When we think about healthy foods, we usually look at them in terms of the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals in them. These are vital to our health, but the benefits of good foods go beyond these alone. Everything you eat or drink has an effect on your body in some way! Of course, the effect is usually very mild, but over time the foods you eat can have a profound influence on your body and how it works. Food can even be used as a medicine to treat various diseases.
Here is a small sample of different foods and a few of their effects.
Very good for the kidneys.
To help control appetite, eat celery between and during meals.
As it is very high in silicon, it helps damaged joints, bones, tendons, ligaments and arteries.
As it makes the blood more alkaline, it is useful for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, and nerve inflammations.
Can be helpful to reduce blood pressure (including during pregnancy).
Excess celery (such as large amounts of celery juice) can affect the kidneys.
Garlic has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. It increases sweating as well, so is very beneficial at the start of a cold.
It keeps the walls of the blood vessels clean, so that cholesterol doesn’t build up on the inside of them. (Garlic doesn’t lower cholesterol levels, but does decrease the risk of it blocking the arteries.) However, because of this cleansing effect, those on vegetarian diets with low cholesterol levels shouldn’t have too much garlic, as it may thin the walls of their blood vessels over time.
Garlic also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria and helps get rid of bad bacteria in the guts.
When eaten, it helps to keep mossies away!
Excess garlic can decrease mental concentration, so best not to overuse it.
Pears are very moistening to the body, especially to the lungs and large intestine. So they can work well at getting rid of a dry cough (though they may moisten the phlegm so it can be coughed up).
Also very good for constipation caused by the large intestine being dry.
Pears can decrease gall bladder pain and inflammation.
The tea made from boiling fresh ginger is very good for the early stages of a cold.
Ginger is great for weak digestion. However it is very warming, so not suitable for people whose bodies run a little hot. (Could cause constipation in these cases; if this happened, they could then use pears to correct it. J)
Ginger is good for nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, and for period pain which is improved with heat. As a general rule, the cooler a person’s body runs, the better ginger will work for them. (If you dislike the taste of ginger, it is probably not right for you.)
Dandelion root tea (available in teabags from some supermarkets) is great for cleaning the liver and detoxifying the body. As it helps release toxins from the liver, it is important to make sure that you also drink enough water when using it, especially since it is also a diuretic.
Contains the enzyme bromelain which improves digestion of proteins. It is used to treat sunstroke, indigestion, anorexia, diarrhoea, and excess fluid. (Not to be used if you have stomach ulcers.)
As you can see from this small sample, there is far more to food than just a bunch of nutrients! As Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine is believed to have said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”
If you have any questions about a particular food and how it affects the body, please let us know.
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