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Functional Medicine

"People are fed by the Food Industry, which pays no attention to health, and are healed by the Health Industry, which pays no attention to food."
– Wendell Berry

There is a small, grassroots revolution brewing. The food-is-medicine movement has been around for decades, but now both physicians and medical institutions are making food a formal part of treatment, instead of just relying on prescription medication to help their patients. By prescribing nutritional changes, they are trying to prevent (and even reverse) diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and even preventing cancer.

While research on the power of food is currently being gathered and studied, physicians can clearly correlate the link between sugar, fat, and processed foods contributing to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of deaths from heart disease and stroke are caused by high blood pressure, tobacco use, elevated cholesterol, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables. Are you aware that when we consume foods like white flour, sugar, and fried foods, we increase inflammation and stress hormone production? And, what do nearly all diseases have in common? Inflammation.

Simply put, the food we choose to eat provides our bodies with information and materials to function properly and decrease inflammation. If we don’t get the right information, our bodies suffer metabolically and our health rapidly declines. Poor diet is responsible for almost 700,000 deaths in the US each year, and 11 million worldwide! Not surprising since in America, 50% of our food is processed and only a small percentage is plant-based. We have to change that.

What should you eat?

  • Food variety is key, including loads of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure your plate is 75% vegetables
  • Include healthy fats in every meal
  • Consume lean protein
  • Eat a low glycemic diet
  • Avoid dairy
  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods

“Food is the most important tool in my medical toolbox. It works faster, better, and is cheaper than most medications. Applying food as a medicine is the foundation of functional medicine,” says Dr. Mark Hyman. “We are just beginning to understand how food influences our cells, tissues, organs, moods, thoughts, feelings, and the structure of our bodies, but what scientists have discovered over the last few decades is astonishing. Food is not only a source of energy, joy, connection, and pleasure; it can also rejuvenate us and even reverse disease”.

However, this will require a major cultural shift. But with the rise in physicians getting on board, the message is starting to spread. But understanding that healthy, nutrient-rich, and alive foods help your body at the cellular level and build strong defenses enabling you to combat illness and environmental toxins is key for long-term health and vitality. Food should be viewed as more than something that staves off hunger but the fuel that powers your body.

Looks like an apple a day really does keep the doctor away!

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