When food becomes your pharmacy
Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food, Hippocrates once said.
Today, doctors believe that food is more than just fuel. It can determine how elastic your blood vessels are, how easily you resist cancer-causing toxins and whether or not you are on the road toward heart disease. Studies suggest that the quality of calories we eat has a huge impact on our well-being and our risk of chronic disease and longevity.
Evidence suggests that the kitchen may contain potent disease-fighting agents. Researchers have found that people at risk of diabetes could delay or in some cases even prevent the disease from developing by eating fewer calories, getting them from the right kind of foods and exercising more than two hours a week. Even people who were genetically predisposed to diabetes benefited most. In essence, diet and other lifestyle factors altered their genetic destiny.
Experts advice that one should stick to foods that are naturally nutritious, and consider adding functional foods where you can.
Foods that protect cancer
- Use olive oil liberally as people in the Mediterranean countries develop less cancer than others.
- Olive oil contains phenols and antioxidants like lignans which fights breast cancer, skin and colon cancer.
- Soya contains substances like isoflavones that act as medicine to reduce breast cancer and prostate cancer.
- Have lots of fruits and vegetables as they speed up your waste transit through your bowel, preventing the build-up of toxins that can lead to colon cancer
- Spinach, lettuce, berries, peaches and broccoli are highly beneficial antioxidant foods. They also reduce the salt in the stomach, which is good for preventing cancers.
- A handful of peanuts are known to inhibit growth of cancer in the breast.
Foods for healthy heart
- Mono unsaturated fats like canola, peanut and olive oil cut the risk of heart disease.
- Water soluble fibre found in beans, fruits and oats knocks down the cholesterol levels.
- Aim for four fruits daily to get vitamin C, which protects the wall of the arteries from damage, instigated by high LDL levels.
- Three-four ounces of fish twice a week cuts down your risk of heart disease by 35 per cent as it increases the HDL — good cholesterol in the blood.
- Almond, walnuts and hazelnuts contain vitamin E, which increases the good cholesterol in the blood.
Food for diabetes:
A combination of nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds; cinnamon, garlic, flaxseeds and foods high in soluble fibre such as oatmeal, barley, lentils and apples.
Food for blood pressure:
Incorporation of foods rich in potassium such as fruits, combination of pulses, ragi and whole grains can significantly reduce the blood pressure.
Food for constipation:
Yoghurt (it provides a good bacterial flora) not only reduces constipation but also improves immunity. Flaxseed, bran n husk, whole grains and vegetables are also advised.
Food for anemia:
Bajra, jowar, ragi, soyabean and methi leaves in combination with lemon juice, citrus fruits and amla.