How to Use Food as Medicine

Have you ever heard the ancient saying, “Let your medicine be your food, and your food be your medicine”? It’s a wise saying by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, originator of the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors.

While modern doctors recognize Hippocrates’ contribution to medicine in the form of the Oath, instruction in how to use food as medicine is generally not taught in medical school these days.

The good news is, foods are still “medicines,” and you can affect your health positively with the foods you eat. If you’d like to incorporate more healing herbs and foods into your diet, here are some tips that can help.

7 Helpful Hints on How to Use Food as Medicine

Herbs with Healing Power

The healing power of various herbs is becoming more and more recognized and accepted. Here are some of the more readily available herbs that you can add to your foods to boost their healing power.

1Ginger is an effective anti-nausea remedy and has significant antibacterial properties. The fresh root, sliced or diced, can be added to stir-fries, and it can be candied and eaten out of hand.

2Oregano, a tasty herb when added to pizza, spaghetti, and so forth, is considered an antioxidant. Antioxidants help mop up “free radicals” in the body, which are by-products of the body’s metabolic processes. Free radicals are implicated in the development of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. So sprinkle this herb on regular dishes that are Italian or Greek in flavor.

3Rosemary is another antioxidant herb, and may help enhance memory and prevent cataracts. It may even help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary is very good when used in meat marinades and sprinkled on dishes like pizza, focaccia, or pasta.

4Turmeric is commonly found in Indian curries. It has a yellowish color and earthy flavor, and is said to help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Turmeric can be added to soups and stews, curries, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Foods that Can Be Medicine

The food you eat – not just the herbs you put on it – can help heal, too. Here are some suggestions.

5Garlic is a powerful preventer of colds and flu, and it has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. You can make garlic sauce for pasta, add it to soups, and base many meals around this simple food.

6Onions are like garlic in their healthful properties. They are perhaps even more versatile; they can be made into a dish on their own or added to other foods.

7Berries are known for their antioxidant power. Add berries to salads or eat them out of hand. You can also freeze them and blend them into smoothies.

Choose Your Food Wisely

It is no secret that making the best possible food choices can have a positive effect on your health. Knowing how to use food as medicine can make all the difference from day to day and for the rest of your life.

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Norma Esler
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