“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food” Hippocrates.
We eat for the purpose of filling an empty stomach and for fueling the body. What we eat can contribute to good health by nutrient absorption, calorie expenditure availability and by the active compounds found in foods and spices. When looking at the vast fruit and vegetable varieties loaded with compounds that help us sustain good health, we have a natural pharmacy available at our finger tips.
Asparagus contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients, which all help to combat arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. Asparagus contains one of the most powerful antioxidants called Glutathione. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, asparagus is a robust fighter against bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, ovarian and other cancers. It is an effective diuretic and has been used to treat swelling, arthritis, rheumatism, and PMS-related water retention. One cup of asparagus provides 114% of the RDA of Vitamin K, which strengthen bones, prevents calcium build-up in the arteries that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable. The pulp of artichoke leaves increases bile flow. Artichokes may even regenerate liver tissue.
Ingredients in artichoke leaves have been shown to reduce total cholesterol, raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Artichoke leaf extract has potential value in relieving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Artichokes have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Broccoli and other calciferous vegetables are rapidly becoming the champion vegetables as studies from many prestigious medical universities are finding them protective against hormone-related cancer. They aids the body in promoting the good hormones while helping the body get rid of the destructive hormones.
Cherries contain melatonin which helps to regulate the sleep cycle and is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Cherries help stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and of the urine and are effective cleansers of the liver and kidneys. They also provide relief to patients with gout; a disease that is characterized by an excess of uric acid that accumulates in the joints of the feet and knees.
Studies on Cinnamon demonstrate how after a 40 day trial of taking 3 different amounts of cinnamon it reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%. Cinnamon is effective for stomach cramps, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, infant colic and uterine problems. Another study showed the effectiveness of taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast and how it significantly relieved arthritis pain after one week and how participants could walk without pain within one month.
These are examples of how food can assist the body in overcoming different health conditions. Every fruit, vegetable and spice can provide benefits in one form or other. The quantities of these foods need to be in therapeutic doses. Thus one serving of broccoli might not have the desired beneficial effect but a concentrated dose in supplement form taken over time can be very protective of health. By consuming the Mediterranean diet recommendation of 10 servings of vegetables per day we have the ability to introduce the compounds found in our foods that protect us from many common aliments. The key is to be proactive in the prevention rather then waiting until the disease process is in a chronic active form.