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Eat Food as Medicine!

There are many reasons why we should pay attention to what we eat. We especially need to be attentive when we are sick so we can give our bodies the nutrients they need to heal or to address a chronic disease or condition. Many researchers now believe that health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers are partly related to diet. Poor nutrition and food insecurity can lead to illness and hospitalization.

Seeing your food as medicine helps you make better choices about what to eat in order to make the best decisions for your own well-being.

  1. Eat a variety of foods
    People who eat a variety of foods are healthier, live longer, and have a reduced risk of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Food variety means including foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, meat, fish, seafood, nuts and seeds, and dairy products.

  2. Increase fruits and vegetables
    Studies show that the higher the consumption of fruits and vegetables, the lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Fruits and vegetables also influence good bacteria and assist in the performance of the gastrointestinal system. Fruits and vegetables slow carbohydrate absorption and are generally low in calories.

  3. Choose whole grains
    Whole grains reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease and improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Whole grains contain fiber which makes us feel full faster and longer to help prevent overeating. Fiber also plays an important role in the digestive system, allowing nutrients to be more fully absorbed and slowing the rise in blood sugar glucose.

  4. Include beneficial fats
    Evidence suggests that eating beneficial fats helps control inflammation in the body. Plant oils, such as avocado, olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, oils from nuts and seeds, and fats from fish contain a predominance of omega-3 fatty acids and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”   
– Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 375 BC)

Source: University of Minnesota, Meals on Wheels America

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