“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
–Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)
Food As Medicine
Whether we realize it or not, we are creating our bodies, our inner health, outer appearance, our mood, and energy levels with every meal every day. The good news is that foods considered the most beneficial for our health are also some of the most delicious and enjoyed foods around the world. Some of these foods are wild fish like salmon; berries, tomatoes, organic yogurt; whole grains like quinoa; vegetables like spinach and broccoli, onions and garlic; beneficial fats from almonds and walnuts, avocados and extra virgin olive oil; as well as herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, green tea and even small amounts of dark chocolate and red wine!
From the Past
One of the most powerful foods is actually tea. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.” The enjoyment, reverence, and even obsession with tea have persevered for at least 4,000 years. Science reveals that antioxidant-rich green tea has a profound effect on heart health, preventing the formation of abnormal blood clots, regulating immune function, rheumatoid arthritis, weight loss, wrinkles, and skin damage, and providing overall cancer prevention.
What Could Save Your Life Now
Many people are not getting enough iodine and vitamin D. These two nutrients are essential for the prevention of the most common cancers and for optimal immune function, bone health, and thyroid health. Iodine is key in the function of the immune system that removes precancerous and malignant cells. Healthy iodine levels are particularly associated with a reduction in breast and thyroid cancers. The richest sources of iodine are from sea vegetables like in seaweed salads of arame and hijiki, seaweed soups of wakame and kombu, and the nori sheets used in many sushi dishes.
Other sources of iodine are seafood, fish, eggs, organic milk, and yogurt. Kelp and seaweed supplements are also available at health food stores.
The richest food sources of vitamin D are wild fish, organic eggs, and grass-fed butter. The sun provides vitamin D if you are able to get out in the sun 3 days a week for 20 minutes at a time, wearing a tank top and shorts to allow enough skin exposure for proper absorption. Vitamin D3 is also available for supplementation. Vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test, and I encourage you to request this test from your health care provider. The optimal Vitamin D range is 50-80 ng/mL.
Research shows that once your vitamin D level has reached 50 or higher, the risk of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer can be reduced by a phenomenal 50%. If your levels are deficient, I would recommend starting with a 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily dose taken with food. For maintenance, a 1,000 to 2,000 IU dosage is adequate. Once you are supplementing, it is important to follow up with your health care provider for repeat testing to monitor levels.
Food Rx for a Healthy Future
The top five medicinal foods I can recommend for women are watercress, seaweed, green tea, berries, and avocados; and for men, broccoli, wild salmon, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and organic dark red and purple grapes.
Heath is not only extending our years but also, maybe even more importantly, enriching the quality of each year and every day.