“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” These words were spoken by Hippocrates. These words still reign true today. We are what we eat and drink, as it has a huge impact on our overall health. When we eat properly, we are able to properly care for our bodies. Does this mean you can never eat that piece of cake on your birthday or cocktail beverage when you go out or that big juicy burger that you’ve been craving all week? Unless you have some allergy or disease that prohibits certain foods in your diet, it doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself a treat on occasion. Afterall, what are holidays and birthdays for? Every day is not a holiday or birthday. It does mean that on a daily basis your diet is a lifestyle choice, and you should watch what you put into your body.

In general, we should eat a balanced diet that isn’t processed and full of chemicals. While each person differs on specific needs, it’s important to eat meals containing plenty of fiber, some protein, and a little fat. Often a balance of various colors from leafy greens and red, orange vegetables don’t just hold a visual appeal but a balance of the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs. 

Eating unhealthy and then taking hundreds of dollars’ worth of supplements doesn’t constitute a healthy diet. Some supplements are essential, if your diet is deficient such as with iron for a vegetarian, or women over thirty should be taking calcium regularly, if they are not getting enough calcium in their diets. Taking too many, unnecessary, or the wrong supplements, means that the supplements won’t get properly absorbed into the body and end up becoming excreted as waste. It’s important to develop healthy eating habits and nourish your body with a balanced diet before loading your body full of supplements. Often, the supplements that are the most effective are natural food sources such as turmeric or fish oil as opposed to synthetic vitamins. If you can get the proper nutrients from food, that’s the first step, then determine where your diet is lacking and making the necessary adjustments. It’s not as complicated to maintain a healthy but involves some thought, consideration, and even a bit of work to prepare healthy means on a regular basis.

In addition, there are healing properties of various foods. This is stated by Hippocrates clearly and simply that food is medicine. It’s not just a matter of proper diet. We need to incorporate certain foods on occasion to help our bodies heal. Traditional Chinese medicine understood these principles and that’s why many foods are considered Chinese herbs for their medicinal benefits. These herbs have been incorporated in different herbal formulas and can also be consumed as part of one’s diet as well. One example is ginger. It is well known for its properties to soothe an upset stomach and alleviate nausea. Ginger is commonly used in a multitude of Chinese herbal formulas. So ultimately, Hippocrates was saying that a proper diet can help keep you healthy, and food can have many of the benefits of medicine when used properly.

Learn more about Herbal Medicine.