I believe that right nutrition, cooked and served the right way, within the framework of the laws of nature, can shape, heal and prevent problems in many ways. Balanced nutrition stands to be one of the most important medicines and verticals of holistic health. While allopathic, homoeopathic, and ayurvedic medicines have their place and importance, nutrition doesn’t mean replacing any of that. For drugs from any discipline to work effectively, nutrition is a prerequisite. The right kind of food can shape us at all levels—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual—which also means that the wrong kind of food can destroy us at these levels.
Ranging from fever to medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems or cancer, food forms the fundamental of what we call as immunity. The correct food can feed our immune system and the wrong kind can cripple it. Immunity, being the first and last line of defence, is the most significant barrier we have against illnesses. Why do most ancient remedies for curing any sickness revolve around food and nutrition as the primary step? Because ancient India was intuitive enough to understand the healing powers of food, from spices to herbs to various other concoctions and dishes.
Food has a direct connection with the way your organs function, how your skin, hair and nails look, how well we retain memory. It’s responsible for hormonal balances, digestion and absorption, fertility… just about everything. For instance, acne, skin allergies, early onset of wrinkles, greying hair, hair fall and thinning, and brittle nails speak volumes about the kind of food one eats. Sometimes, ensuring enough intake of biotin-rich foods (vitamin B7) is enough to fix a hair fall issue. Similarly, simple solutions can reverse other conditions.
Medicine doesn’t always mean taking a pill. The term medicine according to the dictionary means any preparation that can treat or prevent a health issue. It could come in the form of food, potion, tincture, oil or a pill. Whether one chooses to adopt a conventional treatment protocol or allopathic one, focus on the right food intake is a must. This has to be carried out under professional guidance especially when a person is on medications as certain drug-nutrient interactions must be taken into consideration.
Both quality and quantity matters when talking about food. If food is medicinal, it should have worked to treat and prevent all diseases, right? For example, honey is one of the most powerful medicines known to us. It was effective in curing a cold, cough and sore throat. Why isn’t it as effective now? Because quality is compromised. Honey production has become more commercial than ever with companies using substandard ways of processing, heating, pasteurising, and adulterating it with sugar. It has lost all its medicinal properties now. So, for food to work as a medicine, our next endeavour should be to identify and recognise the cleanest sources of food.
Decades ago, when food was much cleaner, more wholesome, closer to nature, and naturally grown, diseases and mental stress were rarer or only milder forms were known.Speaking about quantity, food is medicine if taken in the right quantities. Any food that’s overeaten can turn poisonous. Take fruit for example. There are so many people over-consuming fruits and juices in the name of health. They later develop complications such as belly fat, high triglycerides, fluctuating sugar levels and uric acid.Thus, it’s important to respect the power of food and understand its function for it to work like medicine.
The author is a Mumbai-based holistic lifestyle coach
By Luke Coutinho