by half. Another example of a food that can lower high blood pressure is oatmeal.
Dietitians and nutritionists agree that most people eat a balanced diet that lacks the proper nutrients. Processed foods, which are high in sodium, are often used to replace healthy foods in a diet. To get the most nutrition out of your food, you should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in nutrients, protein, vitamins, and antioxidants are important to the body, but many of these healthy foods are very hard to find in today’s world.