Food Is Your Medicine, Not Pills

Not just a few, but all diseases can heal with the correct diet and absolutely no medication. Your body is capable of handling and recovering from any ailment provided you give it the appropriate terrain to heal. Supplements may at times be beneficial, but your true medicine is food and always has been.

The next time your blood pressure shoots up, remember that your body is capable of controlling it without a trip to the GP. Dr Nandita Shah, a Pondicherry-based homeopath, says simple dietary changes can help prevent, and more importantly reverse, ailments like osteoporosis, diabetes and even high blood pressure without popping pills.

Shah, who has been a homeopathic practitioner for 30 years, says the biggest hurdle most of us encounter is that we fail to understand our body. “If you put kerosene in a car that runs on petrol, the car will break down,” Shah says, adding that the human body functions better if it consumes foods that are a better fit.

She offers an instance. Our body is mostly alkaline, she explains. A pH (potential Hydrogen) level between 1 and 6.9 is considered acidic, while one between 7.1 and 14 is marked alkaline. The human body’s natural pH level stands at 7.45, making it alkaline. All fruits and vegetables, natural juices like coconut water are alkaline, which make them a better nutrition fit than say animal proteins, tea, coffee, sugar, alcohol, and packaged foods that have high acidic levels. An imbalance in pH levels, says Shah, can lead to a disruption in cellular activity, causing health problems that range from heartburn to heart disease.

Nutrients in foods do not work alone in isolation, instead they work together as a powerhouse team in what’s called synergy. We’re often so focused on single nutrients like vitamin c and calcium, that we don’t consider that maybe it’s how these nutrients work with one another that make them so great.

The Journal of Nutrition in 2004 conducted a study on rats that were fed tomatoes and broccoli. Prostate tumors grew less in rats fed a combination of tomatoes and broccoli versus rats who were fed tomatoes and broccoli on its own. They even isolated and removed the cancer fighting substances found in tomatoes and broccoli and fed them to the rats, but they were ineffective. The point I’m trying to make is, a lycopene (the potent nutrient in tomatoes) supplement might be useful, but the whole tomato is better, and that tomato with a bit of fat is even better, but that tomato with a bit of fat and some broccoli is so much better. Why exactly? Scientists are still unsure but it’s all attributed to food synergy.

Eat Right To Be Healthy 

Osteoporosis cause: Calcium deficiency is not the cause of this condition. It’s a diet that’s either very rich in acidic foods or high in protein. Proteins are broken down into amino acids which are acid yeilding. And so, consuming large amounts of animal protein results in the body extracting calcium from the bones to neutralise the effect of acids. When the lost calcium is not restored, it causes osteoporosis over a period of time.
Food solution: Eat foods rich in vitamin D (it helps the body absorb calcium from foods), eliminate acidic foods like colas and caffeine. Include more fruits and vegetables in your meals. Green leafy veggies are rich in Vitamin K, and help rebuild bones.

Diabetes cause: Sugar is not the cause of diabetes, rather high blood sugar is the result of diabetes. The real cause of type 2 diabetes is the presence of fats in muscle cells. Beta cells present in the pancreas monitor the bloodstream for glucose. When blood sugar levels rise after meals, the beta cells respond by secreting insulin. Insulin helps in the further absorption of glucose. Consumption of unhealthy fats causes beta cells to lose their ability to sense glucose in the blood, allowing blood sugar to rise unnaturally.
Food solution: Avoid unhealthy fats found in fried foods, packaged foods, butter, meat, whole fat dairy products, and most vegetable oils. Any fat that comes with fibre is good for you. Think peanuts, cashew, and sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds.

Acne cause: Eating processed foods increases the body’s insulin levels, causing skin inflammation and breakouts. An imbalance of Omega-3 fats in the diet can also aggravate acne. Omega-3 fats are known to counter the effect of inflammatory chemicals that lead to breakouts.
Food solution: Have a diet that’s low on sugar and rich in whole grains, fibre, fruits and vegetables. It will balance the body’s insulin levels. Go for Omega-3 rich walnuts, flaxseeds, spinach and strawberries. Avoid fried and greasy foods.

