Let Food Be Thy Medicine
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Research has proved a relationship between functional components of food, health and well-being. Thus, functional components of food (medicinal property) can be effectively applied in the treatment and prevention of diseases.

In the face of the global pandemic, the diet related chronic disease, there is an increased experimentation with the use of “Food is Medicine” interventions to prevent, manage, and treat illness. The important role of food and nutrition is being increasingly recognized nowadays in this present time. The emergence of this world pandemic has made it clear and has compelled us to think that healthy eating can play a major role to lower the risk of certain medical conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and even certain types of cancers. COVID-19 has taught us that appropriate nutrition and hydration are vital for proper functioning of human body.

Human body is a complex system; its functions depend on what it requires at what interval. Food not just fuels the body, consumption of some restrictive foods may worsen the health; and taking few selective foods will improve health condition. It’s clear that following a nutritious diet is one of the most important factors in living a long, healthy life. Keep in mind that you should not rely on food to replace conventional medicine. More than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This thousands years old quote reminds us the importance of healthy eating and how the nutrients in various foods have healing properties.

Food is one that nourishes the body. Eating a well balanced diet with adequate nutrients and appropriate calories is a basic requirement for continued health. Occasionally we do judge food with their taste and intake junk foods – that are high in calories, but poor in nutritional contents like essential vitamins, fibre, minerals, proteins etc. So proper information on food is needed and that should be properly spread in the society to erase the false and wrong ideas regarding healthy food, food safety and nutrition. Nothing but our Immune System can beat various diseases and especially COVID-19. To grow a stronger immune system, you need to eat a diet high in various nutrients like plant based foods. Immunity is built when our body can fight off everything from everyday aging to infections. One fact has been proven by various researches that our immunity is helped by the micronutrients in the food, such as antioxidants, various vitamins and minerals.

A balanced diet guarantees a strong immune system that can help withstand any harm by the virus. There is currently no evidence that any supplement can ‘boost’ our immune system and treat or prevent any viral infections, except Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the major constituents of water soluble vitamins which tends to make a strong immune system. The daily recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin C is 90mg/d for men and 75mg/d for women. In the current situation, it is necessary to be aware of the specific types of food that can improve our immune system in order to combat COVID-19. Here are some professional and authentic dietary guidelines to withstand COVID-19:­­

Food Medicinal Properties Functions
Quinoa, Eggs, Mushrooms, Cottage Cheese Amino Acids Considered the building blocks of protein. Help in muscle development and recovery, immune function and disease management
Beans, Peas, Lentils Potassium, Magnesium Help to relax the walls of blood vessels, maintain proper blood pressure and protect against muscle cramping
Fatty Fish, Flaxseed, Chia Seeds, Walnuts Omega-3 Fatty Acids Support to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and triglycerides and chances of heart attack and stroke
Pears, Strawberries, Apples, Bananas, Carrots High-Fiber Foods Can lower the cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, control body weight, and maintain bowel health
Green Tea Antioxidants Help to protect the body against damage from free radicals; may play a role to protect from heart disease and cancer
Amla, Lemon, Lime, Orange Vitamin C Supports human body to increase overall immunity and to protect from common illness and ailments
Fish Oil, Whole Milk, Soymilk Vitamin D Helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and to keep the bones, teeth and muscles healthy
Chicken, Fish, Dairy Products, Whole Grains, Pulses Protein Supports to build, repair and oxygenate the body. Also helps to reduce muscle loss and build lean muscle

Research has proved a relationship between functional components of food, health and well-being. Thus, functional components of food (medicinal property) can be effectively applied in the treatment and prevention of diseases. They act simultaneously with the potential to impart physiological benefits and promotion of wellbeing including reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammation, type II diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases, lowering of blood cholesterol, neutralization of reactive oxygen species and charged radicals, anti-carcinogenic effect, low-glycaemic response, etc.

However, probiotics, prebiotics, conjugated linolenic acid, long-chain omega-3, -6 and -9-polyunsaturated fatty acids, and bioactive peptides have proved that functional components are equally available in animal products such as milk, fermented milk products and cold-water fish. The way a food is processed affects its functional components. Hence, in a time when the role of a healthy diet in preventing non-communicable diseases is well accepted, the borderline between food and medicine is becoming very thin.

NOTE: Food should not be used as a replacement for medicine: Though shifting to a healthier dietary pattern can indeed prevent disease, it’s critical to understand that food cannot and should not replace pharmaceutical drugs.
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