Think of Food As Medicine
Have you ever walked through the grocery store thinking of the food that you put into your cart as medicine? I just went to the grocery store yesterday and decided to put my doctor’s jacket on and really put the right things for my body in my cart. I’ve been reading the book, “How Not to Die,” by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM and took notes to share with everyone.
While doing the research for this blog, my nephew was visiting. He loves eating meat and hates eating vegetables. I shared with him how different vegetables benefit his body and make it so now and later in life his body is strong and can take on a variety of symptoms that might arise. He was perplexed with the thought that food could help his body. But I can tell that I planted a seed that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
In the same way, when I eat with my kids I like to call out the reason we are eating a vegetable, to the point where they share this information with family and friends when we have dinner parties. :) I am happy that these little talks encourage my kids to eat well.
As a society, we have gotten used to just going to the doctor and getting prescribed the medicine to get rid of the symptoms we are feeling. But people used to eat certain things to keep those things from happening to the body. Food almost always plays a role in both the cause and the cure for the disease. We should start doing what we can to protect our bodies, and that starts with the food we eat.
Every bite counts
Every bite you take is programming your biological software for better or worse. It’s interesting when I talk to friends and family that are going through peri/menopause they all say they know that they need to workout and eat well...but, they really don’t know which foods really help with the symptoms that are affecting them. They are just eating blindly. Which could be fine...but, if you want the true bang for your buck. Take a few notes and know what you need to add to your diet to really benefit your body. Here are a few symptoms and what can help that I thought would be a good start:
Depression is one of the symptoms that many women going through peri/menopause have experienced. What if, instead of being prescribed prozac or HRT, you could simply try adding a few items to your diet to see how your body responds? Depression may be caused by low thyroid function, celiac disease, B12 deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, antibiotics that alter the microbiome, heavy metal toxicity, omega-3 deficiency, or even insulin resistance (from too much starch and sugar). Each of these causes requires a very different treatment. What if you add saffron to your diet? It has been shown that this spice can help reduce depression. Even just smelling it can help! Another thing to note, eating tons of veggies cuts the odds of depression by as much as 62%! Even if you think you don’t like vegetables, there are so many out there that it’s just fun to try and see which you prefer to start off.
Every time your blood sugar drops, the body releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which will simply exacerbate the hormone imbalance and make everything worse. Here is the hard part: The best way to help this is to cut sugary foods and refined carbs like white bread and pasta. Instead of these foods, eat a combination of protein-rich foods and complex carbs which take longer to process. And here is something else you might not have tried. Did you know that apple cider vinegar (ACV) could help with your blood sugar management? If you take 2 tablespoons of ACV before bed and have type 2 diabetes, you could wake up with better blood sugar in the morning!
Your Grocery List:
Here is a list to start you on your way to benefitting your body with what you eat.
- Brazil Nuts - Serving of four a month almost immediately improved cholesterol levels.
- Kale - The queen of greens, helps to control cholesterol.
- Fiber - A number of studies show that a high fiber diet may prevent strokes.
- Turmeric - The bright-yellow color in turmeric is from curcumin which is a compound that fights cancer.
- Lentils - Rich in prebiotics-slow the rate at which sugars are absorbed into your system
- Beans - Are packed with fiber, folate, and phytates which may help reduce the risk of stroke, depression and colon cancer. No time for soaking the beans? That’s ok, canned beans are just as good. Just rinse for a while to get rid of the added salt.
- Soy - The phytogens in soy appear to both help prevent breast cancer and improve breast cancer survival.
- Apples - Eating a dozen dried apple rings a day may drop LDL cholesterol levels 16% within three months and 24% within 6 months. Take note: don’t peel the apple.
- The color counts - When grocery shopping, keep this in mind: colorful foods are often healthier because they contain antioxidant pigments-the colors are the antioxidants. So, the darker colored vegetables are more beneficial for your body. For example, purple cabbage is more beneficial to your body than green cabbage. Got it?
- Rice Vinegar - A tablespoon of rice vinegar was found to improve artery function in post menopausal women.
- Green & Yellow veggies - A study showed that a higher intake of green & yellow veggies was associated with decreased facial wrinkling.
- Peanuts - I have always been afraid of my kids eating peanuts because of the allergy scare. But, it turns out that peanuts can help women at high risk for heart disease. And, that peanuts could help lower the risk of breast cancer! A double duty legume!
- Flaxseeds - Some studies suggest that regular consumption of flaxseed can help to reduce hot flushes and night sweats.
- Japanese Benifuuki green tea - drinking about three cups of this tea per day, starting six to ten weeks before pollen season could reduce allergy symptoms!
- Soy products - Recent studies have found that the ingredient can help with menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
- Calcium - Calcium plays an important role in building and maintaining bone health. You can get calcium from more products than just dairy, like: salmon, broccoli, almonds and chia seeds.
Now, the fun part, to eat!
Now that you are armed with the foods to keep you healthy, have fun finding new recipes to try. Or, pick up books like “How Not to Die” for ideas on how to add these foods to what you are already eating.