High blood pressure cause: Blood pressure is the force ex- erted against the walls of the arteries as blood flows through them. If a person has high blood pressure, it means that the walls of the arteries are receiving too much pressure repeatedly. Consumption of unhealthy fats leads to a build up of cholesterol deposits along the artery walls, thinning the passage for blood flow, and thereby adding to the pressure.
Food solution: Adopt a two-pronged approach — stay away from unhealthy fats found in fried and packaged foods, and boost the intake of potassium, a mineral that reduces the effect of sodium on blood pressure levels. Mushrooms, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, oranges and dates are high in potassium.

Asthma cause: Asthma is an allergic response of the body to a substance, such as foreign dust particles or foods that cause swelling or inflammation of the airways. High levels of histamine, a chemical messenger that helps direct the body’s response to a foreign invader, have been found to inflammate respiratory airways.
Food solution: Although no diet can guarantee the reversal of asthma, avoiding foods that up histamine levels can help control it. These include: alcohol, vinegar, ketchup, confectionary made with yeast, sour cream and fermented and processed foods.

Colour your plate right

The best way to ensure that your diet is balanced is to colour code it. Pigmentation is what lends colour to fruits and vegetables, and also contains healthy nutrients. The deeper the colour, the higher the percentage of a specific nutrient the food item has. Purple coloured foods like plums and aubergines have phytochemicals called anthocyanins and resveratrol that fight ageing, reduce blood pressure and protect the body against liver diseases.

Orange-coloured foods such as oranges and carrots contain betacarotene and betacryptoxanthin that keep the skin and eyes healthy, and also protect against arthritis. Yellow foods such as bananas and sweet corn contain carotenoids that boost the immune system and keep the heart healthy. White foods, including garlic, onions, cauliflower and mushrooms, are rich in vitamin C, and antibiotic and antifungal compounds that fight cell damage and keep the fighter white blood cells healthy. Red foods like tomatoes and watermelons contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene which acts as an internal sunscreen and protects you from sunburn, prevents osteoporosis and heart diseases.

Greens such as peas, broccoli and spinach are packed with sulforaphane, isothiocyanate, and indoles which stimulate the liver to keep cancer producing chemicals in check.

Always choose real foods over processed foods. If the food didn’t grow in a garden or a farm, then it’s not a real food. This means choose the potato over the potato chips. Eat an orange rather than drink orange juice. Eat fruit instead of fruit snacks. If you’re a meat eater, eat actual meat not Frankenstein versions like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and sandwich meat.

Diversify your food. Always aim for eating a variety of foods and colors. Whole foods vary in color because they all possess their own unique set of nutrients. Choose foods with bright colors and you’ll be sure to get a wide range of needed nutrients for disease prevention, optimal performance, high energy, and clear thinking.

Dr. Marianna Pochelli is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine specializing in the treatment of disease through superfoods and herbal strategies. She actively promotes detoxification, colon cleansing, and a vegetarian lifestyle using living foods as a platform to health.

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33 Responses to "Food Is Your Medicine, Not Pills"

  1. louise  February 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I believe food is medicine but the science used here to support your claims is misleading and incorrect. Particularly “If a person has high blood pressure, it means that the walls of the arteries are receiving too much pressure repeatedly” Blood pressure increases due to artherosclerosis plaques building up inside the arteries which decreases the arterial diameter so your heart has to work harder to pump the blood through. Smoking is a major risk factor for this developing as is a poor diet and little physical activity.
    Also, what is the evidence to support the alkaline diet?? The article referred to has not even been referenced.

    • nuffzed  February 4, 2013 at 5:51 am

      @louise…I am guessing that you have access to the web. For goodness sake, Google Alkaline Diet before making such a statement, otherwise people may think that you have an alternative agenda…keep drinking the Diet Coke.

    • bradfdx  May 7, 2013 at 6:09 am

      Alkaline diet is complete pseudoscience. It’s a fairy tale that exists to line peoples’ pockets, just like much of the supplement industry. There’s way too much bunk out there these days.

  2. Steve  February 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    You appear to be taking the word of a homeopath as accurate. According to them, plain old water (that somehow remembers stuff) can cure anything as long as you smack it against a block a set number of times. Not sure I’m buying it without cited studies.

    • nuffzedi  February 4, 2013 at 5:44 am

      @steve…cited studies..cited studies. Same old closed minds! The Earth is round! Oh no…where are the scientific cited studies? Steve, have you ever considered getting into your right brain for a moment? You might enjoy it! Then again…probably not.

