Food as medicine? Fixing our diet may be the best cure for chronic diseases according to the NY Times.
The idea that food is all the medicine we need has been around for many years. Statistically, those of us who live in the United States are less healthy than others who come from the Mediterranian countries and eat a Mediterranian style diet. Other developed countries may also lead to more active lifestyles, which is in contrast to the USA where people in the suburbs will get in their cars to go from place to place. There is also the idea of organic food vs. industrial farming which is common in the United States.
Organic farming is growing in popularity in the USA as well the idea of farm to table food which is thought to be healthier for us, with fewer pesticides, antibiotics, and modifications. There is growing evidence that organically grown food is more nutritious.
Could this be the reason people in Europe are healthier, and take fewer drugs, while experiencing lower healthcare costs?
The cost of healthcare in the USA is ridiculous, and consume more drugs than any other country does. Proper nutrition should be part of American culture. Unfortunately, junk food often is. Heavily processed foods are dense in calories and not so high in nutrition and salt, starch and sugar are irresistible for many of us. Portion sizes in the USA are often too large as well and many of us are overweight.
Too many sugars will cause inflammation. Inflammation is understood to be the cause of most diseases such as arterial dissections, an autoimmune disease that often starts in the gut and many other inflammatory conditions we suffer from. Too often, the medical approach falls short by controlling the symptom medicinally, when the problem begins with diet. As people age, inflammation can cause multiple systems to become diseased which leads to poor quality of life and higher medical costs.
Diabetes has become a growing problem, with so many people developing the condition because they consumed too much sugar and developed insulin resistance. The food pyramid in the 1980s had many Americans convinced that fat was bad, and food companies replaced the fat with sugar. Americans also consumed many soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup which was developed because farmers were producing a surplus of corn years ago. They also used it to make ethanol which was used in cars.
Industrial farming methods introduced us to antibiotics and had animals eating food such as corn which they do not normally eat or process resulting in meats that were less nutritious and had put antibiotics in our food supply.
It would be less expensive to treat the food supply by making it more organic and healthier for the general public to consume. Many processed foods are devoid of nutrition, have too much salt and sugar to be good for us. Could this be a better idea than finding another way to maintain our current system of treating diseases caused by our poor diets?
Americans are trying to eat healthier, and organic foods are more available at many grocery stores. We need to improve our food culture in the USA which will improve the health of the population. The idea that everyone needs to be on medication is expensive and is not healthy for us. Eating better improves gut health, cardiovascular health and there appears to be evidence that antibiotics not only increased the size of animals, the Americans who consumed it have also gotten larger.
To Treat Chronic Ailments, Fix Diet First
For many patients, the right food may be the best medicine.
By Larry Buhl Oct. 22, 2019
On the kitchen counter in her Leimert Park apartment in Los Angeles, Diane Henry lays out her meals for the week. They’re frozen, in equal-size containers: Florentine tart, noodles with carrots, oven-fried chicken with brown rice and carrots, and Moroccan chicken. She didn’t choose the menu, but she does get a few options. Generally she’s happy with the selections.
With strict nutrition guidelines allowing only two grams of sodium per day, some meals require seasoning. If Ms. Henry wants more flavor, she will use salsa, lemon or turmeric. Though she says the meals are tasty, she is tempted to cheat. “I really want mac and cheese and soul food and pastrami,” she says.
But Ms. Henry, 54, wants even more to live without fluid surrounding her lungs, a key part of her condition, congestive heart failure. The program she signed up for is designed to help her and approximately 1,000 other clients avoid ending up in hospital, as she did last November.