May 2023: Let Food Be Thou Medicine: Culinary Nutrition & The Gut
Updated: May 31
Food is Medicine
“Food as Medicine” is a phrase we use when speaking about how to heal the gut and the body through natural food. Everyone knows that eating is a basic need, but so many people in America are not fulfilling this need with many healthy choices.
On average, over 700,000 Americans are dying every year due to heart disease, strokes, or Type 2 diabetes. About 45% of them eat meals that are heavy and filled with salt, processed meats and snacks, sugar filled food and drinks, and low in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts.
Standard American Diet
One of the main and biggest problems with the Standard American Diet begins in the ground where it grows in. Many of us do not realize that large-scale farming in the United States has made the soil worse which then produces lower nutrients in our foods. In addition to this, many foods are processed by manufactures which also destroys the nutrients anymore, and contains toxic additives instead.
In order for us to achieve this desired healthy diet, it is not super easy to cut out convenient foods, because a lot of people are unknowingly addicted to eating them. When it comes to additives such as sugar, it releases opioids and dopamine our brains. This is very similar to that of a drug addiction which it makes it even more dangerous for us.
Color Coded Eating
When thinking about eating healthy healing your body through natural food choices, it is important to remember to eat by the colors. Eating fruits and vegetables in a rainbow-like color structure, is a great way to ensure we are getting a good variety of all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are body needs.
Some color choices to remember to include are greens, blue and purple, red, yellow and orange
and white and brown.
Healthy Gut, Healthy Brain
Our guts contain organs that make up our digestive tract and gut microbiome. When we have a healthy gut, it can prevent and heal illnesses in our digestive tracts, immune system, cardiovascular systems, kidneys, and brains.
Enzymes, Probiotics, and Prebiotics
Three important keys to our gut health are enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics. Enzymes break down the food that are found in fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and herbs. They can be destroyed when it comes to cooking and processing. Probiotics are the live bacteria that promote healthy gut flora, and can be found in fermented foods such as kimchi, pickles, yogurt, or sourdough bread. Prebiotics are the undigestible natural fibers that feed probiotics, and can be found in apples, bananas, oats, opinions, or garlic.
Overall, eating healthy and healing our bodies through natural foods has so many advantages and benefits. Although it may be hard to make the switch if you are currently not doing so, it is going to be worth it in the end.
Author: Natalie Braslau, Dr. Love's Integrative
Nutrition & Lifestyle Medicine Intern
Editors: Keith & Kat Demps
Guest blog from Cooking to Heal Book: Cookingtohealbook.com