  3. kiisha  February 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    This information, while sounds nice, is not accurate or I guess complete. I have cronic kidney disease. Diet will not cure this. An effect of it is high blood pressure. Your kidneys help regulate your blood pressure. So diet, while can help a little will not bring my pressure down to a safe level without medication. This is just one example.

  4. Tim Lewis  February 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    If our food containedthe proper amount of nutrition particularly minerals, this story would be true. That nutrition is not in the soil, therefore not in our food. Supplementation is required to achieve health through nutrition. Drugs are not necessary.

  5. Kwijibo  February 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Lol, i stopped reading when i went over “homeopatic”

    just a new biaised article to push foward innefective methods.

  6. u.b.  February 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    My dear dear Kiisha, be patient, become more informed, You can make it!
    But those who start by saying “Can’t ….” Can, of-course not.!

  7. Kayleen  February 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    A diet based on fruits and vegetables may not ‘cure’ you (depending on disease) but if you do it 100% correctly it can reverse or at least improve lifestyle diseases. If you don’t believe that then you don’t have an understanding of the affect food has on our bodies. High blood pressure is a lifestyle disease so it can be reversed from diet change because a bad diet is what got a person to have high blood pressure in the first place. If you believe only prescription medication can cure you then most likely you want to take a pill because it’s far easier than doing a complete diet change. It’s not that people in these instances don’t believe a diet change can improve their life..they don’t WANT to believe one likes change (especially when one little pill can make them feel better).

  8. Kgolane  February 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Then, why don’t we have a universal nutrition table?

    Nutrition begins with food. The science of nutrition concerns everything that the body does with food (energy) in order to live, function, grow, and heal. Let us have a discussion about creating an international foods grade system that can be tabled into a single Universal Nutrition Table. The idea is to promote the scientific organization of all known food groups into an order that represents their nutritional value and complements their consumption during meals. The result will be a chemical publication that parallels the Periodic Table.

    We already have food group lists that table fruits, grains, meats, herbs, spices, vegetables and dairy products together. These lists give limited comparisons of foods within their categories according to popular culture and nutrition trends. No attention is given to derive healthy relationships between the properties of the foods and predict the best combination of foods that can be absorbed and digested best during the course of a day.
    Current scenarios intend to delay the impact of unhealthy living:
    • Focus is placed on the cure instead of the causes
    • The side-effects are as bad as the problem
    • Medical treatment does not guarantee immediate results

    Nutritionists and dieticians need a useful framework for analyzing the chemical behavior of certain foods and combinations in human beings. A Universal Nutrition Table would list the food groups according to nutrition, calories, vitamins, proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, sweets, sugars, and average natural servings. These logical foods groups would then be filtered and grouped into the different hemispheres where they can be cultivated in the world, organically and synthetically. Recommended daily dietary allowances would then be compared with the available foods cultivated and sold for consumption at any point in time.

    Food is one of the most basic human needs. Countries may succumb to a list of unfortunate man-made disasters that exaggerate that human plight for survival and increase suffering. But technology can come up with a way to simplify nutrition worldwide. A Universal Nutrition Table can be created as part of basic education about nutrition, a way to fully understand the effects of everything that is edible. Foods will be identified and their benefits promoted in line with specific human needs. A bias will no longer exist for critical or expanded measurements that focus on specific food brands or governing bodies.

    The food industry requires universal conformity, partnerships within global interests, and the expertise of existing technologies. Current situations only give a glimpse of the foods that exist out there, and fail to make dietary comparisons. Foods also exist in an orderly progressive manner, much like the elements in the Periodic Table. The Universal Nutrition Table will show a shift towards a natural selection of foods. This shift will be instrumental in positioning the medical profession as proactive field of study.

    Foods are meant to provide nutrition, improve health, remedy conditions, cure infections, and limit mental and physical disorders. Foods can compliment different lifestyle and genetic make-ups when taken in moderation. Modern interpretations of junk food, sodas, sweeteners, cereals, and tablets can also be taken into account if need be, with consideration of the side effects. Because Obesity, depression and malnutrition can be attributed to lack of relevant dietary knowledge and geographic disadvantages, popular culture and work habits need to be noted for clarity and transparency.

