Healthy-food-in-heart-stethoscope

You’re not feeling well, so make a doctor’s appointment. Your doctor asks you some questions, completes an exam, and maybe orders a test. And then your doctor writes you the following prescription: Eat healthy food.

That’s it. No medication, no course of antibiotics, nothing but healthy foods. That might seem a little crazy, but there’s a growing movement for “Food is Medicine” to treat and prevent a long list of health conditions.1

Want to improve your health, prevent disease and live longer?

Here are 10 surprising reasons to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and other whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods:

1. Manage your weight

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably struggled with your weight at some point in your life. But did you know that simply eating more fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight? Studies show that people who eat more fruits and veggies tend to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who don’t.2

2. Reduce risk for chronic disease

Eating a healthy diet can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases like: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is because a balanced diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants helps your body fight off inflammation and oxidative stress, which are major contributors to these diseases.3

3. Improve gut health

Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that play a crucial role in your overall health. By eating a diet rich in fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, you can feed the good bacteria in your gut and keep them happy and healthy.4

4. Keep your brain healthy

Want to keep your brain healthy as you age? Research shows that eating certain foods, like fatty fish and leafy greens, can improve cognitive function and even reduce your risk of dementia.5

5. Reduce inflammation

Healthy eating can also help reduce inflammation in your body, which is a major contributor to many chronic diseases. Certain foods, like berries and leafy greens, are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds that can help keep your body healthy.6

6. Boost your mood

If you’re feeling down, eating a healthy diet can also improve your mood. Studies have shown that certain nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.7

7. Strengthen your immune system

Eating a balanced diet can also boost your immune system, helping you fight off infections and stay healthy. Foods high in vitamin C, like citrus fruits and bell peppers, are especially good for immune function.8

8. Improve sleep quality

If you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep, eating a healthy diet can help with that, too! Certain foods, like tart cherries and kiwis, contain compounds that can help regulate your sleep cycle and improve the quality of your sleep.9

9. Support healthy skin

Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other fresh, whole and unprocessed foods can also improve your skin health. If you’re looking for a “magic pill” to make you feel better, look no further than your plate, and add more fruits and vegetables.10

Eating a healthy diet can have all kinds of amazing benefits for your body and mind.

10. Help you live longer

If you want to live a long and healthy life, research suggests that eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, may extend your life by up to 10 years.11

That’s 10 easy-to-digest reasons that Food is Medicine. If you want to improve your health, feel better, lower your risk for disease, and live longer, take a closer look at what you eat.

Sources:

1. Graber, E. (2022). Food as Medicine. American Society for Nutrition. From: https://nutrition.org/food-as-medicine

2. Yu, Z.M., et al. (2018). Fruit and vegetable intake and body adiposity among populations in Eastern Canada: the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health Study. BMJ Open, 8(4): e018060. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5898328/

3. Schulze, M., et al. (2018). Food based dietary patterns and chronic disease prevention. British Medical Journal, 361:k2396. From: https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2396

4. Song, M., et al. (2017). Diet, gut microbiota, and colorectal cancer prevention: A review of potential mechanisms and promising targets for future research. Current Colorectal Cancer Reports, 13(6): 429-439. From: https://europepmc.org/article/med/29333111

5. Canevelli, M., et al. (2016). Nutrition and dementia: Evident for preventive approaches? Nutrients, 8(3): 144. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808873/

6. Zhu, F., et al. (2017). Anti-inflammatory effects of phytochemicals from fruits, vegetables, and food legumes: A review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 58(8): 1260-1270. From: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28605204/

7. Taylor, A., et al. (2018). A review of dietary and microbial connections to depression, anxiety, and stress. Nutritional Neuroscience, 23(3): 237-250. From: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29985786/

8. Muntenanu, C., et al. (2022). The relationship between nutrition and the immune system. Frontiers in Nutrition. From: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.1082500/full

9. Burrows, T., et al. (2020). Diet and sleep health: a scoping review of intervention studies in adults. Journal of HumFood is Medicinean Nutrition and Dietetics, 33(3): 308-329. From: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31985886/

10. Cao, C., et al. (2020). Diet and skin aging: From the perspective of food nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3): 870. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146365/

11. Fadnes, L, et al. (2022). Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modeling study. PLOS Medicine, 19(3): e1003962. From: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003889

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