For the past several months leading up to the November elections most of the debate has centered around three hot button issues – employment, education and health care. Whether its an election year or not, there seems to always be an ongoing debate in our country about health care.
The conversation most often focuses on access – who has it and who doesn’t. While we’re focusing on who can get insurance, there is a more important issue at hand – why so many people NEED health care.
When you look at the overall health of our society it’s clear that we’re in trouble. Most Americans are dealing with some kind of major illness, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, the number of people diagnosed with these conditions is startling.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
Every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.
As for diabetes, the numbers are even more shocking. The American Diabetes Association reports:
In 2012, research indicated that 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the US population have diabetes. Of that total, 21 million people are diagnosed, 8.1 million are undiagnosed.
In 2010, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes was 25.8 million people or 8.3 % of the population. The numbers are increasing rapidly.
Despite these shocking numbers the situation isn’t hopeless. If you are suffering from any of these illnesses, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life on medications. You CAN reverse your condition. The process is simple – just change your diet. I say it all the time – “Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine be Thy Food.”
Please don’t be deceived by the prescriptions you’re using to treat your symptoms. For the most part, that’s not changing your condition. If you take control of your health by your diet you can – in many cases- reverse your condition. At a minimum, you can improve your condition and require fewer medications.
Now, here’s the thing. I said it’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Changing life long habits is a process. It won’t happen overnight. There are no quick fixes. It takes time. The question is – how bad do you want it? What are you willing to do to reclaim your life and change the trajectory of your future?
Depending on your condition, the remedy will vary from person to person. I highly encourage you to consult with your doctor, and a dietitian if necessary, to create a lifestyle plan that works for you.
In general, there are certain foods and liquids that have healing properties that will improve your overall health. Here are a few I’ve chosen to highlight.
Garlic – has tremendous health benefits, including cardiovascular. It lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and regulates blood sugar in diabetics. Garlic is also a good source of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. One of the best benefits is its anticancer properties. Daily intake of garlic has been proven to reduce risk of most cancers, except cancer of the prostate and breast cancer.
Garlic is best if consumed in its raw state and added directly to your food. If you can’t handle raw garlic, it’s recommended you add it at the end of the cooking process. This will allow it to retain as much of its healing properties as possible. The longer it’s cooked the less nutrients it retains.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels. Apple cider vinegar’s anti-glycemic effect is very well documented. Researchers say the vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch. It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar.
It is recommended that apple cider vinegar be used sparingly and to avoid drinking it straight. It’s so acidic that it could harm your tooth enamel and your esophagus. Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons in a big glass of water, and sip it along with your meals one or two times a day. Studies show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, and arugula are a few examples. Cruciferous vegetables are renowned for being extremely good for you. They contain phytochemicals and other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fiber) that may help detoxify certain cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to cause harm in the body.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver and cervix. It’s recommended to eat these veggies several times a week and to consume them raw or lightly steamed to retain their phytochemicals.
Water– Our body is composed of about 70% water. So, consuming water helps maintain the balance of body fluids.The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Other benefits of water include: it helps your kidneys, promotes healthy skin, helps maintain normal bowel function, and it energizes your muscles.
In conclusion, I have to emphasize that eating these foods in addition to the Standard American Diet (SAD) won’t yield results. The SAD diet consists primarily of refined foods, sugar, starches, and processed foods. None of these foods supply you with the essential nutrients your body needs. As you incorporate more healing foods into your diet, you should gradually eliminate the bad foods.
So, I have a question for you: Do you believe food is medicine?