“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates
Unfortunately the typical American diet – factory farmed meats, saturated fats, too much sugar, processed foods, hidden GMOs, artificial preservatives and pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables – is hardly thy medicine. An organic, whole foods diet however, can be. Below are two common and often interrelated conditions, which with the right foods can be helped.
“They” say that sleep is the new water; experts are talking about the negative effects on our bodies from lack of sleep and are recommending we get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health. Many Americans are chronically sleep deprived however. Consuming the right food is part of the answer. Eating a small snack – not a heavy meal – at least an hour before bedtime can help you fall asleep. Tryptophan and carbohydrates, often found in comfort foods, maximize the release of serotonin, the feel good hormone, which helps you sleep. Foods containing these two things are sleep inducing. For example, bananas contain tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep and wake cycles; oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate; yogurt, warm milk, and other dairy products contain tryptophan; humus, turkey (You know how tired you feel after Thanksgiving dinner!) nuts and seeds, honey, and eggs also contain tryptophan. Try it and see if it works – don’t you like having permission for (a not too) late night snack?
In today’s complex, fast-faced, high-tech, and often-uncertain world, we all fall prey to stress from time to time. A certain amount of adrenalin and cortisol, the stress hormones, are motivating, but too much is a problem and actually can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer. Avoiding or minimizing your intake of certain foods like caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which produce highs and lows, is key. Incorporating foods high in folic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, anti-oxidants and omega 3 into your diet on regular basis will stabilize your mood and fight free radicals associated with stress. Good examples are asparagus, blueberries, avocados, oranges, papayas, red peppers, cottage cheese, milk, almonds, salmon, spinach, whole grain cereals and breads, and black tea. Crunching raw vegetables is not only nutritious, but helps release your clenched jaw and curb tension. Of course alleviating stress also helps with sleep.
Another benefit of healthy eating? The same foods prevent and treat a variety of ailments, as well as ward off premature aging. It’s kind of like one stop shopping. Now that’s a powerful medicine!