3 Foods More Powerful than Prescriptions
Holistic Nutrition Coach and Entrepreneur in Residence Maria Marlowe makes her case with the help of Hippocrates: “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
For something we typically do at least three times a day, most of us have no clue how the food we eat affects our bodies. While we tend to just associate food with weight, the truth is, it affects our health on so many different levels, including our skin, energy, digestion, headaches, immunity and even cancer risk! The foods we eat become the building blocks for our blood, our cells, our organs and our skin, so it only makes sense that we really are what we eat. Choosing the right foods will not only prevent many common ailments, it can also help reverse them. Below are three common ailments and the food remedies that will help speed your recovery!
1. Food for Stomach Troubles
Whether you’re feeling bloated and gassy, nauseous, or have some unpleasant rumblings, there is likely a food remedy that will offer fast relief. Fresh ginger is top of the list for relieving nausea, gas, and other digestive issues. (In fact, you’ll often find ginger extracts in many over-the-counter digestive aids and antacids.) You can make a ginger tea by pouring hot water over fresh ginger slices; grate it into dressings, blend it into a smoothie, use it in a juice, or chop it up for use in a stir-fry. Peppermint is another stomach-soother. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, peppermint works better at reducing IBS symptoms than most IBS drugs. Simply pour hot water over 3-5 fresh leaves and steep for 10 minutes to make a tea.
2. Food for a Hangover
If you got a little carried away at happy hour and are feeling the after-effects, the number one remedy is water. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it draws liquid out of the body. When you are dehydrated, your body will draw water from any available source, including the brain, which causes the morning after headache. (Ideally, when you’re drinking, you should also drink plenty of water at the same time, and before you go to bed, to mitigate the chances of a pounding headache.) Fresh coconut water is another great hydration source, as it contains electrolytes, which are lost when your body becomes dehydrated from consuming alcohol. Ginger or peppermint tea may help ease a queasy stomach. And if you’re craving greasy fatty foods, instead, opt for a healthy hearty meal, like a veggie omelet with a side of avocado. Eggs contain the amino acid, cysteine, which breaks down the headache causing chemical, acetaldehyde, that’s left over when the liver breaks down alcohol, and taurine, which promotes liver function. Avocado offers healthy fats to provide your body with the extra energy it needs to repair the effects of a night of drinking.
3. Food to Fight a Cold or Flu
With cold and flu season in full swing, studies show that garlic is a powerful anti-viral that helps fight colds and flu—both of which are viruses. Garlic is also a powerful anti-bacterial, which may help thwart any bacterial infections going around, too. The medicinal effect of garlic is due to the phytochemical allicin, which is formed when garlic is crushed or chopped. You can eat it raw or cooked to get the benefits, but if cooking, allow it to sit chopped for 10 minutes before adding it to a hot pan. This allows the maximum amount of allicin to be formed, and ensures the medicinal benefit won’t be lost in the heat. Ginger has been shown to effectively fight respiratory viruses, due to its antiviral activity. The same results were not found in powdered form, so use ginger in cooking or teas.
Of course, if you're feeling sick, head straight to your doctor. But, for minor afflictions, these food remedies will hopefully help. For more, head to mariamarlowe.com.