Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Yes the very same Hippocrates who is considered to be the father of Western Medicine and whose Oath is a right of passage for doctors till this day.
Interesting isn’t it, especially considering that today’s medical practitioners are often at odds with those beating the holistic healing drum. But as our civilization continues to advance, we are starting to recognize that modern medicine may not be able to cure all ills after all. And that ancient civilizations, who embraced holistic healing practices for centuries, may actually have been on to something.
In fact it turns out that many of the chronic illnesses that are prevalent in our world today have as much, if not more, to do with the way we live and how we choose to nourish ourselves as they do with bad genes. Some of the most prominent of these are heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which have all been associated in one way or another to our current dietary habits.
But while the statistics can be quite disheartening, there’s no reason why you have to be one of them. Or, even if you already are, why you can’t change this. Did you know that your body regenerates almost all of its cells such that in 7-10 years you are technically a “new” person in a sense? Why is this important? Because you have the opportunity to give your body all it needs to be stronger and healthier every single day!
Easy everyday tips to avoid the most common diet related diseases
Whether you want to prevent heart disease or cancer or simply ward off the common cold, here are 5 simple tips that will help you fight disease without even thinking about it:
1.Eat your vegetables and fruit
Mom was right when she told you vegetables were good for you. That’s because brightly colored vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are essential for proper cell regeneration, biochemical reactions and fluid balance. That’s why including 6-10 servings of these foods daily is a key part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and is also central to cancer prevention. And while it may seem like a lot, it really isn’t that difficult to get enough of these nutritious foods into your diet. Since a serving of vegetables and fruit is about ½ a cup, having a fruit at breakfast and for snacks and adding a large salad or a cup of sautéed or steamed vegetables to your meals is all you need in order to meet your body’s requirements.
2.Choose good fats
Most of us know that we should limit the amount of saturated fat, found in meat and dairy products, while including a moderate amount of unsaturated fat – especially omega 3 fats – in our diets. In fact according to the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet, which is recommended to help reduce heart disease, getting about 25-35% of our daily calories from fat with only 7% of that coming from saturated fat is the goal. How can we do this? By including 3 servings of fish in the week, limiting red meat, shellfish, butter and organ meats to once a week, choosing low fat dairy products and using only about a tablespoon of olive oil for cooking and on salads every day, we can ensure we are getting only the benefits (like lowering cholesterol, improving cognitive function and decreasing inflammation) from this food group.
3.Make more wholesome choices
Switching to wholegrain breads and cereals and snacking on seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables instead of potato chips, cookies and cakes will not only help reduce your intake of excess salt, processed sugar, preservatives and artificial colors, but it’s also a great way to increase your soluble and insoluble fibre intake. Soluble fibre, like that found in oatmeal, absorbs excess cholesterol from your diet while insoluble fibre is essential for ensuring that your bowels are regularly eliminating the remaining toxins from your system. These foods also take longer to digest, which is why they are promoted as excellent choices by the Glycemic Index, a meal plan recommended for Diabetics, because they keep blood sugars level throughout the day.
4.Enjoy simple home cooked meals
One of the best ways to cut back on excess sodium, fat and calories (the leading dietary causes of many diseases) is to dine in. And cooking at home can be as simple as boiling some whole wheat pasta, adding a good quality tomato sauce to some lean ground beef and serving it with a precut Caesar salad or pan searing a piece of salmon and serving it with steamed vegetables and a baked potato. In fact there are many delicious meals that can be made in just 30 minutes or less!
5.Make water your drink of choice
Whether you drink 100% fruit juice or enjoy diet soda, consuming sugary beverages frequently can increase your chances of gaining weight and/or developing diabetes, heart disease and/or cancer. Water, on the other hand, is vital to the daily biochemical reactions taking place in your body, for lubricating and cushioning your joints and helping to clear toxins from your system. Drinking 2L, about 8 cups, of water everyday can also help you feel full and prevent weight gain as well.
Following these easy everyday tips will have you healthier before you know it.