FOOD IS MEDICINE
The food we eat gives our bodies the "information" and materials they need to function properly. If we don't get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines. In short, what we eat is central to our health.
Consider that in light of Webster's definition of medicine: "The science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease." Food acts as medicine, to maintain, prevent, and treat disease.
The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. This quote from a popular textbook describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning.
"Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline.
When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop."In other words, nutrients give our bodies instructions about how to function. In this sense, food can be seen as a source of "information" for the body.
The Functional Medicine Perspective
One component of Functional Medicine focuses on how diet impacts health and function. When Functional Medicine practitioners examine the role of nutrition in chronic disease, they look at multiple systems, such as the digestive system, the immune system, and the detoxification system, because of the interconnections between those systems. For instance, because 80% of the immune system is contained in the gastrointestinal system, a person's issues with immunity could be related to faulty digestion.
Functional Medicine maintains that chronic disease is almost always preceded by a period of declining health in one or more of the body's systems. Thus, these practitioners seek to identify early the symptoms that indicate underlying dysfunction, possibly leading to disease.
What is a good example?
During her initial visit, Lynn (53), just had one goal: "I need to get healthy!" Her cholesterol was elevated (including triglycerides), and she had taken Lipitor for five years. Her blood pressure had been elevated in the past. She had acid reflux and had been on Zantac for 15 years.
She slept poorly and experienced sleep apnea and extreme fatigue. She was taking hormone replacement therapy for hormonal headaches that had plagued her for years. She had experienced swollen, painful joints for many years, which had developed into osteoarthritis. Her bowels tended toward constipation, and she craved bread and sweets.
The nutritionist noted her systemic inflammation, water retention, swelling, and constipation and suspected a food sensitivity. She suggested that Lynn eliminate corn, dairy, and wheat from her diet; keep track of her body's reaction to the changes; and then gradually introduce these foods one at a time.
When Lynn returned four weeks later, she had determined through the elimination diet that she had a corn sensitivity. Since eliminating corn, she reported feeling much better, and the pain in her back and legs had diminished. Her constipation was relieved and much of the swelling and fluid retention also improved. Lynn reported that "I lost only five pounds, but I feel smaller."
Returning at eight weeks, Lynn reported that the, "changes have been easy." She had lost 20 pounds and her energy was much improved: "I wake up ready for the day." She was walking a mile and a half each day and her cravings for sugar had also diminished, much to her delight. She reported feeling more in control of her eating.
At 12 weeks, Lynn said the changes were becoming habit. "I feel so much better." Her energy continued to improve; she had lost a total of 27 pounds, and she experienced less pain.
Curcumin, possibly the most powerful antioxidant known from the popular Indian spice Turmeric, has countless health benefits. A recent study led by a research team in Munich showed that it can also inhibit formation of metastases.
Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), suggesting that its effect on endothelial function may be mediated by the suppression of inflammation and/or oxidative stress via down-regulation of TNF-alpha.
One of the most comprehensive summaries of a review of 700 turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd. He showed that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.
2. Grapes and Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a phenolic compound that contributes to the antioxidant potential of red grapes.
Resveratrol is not only an antioxidant and antimutagen, but also reduces oxidant-caused cell death. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit production of nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-A) by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated Kuppfer cells. Kuppfer cells are macrophages fixed in place in the liver. Their chronic overproduction of nitric oxide and TNF-A due to chronic infection can cause severe liver damage.
Perhaps Resveratrol's most important property is its ability to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (CoX-2). CoX-2 is related to cancers and abnormal growths in the intestinal tract. Natural CoX-2 inhibitors such as resveratrol have been shown to reduce the occurrence of cancers and pre-cancerous growths. So while pharmaceutical companies race to find complex agents that inhibit CoX-2, the ingredient is already present in red grapes which if consumed daily (or via organic grape juice) will protect against tumors naturally.
3. Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea are due to the presence of a group of plant flavonoids called catechins. Of particular interest to researchers is epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), the primary catechin in green tea. For example, South Korean researchers have found that EGCG blocks TNF naturally by interfering with the ability of certain pro-inflammatory chemicals to bind to cells of smooth muscle tissue of the vascular system. In a 2009 study conducted by the Chonbuk National University Medical School, it was noted that the specific mechanism of action of EGCG in terms of blocking TNF is the suppression of fractalkine, an inflammatory agent specifically involved in the development of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Regular consumption of tomato and its products is being consistently associated with lower risk of several types of cancer and, to a lesser extent, coronary heart disease. Among the many tomato components credited with healthful properties, carotenoids and particularly lycopene are being actively investigated.
