Food as Medicine: Food Items That Have Medicinal Properties

Did you know that our entire health depends on the food and nutrients we get from it? There have been studies that prove that having healthy food promotes our overall health, both physically as well as psychologically.

Moreover, a recent study has shown that food and lifestyle changes can increase an individual’s life expectancy by up to 10 years. Many foods have medicinal properties that help treat diseases and keep the human body healthy.

1. Understanding the Connection Between Food and Health

Our essential need for survival is food. Food gives us excellent nutrition through various important components for the body, such as fibre, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, enabling our body to function properly.

A balanced diet has been taken by storm in recent years due to the role food has been shown to have in lowering the risk of disease.

2. The Importance of Food Components on Our Health

food as medicine
Source: Pexels

1) Vitamins and minerals These are the most important micronutrients for the body’s healthy growth. Vitamins and minerals support the body’s potential to fight against infections, help regulate and balance hormones, and heal injuries. It also helps strengthen bones and improve the body’s immune system.

2) Fiber It maintains the health of our digestive system and bowel movement. Fiber helps in more systematic absorption of nutrients and helps relieve constipation.

3) Protein Made of amino acids, proteins function mainly within body cells. They produce and release various hormones, including glucagon and insulin, which help in tissue regeneration, supply energy, and keep the body’s pH within the right limit.

4) Healthy fats Fat, in small quantities, is necessary for the body to absorb vitamins like A, D, and E, which keeps the body balanced. They also help in increasing organs’ life and promote heart health.

Therefore, a diet high in nutrients promotes health, which is ideal for the body’s functioning.

3. Food as Medicine: Food Items With the Highest Medicinal Properties

food as medicine
Source: Pexels

3.1. Lentils

  • It’s a great source of proteins, fibre, and potassium, which help regulate heart and blood pressure.
  • Also, it lowers cholesterol in diabetic patients and protects women from breast cancer due to being high in iron and magnesium.
  • It helps prevent the building up of fat in the form of lumps in the liver, which enables the liver to efficiently eliminate toxins from the body and store enzymes more competently in the gall bladder.

3.2. Mushrooms

  • It’s a good source of vitamin B, which helps form cells in the body more efficiently.
  • Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities help to maintain a healthy digestive system and a strong immune system.
  • Being rich in antioxidants and amino acids, it helps to reduce cancer risk and promotes brain health.

3.3. Leafy Green Vegetables

  • Vegetables are a good source of iron, zinc, and calcium that helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • It is rich in micronutrients, so it helps improve vision and supports healthy, glowing skin and hair.
  • It includes vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli, which support a healthy lifestyle and help lower stress levels.

3.4. Avacados

food as medicine
Source: Pexels
  • It contains a good amount of healthy fats that help control blood sugar levels by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body.
  • Due to the presence of vitamin K, avocados help the body absorb calcium, which, as a result, supports the health of bones.
  • Being a good source of folic acid, it decreases the development of stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.

3.5. Eggs

  • It is one of the most commonly available sources of protein that people include in their healthy diet.
  • It is rich in vitamins like B-2 and B-12, which are important for red blood cell formation and energy storage in the body thereby preventing anemia.
  • It’s also known as the “superfood for hair” since it strengthens hair roots, which results in silky, smooth, and more voluminous hair.

3.6. Oily fish

  • Oily fish include salmon, tuna, and trout. These contain higher omega-3 fatty acids, which support the functioning of the heart and brain.
  • Some studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids help with inflammatory problems like arthritis.
  • Also, it helps in maintaining an ideal weight by promoting reproductive health in women. It is also a food source of nutrients for women suffering from PCOD or endometriosis.
  • It promotes concentration in children, making them more involved and alert in daily activities.

3.7. Blueberries

  • It contains sufficient antioxidants, which help in weight loss and improve vision.
  • Being rich in anti-bacterial properties, it helps in proper digestion and supports overall health by not letting bacteria multiply in the body.
  • Moreover, it helps to protect your skin from premature ageing and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

3.8. Garlic

food as medicine
Source: Pexels
  • Due to its anti-bacterial properties, garlic helps eliminate cold and cough infections.
  • It includes a chemical called allicin, which promotes intestinal health.
  • Also, filled with antioxidants, it helps cure acne on the face and reduce swelling.
  • Further, it prevents blood vessels from getting blocked and reduces the chances of heart attack.

3.9. Ginger

  • It is high in active compounds known as gingerol, a substance rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help better digestion, prevent nausea, and fight against the common cold.
  • It is effective in preventing pregnancy-related nausea and morning sickness.
  • Moreover, it helps slow the growth of cancerous cells in the ovaries, liver, breast, and skin.

3.10. Fruits

  • It’s an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, high in fiber that provides antioxidants to fight against infections and indigestion.
  • Most fruits like apricots, apples, pears, and plums, have a low glycemic index which helps manage blood sugar levels in diabetic people.
  • A diet rich in fruits helps protect against cancer and heart diseases.

3.11. Chia Seeds

  • It’s a super nutrient-rich food as medicine with a good amount of antioxidants, minerals, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • It helps in the improvement of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
  • Also, it helps regulate and balance hormones in females suffering from PCOD.

3.12. Flax Seeds

  • It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain moderate weight and reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Being rich in fibre, it promotes regular bowel movements and improves digestion.
  • It helps lower blood sugar, thereby reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes.

The foods listed above have immense medicinal properties and health benefits. However, it is important to have a properly balanced diet that provides all the required nutrients for the body’s functioning.

Last Updated on by laibaarif

Authors

NITYA KAKKAR
Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *