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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Medicine » Article

Myth to Medicine

By Barry Hooper

Let's get this straight. ALL foods are healthy. Assuming the food has been grown, harvested and kept correctly. What is variable is the amount we eat, how the food is prepared, what is added, and the quality of the food. Two ancient sayings my grandmother was fond of encapsulate the eternal truth about food - "everything in moderation" and "variety is the spice of life".

Until the last decade, modern medicine neglected the medicine in everyday foods, viewing it as folklore, lacking in proven scientific validity. But now mainstream scientists are increasingly reaching back to the truths of ancient food folk medicine and dietary practices for clues to remedies and antidotes for our modern diseases. Research on natures medicine is growing by leaps and bounds almost daily.

Why are prestigious research institutions like Harvard telling us with great gusto that broccoli is full of powerful anticancer agents, and that eating more carrots seems to dramatically prevent strokes and heart disease?

The reason is simple. For the first time in history, science is vigorously validating what your grandma always knew – that what we eat is urgently important in determining our health, both now, and in the future. Today, scientists with new technology can detect, isolate, and test minute quantities of bioactive plant compounds.

The ancient Egyptians discovered that consumption of cabbage would cure as many as eighty seven diseases, and that consumption of onions would cure twenty eight. Garlic was considered a holy plant, due in large part, to its medicinal properties. Cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage and broccoli) were cultivated primarily for medical purposes and were used therapeutically against headache, diarrhoea, gout and various stomach disorders.

Which healthy foods to eat? Many professionals if pushed to select only one food group would choose plant foods – fruits and vegetables – which are rich in antioxidants. It is claimed by many that these foods can save you from virtually every disease and illness known to man.

So far, scientists have linked destructive oxygen reactions to at least seventy different chronic diseases, as well as to aging itself. Antioxidants re-enforce the body's police force, who go around moping up pockets of the destructive oxidant brigade. This is a constant battle, so a constant intake of antioxidant nutrients throughout our lives, is vital.

Oxidants come in various guises. Probably the most notorious are the free radicals. These molecules have lost one of their electrons, and are thus unstable. They try to grab it from any passing cell, creating havoc in the body. But you may be able to eat your way out of this dilemma. Fruit and vegetables, are packed with a variety of antioxidants, and are thus one of the most healthy foods to eat.

Since the dawn of civilisation, we have relied upon the forests, fields and gardens for our food and medicines. Finally, science is catching up with myth and turning our fore-fathers myths into medical reality.

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