    So-called quick and easy weight improvement diets are fads. Most are unbalanced, emphasizing one type of food and excluding others. The more unbalanced the diet, the more dangerous it is. Knowledge of the body’s nutritional needs will help guard against promoters of fad diets and special health foods. There is a need for a table that can be broken down into a pocket-size table format that can be printed and supplied to travelers and children everywhere. Food combinations can be tabled to complement taste, avoid spoilage and improve fermentation where necessary. The indirect effect will be a change in modern perceptions, practices and prices of foods that will improve living conditions. A happy and long life can be associated with knowledge of healthy lifestyle.

  9. JSlabbert  February 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Heck, if we’re punting ridiculous statements as true, then why don’t we just pray to beat disease? Although I do entirely agree with the idea that the first step to a healthy self is a healthy diet, it’s atrocious when people punt this stuff as factual. In fact, last I heard Cabbage and Beetroot didn’t cure HIV. Don’t push your agenda at cost of people’s health. It’s ok to punt the values of ‘real’ food and healthy diets, but not if you’re taking away from hundreds of years of medical study.

    • D'Anne  February 14, 2013 at 4:35 am

      Hundreds of years of medical study factual? You need to bone up on medical history. Don’t push your agenda at the cost of people’s health.

  10. Carla  February 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Why not eat to heal the planet, research how a meat based diet destroys Mother Earth. Eat for a healthy Earth, your Mother, and you will be healthy too! Love and peace and good health to all.

  11. mebrure altug  February 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Let’s say, allways eat LOCAL food.Not the imported ones.Your body is programmed to consume and get benefit from the natural flora around you.

  12. Doublethink78  February 14, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I don’t believe that any large and extremely powerful business will ever place the benefits of health or the people, over profit. Profit is what is important to most business people/owners. Without it they, or their businesses will not “prosper”. Pharmaceutical companies are businesses like any other. It could be possible that some of the drugs they SELL to doctors may not get to the root of the problem, simply because if everyone was cured of an ailment then there would be no need for more drugs…hence less profit.(Similarly, there are no longer appliances with a “life time guarantee”. I think Zanussi went bust because of it). It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. Imagine if we all knew that there is a CURE for a common cold that is found in naturally occuring produce like cinnamon, for example. My guess would be that there would be no need for Lemsip or other medicines. The loss of revenue could be catastrophic for some. Many drugs which are used today are SOLD to doctors via SALESPEOPLE. They may even “train” the doctors of the medicinal benefits of their product. Judge for yourself if you believe they may have a hidden agenda.

    I see the logic (and science) in using natural medicines. If we are made up of the same basic elements which form our universe and indeed our planet, then surely the answer can be found within other living organisms containing those same elements. I’m pretty sure the universe doesn’t naturally produce paracetamol, but it does produce iron and magnesium, for example. Humans could not survive without these minerals, but have survived thousands of years without paracetamol.

    I understand that many may not agree with me. Please understand that I have only given you my OPINION. Like everyone else on this planet, I could be mistaken. I look forward to any respectful counter arguement you may have.

  13. Adam  April 22, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Kiisha, I to have the same problem have you found anything at all to help the problem , i know the kidneys cant be fixed but have you foumd anything to help them stay at the point of where functioning with out getting worse and lowering your blood pressure

  14. bradfdx  May 7, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Lots of great stuff in this post. The doctor’s advice seems sound and reasonable. Whoever wrote the first paragraph should rethink their interpretation, though. Sustaining a healthy diet can do wonders for your health and adjusting your diet can help relieve many ailments but food is not a cure for every illness or disease. There’s no basis for that claim.

  15. lele  May 10, 2013 at 7:26 am

    That is interesting and makes sense to me. Anyone with high blood pressure or any other illness, she is not saying go off your meds, just change your diet and the right food will do the job and hopefully you will become healthy enough that you can go off the meds completely. Thanks for info and will take on board.

  16. Kcb1993  June 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    They are curing HIV with bee venom, a raw plant based diet will most likely come to reverse 99% of illness over time. Have a cold? Make some fresh homemade juice with fruits and vegetables? Want to lower your cholesterol? Adopt a plant based diet. There is natural ways to reverse and prevent 99% of disease, I think this article is just saying, eat some real food (fruits veggies beans seeds and nuts) in its full raw state and you will live a happier healthy longer life, because if you adopt that raw diet, modern medicine is simply not needed anymore. But again with how polluted our air and food and water is there will most likely be new illnesses that arise that maybe un-curable without a synthetic medicine.


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