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Food as Medicine: An Introduction
April 12, 2014
By Dr. Beth Quintana, N.D.
Gearing up for the bustling farmer's market season here in the Pacific Northwest is a rite of spring. Not only is locally-grown food delicious, it's freshness offers a range of nutrients unrivaled by processed or packaged foods that have traveled a distance to get to your plate. In celebration of spring and the spectacular bounty it brings, I will be featuring an aspect of "food as medicine" each week in my blog post. Stay tuned for next week's focus on antioxidant-rich foods and how they can benefit you.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, is traditionally known as the father of medicine. Revered for his ethical standards of practice, he taught that the foremost principle of medicine must be to respect the healing force of nature within each living organism. Hippocrates considered illness a natural phenomenon and stressed, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"–advice that, to this day, has not lost its validity.
In the days before medicine, food WAS medicine. However, with the infiltration of healthcare by technology, Big Pharma, and corporate interest, simpler methods of management have been deemphasized. We need to get back to the basics, people. Like Michael Pollan says in his book, In Defense of Food, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Fresh is always best when it is in season since fresh produce retains its flavor and nutritional value, and it is the whole foods rather than isolated nutrients that provide the most protective effect to the body. The food you eat greatly determines the strength of defense in your body, so eat like your health depends on it. Because it does.
Here’s an example of produce that is fresh and available now in the Pacific Northwest: