Food is Medicine!

I say this a lot “Food is Medicine”, I tag it on my Instagram posts and I keep on saying it to my clients. “Food is Medicine” You will even find the following quote on my website homepage.

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates”

So it goes to show how long this ideal has been around, but it seems that we are ignoring this piece of information. In fact I don’t really think that people fully understand the impact that food has on their health.

In clinic I often use herbs or nutrients along with nutritional information to help treat whatever the condition is. But I wonder whether people are looking for a quick fix, one pill option. Just like when they go to the GP.

It can take many years for your health to deteriorate due to bad diet choices, so it seems reasonable that it will take time for it to be repaired. Medications are not the answer they are often only a bandaid approach. Medications often come with their own set of side effects that can add to the original condition.

How important then is food as medicine? Extremely is the correct answer!

A diet low in protein will cause issues with mood, depression, anxiety and sleep. Vitamin B1, B3, B6, B9 and B12 are all essential for optimal neuronal function, and a deficiency is often associated with declining memory function, cognitive impairment and dementia. There is also a link with depression.

Stomach acid, zinc, B1 and B6 are all essential to breakdown your proteins into amino acids. In order for these amino acids to get broken down further and supply you with things like tryptophan and serotonin (the feel good one and the one targeted with prescription medications) you will also need magnesium, vitamin C, folate, iron and calcium. This is a big list of nutrients and often these are the most common deficiencies seen in clinic. Another reason why “Food is Mood”.

Stomach acid can only be produced in a healthy gut environment where the pH is optimal. Stomach acid plays a key role in the digestion of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Stomach acid requires B6 and zinc for production and can be disturbed by some of our modern addictions such as coffee and alcohol. When the pH of the stomach gets low then the secretion of enzymes needed for protein breakdown are inhibited. This can lead to undigested proteins which then putrefy in the gut, and may cause gas, bloating, heartburn and other digestive issues.

Stress is often a major cause in this digestive upheaval as it cause a down regulation of digestive function. When this happens we see some of the gut issues as already mentioned, but also an increase in inflammation. When there is inflammation in the gut we may see a “leaky gut” and this can lead to food sensitivities.

So again how important is food! Very important! You are what you eat, literally!

Nutrients are mostly gained from fresh, whole food rather than packaged and processed stuff.  B vitamins are found in your leafy green vegetables and there are not too many of those in a packet or in fast food.

Fresh fruit and vegetables contain a large variety of vitamins and minerals all which are needed for proper bodily functions. Proteins are found in your lean meats, eggs, legumes, cheese and milks. Good fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish. Wholegrains and starchy vegetables are a good source of carbohydrate.

When you have particular food cravings it can indicate a deficiency of a vitamin or mineral. Take chocolate for example this is often a magnesium deficiency, while dairy cravings can indicate calcium deficiency.

For more information on what your cravings mean download the following:

Cravings list

If you are concerned about your gut health and want to take the leaky gut survey following the following link.

leaky Gut Surv WORD.revised

Feeling stressed? Take the stress survey

Stress_Quiz_A4

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