Modest effects of the regular intake of a tomato juice provides small amounts of carotenoids which were found on the production of inflammatory mediators, such as TNF-alpha. TNF-alpha production by whole blood was found to be more than 30% lower after almost a month of consuming raw tomato juice.
5. Raw Fruits and Veggies
There is sufficient evidence to indicate that a diet consisting of foods high in natural antioxidants such as raw fruits and vegetables provide anti-inflammatory benefits. The higher the intake the more they are associated with significant reductions in levels of markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha).
Any fruits or vegetables (preferably dark colored) which are a good source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells, blocks the growth of cancer cells. A team of researchers at Ohio State University announced that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cabbage its purple color are capable of cutting the growth of colon cancer cells both in vitro and in rats by 50%-100%, with certain extracts even destroying up to 20% of the cancer cells while leaving healthy surrounding cells intact.
Oily fish, fish oil, flax seed oil, hemp oil, and healthy oil blend supplements provide omega 3 fatty acids (and other beneficial fatty acids), which fight inflammation and make the body less hospitable to cancer cells. Vitamin D is also known to kill cancer, and you can find many fish oils and some vegan oil blends with vitamin D in them.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, watercress, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, arugula, and more. These vegetables contain sulforaphane and other helpful compounds, which help fight tumors, breast, prostate, brain, and colorectal cancers, as well as leukemia. Broccoli sprouts and mature broccoli in combination really pack nutritional, cancer fighting punch.
Black raspberries appear to reign supreme, though all berries contain cancer fighting phytonutrients and high amounts of ellagic acid, which inhibit tumor growth.
Maitake and Shiitake Mushrooms
Google maitake mushrooms and cancer and the American Cancer Society pops up at the top of the search list. For one brief moment it seemed they might actually be doing their job, but no. They claim there have been no studies to show that maitake or any other mushroom help fight cancer. Continue your search and study after study reveals they do indeed.
Mushrooms boost immune function and are a great source of antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamins C and B vitamins as well as calcium and other minerals.
Curcumin, found in turmeric, inhibits the spread of cancer (metastases) along with its anti-inflammatory and oxidative effects. Tumeric can be found at farmer's markets in root form. It can be used liberally to spice your food (great on salads or in salad dressing as well as in cooked dishes) with no side effects.
The active compounds found in tomatoes, carotenoids and lycopene (especially lycopene), are very helpful, especially in the fight of prostate and pancreatic cancer in men. Seven to ten helpings are week are suggested, both cooked and raw juice. To gain the health benefits of juice, make your own. Store bought tomato juice will be pasteurized. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant.
Egg yolks, avocadoes, apricots, green leafy vegetables, and pumpkin are among the foods rich in folate. For meat eaters, chicken livers are very high in folate. Studies involving folate or its synthetic form, folic acid, show a significant reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Folate or folic acid ?is essential for the body to correctly replicate DNA.
Even the National Cancer Institute admits garlic "...may reduce the risk of developing several types of?cancer, especially cancers of the?gastrointestinal tract".
Garlic reduces inflammation, fights free radicals, and fights cancer. Eat it raw or chop it up and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking with it or its beneficial compound, allicin, will not be released.
The compound found in red grapes, resveratrol, is a powerful antioxidant that also saves cells from oxidant-caused death. Grape seeds have huge benefits. We recommend you don't eat grapes without seeds.
An alkaline, balanced diet with plenty of nutrition, and as few toxins as possible, makes the body inhospitable to cancer. Sugar feeds cancer. Processed and refined foods feed cancer. Raw, organic vegetables, especially when grown for maximum nutrient content (as opposed to large scale farming) should be the foundation of any healthy diet. We also recommend that anyone with cancer undergo a full body detox with a supplement regimen specifically designed for your current state of health. For more information on what to do for cancer, check out the first three sources. For information on detoxifying, check
Wishing you all Health, Love & Happiness
Love, Holistic Angel