Be Mindful Of These Foods That Can Double As Natural Medicine
Prescription and over-the-counter medicine can do wonders — but usually at a cost. The side effects connected to modern medicine can cause just as many health issues as the medicine fixes. While some illnesses can only be alleviated by pills and prescriptions, natural medicine can often be effective in treating problems in your body.
SEE ALSO: Why Mental Health Is Skin Health
Every piece of food you put into your body has to go through your mouth—keeping your mouth healthy and clean should always be a priority. Oral hygiene goes beyond just brushing and flossing; the choice of foods you eat can actually improve your mouth’s health. Dairy products are rich in calcium and can lower the acid levels in your mouth that contribute to plaque. Leafy greens are chock full of folic acid and calcium, which strengthen enamel and lowers the risk of gum disease. And fibrous fruits and vegetables work as natural toothbrushes and scrape away food particles and bacteria.
Turmeric is well known in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. The active component in turmeric, curcumin, provides many health benefits. It’s a natural antioxidant, reduces inflammation, reduces the risk of heart disease, and can even potentially treat cancer. The research is ongoing on whether the anti-inflammatory compounds can actually slow down the spread of cancer, but since inflammation is linked to tumor growth, scientists are hopeful. Since the spice has shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor—a protein in the brain and spinal cord that helps keep nerve cells healthy and communicating properly—it may also eventually be used to slow down or even reverse brain degeneration diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. And since low BDNF levels play a role in mental health illnesses like depression, turmeric may be a helpful natural antidepressant.
Everyone gets a cold now and then. And while there are a lot of prescription and OTC medicines available these days, natural remedies can also help you feel better fast without all the added chemicals. If you have a child under the age of six, doctors often don’t recommend giving them OTC cold and cough medicine. Instead, try giving them buckwheat honey—it should be a staple in every home’s pantry and medicine cabinet. Buckwheat honey has a lot of medicinal properties. It’s full of antioxidants, supports your immune system, and soothes sore throats. And since honey is a natural sweetener, you can use it in place of sugar for almost everything so you get those health benefits all year long.
If you suffer from gut problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or antibiotic-associated diarrhea, your digestive tract’s microbiota may be part of the problem. Trillions of bacteria call your intestines home, and they help break down and metabolize the food you eat. But heavily processed foods can often upset these bacteria and cause gut inflammation. Fermented foods can help restore your digestive system’s health. Fermented foods contain living bacteria that keep your digestive tract healthy and functioning properly. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso, and all types of pickled vegetables can help get your gut feeling healthy again. Try eating a mix of different fermented foods to get the most bacteria diversity and health benefits.
Typical American diets are full of cholesterol. Diets with high levels of fat, red meat, dairy, and processed foods can build up cholesterol in the body and cause artery blockages. While your body does need cholesterol to function, too much of the “bad” cholesterol (Low-density lipoprotein) can cause many health issues like coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Chia seeds are often touted as a “superfood” because they’re so nutrient-dense and have been shown to lower cholesterol levels over time. Steel-cut oats are full of water-soluble fibers that can lower LDL cholesterol that is circulating in your arteries. Grapefruits have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 percent. So stock up on these foods if you’re struggling to keep those LDL levels low.
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