Good Nutrition: Your Food Is Your Medicine
by Dr. Tina Marcantel
Proper nutrition is the key to good health. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic physician practicing in Gilbert, Arizona, and serving Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, and the greater Phoenix area.
Good nutrition is not just about weight management; certain foods we eat can actually be “medicine” to our bodies. It is so exciting to realize that we can control the health of our body cells by a healthy diet. Based on what we put into our bodies, we determine what our body will be made of and how well it will function. Thus, we can decrease or prevent illness.
Just as a cut on the surface of your skin will heal itself, the rest of your body–from the cellular level to vital organs–is also designed for self-healing. Healing is a normal biological process programmed into your DNA. This self-healing occurs when you give your body the raw materials it needs to live, prosper, and heal.
Some people are surprised to find shortly after they change to a healthier diet that they can often experience brief symptoms such as headaches, pimples, nausea, cold-like symptoms or loss of energy. This unpleasant little episode is known as the “healing crisis,” “detoxification,” or a “cleansing reaction,” and it is fairly common. It is our body’s way of nutritional housecleaning.
There are many common ailments and diseases that foods can help heal. Here are a few examples:
Many people (particularly diabetics) have problems with high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Eating certain high fiber foods such as black beans, ground flax, and broccoli, can play a big role in balancing blood sugar levels. For some good high fiber recipes check out our recipes page.
Lemons are great for aiding food digestion and also help to balance blood sugar. They also can help keep the body in a more alkaline state. (Although lemon juice is an acid, it changes to a base in the body.)
During the hot summer we tend to lose precious fluids that contain electrolytes that are important for body functions. A lack of potassium can cause muscle cramps and even lead to irregular heartbeat. Make sure your diet include foods high in potassium, such as avocados, tomato sauce, and (to a lesser extent) bananas.
Women with high blood levels of estrogen are more prone to breast cancer. Eat sources of fiber such as flaxseed, nuts, raw fruits, and vegetables. Fiber acts like a sponge to “mop up” excess estrogen and bring the hormone out into the intestine as part of fecal matter.
Come back to this page soon to see more specific complaints and the foods that can “target” your healing processes. And remember, a good diet and nutrition regimen is not something you “try”–it is a way of life. When you realize that it can greatly improve the quality of your life, you understand that it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a favor that you are doing for yourself! Bon appetite!