Healing Your Body With Food
By Guest Author, Ainsley Lawrence
In the modern and industrialized world, many people have forgotten the connection between their diet and health. Although we are often taught what a healthy diet looks like, as well as the importance of eating our fruits and veggies, this sometimes gets lost in the slew of data we receive about our health. However, the food hype is there for a reason; healthy eating can help prevent certain diseases, as well as manage and treat other conditions that arise.
Importance of Whole Foods
During our younger years, we often feel invincible, like nothing can harm us because our bodies are young and usually pretty healthy.
However, as you probably know, this feeling doesn’t last forever; although it can often be maintained longer if you start eating a healthy diet at a young age. Our bodies need fuel, and what we eat provides us with the nutrients needed for healthy blood that pumps through our heart and circulates around our veins.
The quality of the food we eat can impact how well our bodies function, as it determines what our bodies use for their raw resources. There are several foods that have been proven to increase our chances of developing certain illnesses, and many other foods that have been shown to improve various areas of our health.
Being conscious and wary of what we eat can help us keep illness at bay, and prevent us from developing chronic diseases.
One of the most widely proven claims about diets is that avoiding certain foods can help decrease your chance of developing cancer, which is the leading cause of death around the world. Maintaining healthy body weight and eating certain foods, such as veggies and legumes, can help prevent the mutations in the cells that lead to cancer.
Some foods that have been proven to increase your risk of cancer include:
- Processed Meats (bacon, sausage, lunch meats, hotdogs)
- Red Meat (risk decreases when unprocessed)
- Dairy products (from cows treated with hormones)
The American Society for Nutrition cited the World Health Organization,
“between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies.”
Rather than eating meat, some doctors recommend eating fish, poultry, and red beans, which are good sources of protein.
Foods that can be beneficial to consume include:
- Several different kinds of vegetables and fruits each day
- Proteins like poultry, fish, and beans
- Foods that are baked rather than fried
- Whole grains and brown rice instead of refined grains and white rice
These foods can help build a strong foundation for your body and can provide you with raw materials that will give your body the energy it needs to be strong and healthy. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re worried about developing an illness.
Rosacea is a common skin disease that results in bright red patches of skin as well as pus-filled acne. During a flare-up, the redness can spread across the face and throughout the ears, chest, and back. These flares can last for weeks, even months before your skin returns to normal, which can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable for a person.
The triggers for flare-ups often vary from person to person, but there are a few foods and beverages that tend to cause flare-ups, including:
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks, such as coffee or tea
- Marinated Meats
- Citrus items and tomatoes
These foods are not necessarily bad for the average person, but by avoiding these foods and drinks, a person with rosacea has a better chance at a more comfortable life without worrying about their skin flaring up.
Probiotics and fermenting foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh, can also help reduce rosacea symptoms, as well as provide you with a healthy diet to eat regularly.
Diet plays a large part in gastrointestinal issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is a disease that affects the lower esophageal sphincter and the stomach. GERD can cause severe heartburn, acid indigestion, belching, heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea, which can be very unpleasant and affect a person’s quality of life. Extreme cases even see damage to the stomach and esophagus.
This chronic disease can be worsened by a person’s food and drink choices, and doctors recommend an altered diet to prevent those with GERD from experiencing symptoms more frequently.
This includes avoiding alcohol and smoking, timing meals properly, sleeping in a slightly inclined position, and eating a diet that avoids your personal food triggers.
Another chronic disease that is also directly tied to a person’s diet and health practices is type 2 diabetes, which develops when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin, or the body becomes resistant to insulin. Although scientists aren’t entirely sure why this happens, lifestyle habits such as weight and the amount of exercise someone gets on a regular basis are common factors in those who develop type 2 diabetes.
Bradley University cited the CDC stating that,
“More than 29 million adults were living with diabetes in 2016, and a quarter of the individuals in that group were unaware that they even had the condition. Even more people — about 86 million — had prediabetes, with 90 percent unaware of the fact.”
When untreated, diabetes can be highly dangerous, but by managing your diet and exercising regularly, you can decrease your risk of the disease.
Living a Healthy and Long Life
Healthy eating can be difficult if you’re making a new habit of it, but once you get your diet nailed down, it becomes second nature. Investing the time to learn how to eat healthily can help save you from living with a chronic illness for the rest of your life.
Many chronic diseases are often managed well by eating nutrient-rich foods that help give your body the right kind of fuel to run smoothly. And ultimately, this can help you live a healthy and long life where you feel good each day, both mentally and physically.