Recent studies have shown exactly what Hippocrates was talking about--food consumption has the power to either "trigger" genes or keep them suppressed. The food we eat contains thousands of biologically active substances which have the potential to create optimal health.
Our diets can prevent disease, causes disease or provide the energy to heal illness and disease. What determines the path our body will take is the quality and quantity of the nutrients we absorb.
A family of nutrients essential to health and healing are phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients. Phytochemicals are produced naturally by plants as protection against pests and diseases, but they also play an important role in our own well-being. They contain protective disease-preventing compounds that interact with other plant nutrients that can help prevent or treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
Phytonutrients have many various functions in the body--they promote the function of the immune system, attack bacteria and viruses, and reduce inflammation, just to name a few. As a matter of fact, phytonutrients even protect cartilage in the joints of our body and prevent joint pain and other symptoms of arthritis.
More than 1000 different phytochemicals have been identified in plants,including flavonoids in fruits and lycopene in tomatoes. When herbicides and pesticieds are use in nonorganic farming, plants do not produce nearly as many phytochemicals as they would under normal conditions. When the vegetable or fruit is picked is another important consideration as far as phytochemicals are concerned. Individual nutrients, phytochemicals and enzymes reach optimal concentrations at distinct stages of plant growth. Early harvesting limits the health benefits we get from eating these foods. Then, if we are cooking the vegetable, we are eliminating even more of the phytohcemicals. That's why if we can buy our produce from local farmer's markets, we are getting much higher quality produce, and if we eat lots of the vegetables raw, we are getting much more phytochemicals from that food.
Of course, food manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industries are trying to benefit from this research about the health benefits of phytochemicals by creating synthetic versions in labs and marketing them as supplements or adding them to processed foods and telling us how healthy they are. These "phony phytos" do not in any way resemble the natural compounds produced by nature. The necessary interactions that produce healing results are simply not present in a synthetic pill.
Dr. Cambpell wrote in the China Study, "nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The chemicals we get from foods we eat are engaged in a series of reactions that work in concert to produce good health. Everything in food works together to create health or disease. The more we think that a single chemical characterizes a whole food, the more we stray into idiocy."
Not to mention, prescription drugs....every prescription carries high prices--the cost of the drug as well as all the side effects that go along with it. Most of the time the side effects are worse than what the original problem was. If by changing your diet to prevent, cure and most of the time reverse damage done by a disease, why wouldn't you do that??
By changing your diet I don't mean eating food that doesn't taste good. Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains can be absolutely delicious! And, when you are eating a whole food plant based diet, there is no calorie counting, weighing and measuring foods....you eat really good foods whenever you're hungry and watch the weight fall off of your body. Avoid the foods that are responsible for making us overweight and sick--processed foods, meat and dairy.
Life is all about choices--what we choose to do on a daily basis is up to us. By choosing to eat a whole food plant based diet, you are opting to feed your body lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals--everything your body needs to give you optimal health.
As I repeatedly say, you can't get good health from a pill bottle...you just can't.....