by Dr. Tina Marcantel
Proper nutrition is the key to good health. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic physician practicing in Gold Canyon, Arizona, and serving Gilbert, 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 with 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 waste elimination.
Eating foods high in antioxidants can help boost your immune system to fight off colds and flu. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues.
When we use food as medicine, it can greatly improve the quality of our lives. It’s a form of self-love!