Can food be medicinal? Watch what you eat

The Asian Age.

Life, Food

What you eat has the potential of protecting you from diseases.

Keep a check on your daily requirement of essential nutrients. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)

While medicine cannot be entirely replaced by your diet, certain foods are known to have protective qualities. Your eating habits have a profound impact on disease risk, coupled with other factors like lifestyle. While supplements can replicate the effects of most elements, and are easily available in the market, it’s the best to go for natural items. Here’s a guide on which foods can be used for healing, with reference to medicinal properties.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals play a key role in protecting you from diseases. Although required in small amounts, they have a big role to play in the functioning of your body.

According to Healthline, Western diets are typically low in vitamins and minerals, due to the presence of large quantities of processed foods. It’s ideal to include more fresh produce in your daily intake. Lack of vitamin D for instance can cause rickets, a disease characterised by softening of bones.

 Healthy plant compounds

Green leafy vegetables are packed with health. Most of them have high levels of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage. Their intake has proven to be extremely beneficial in fighting depression, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases among others.  

In addition, fruits, nuts and grains also contain essential components that keep diseases at bay. However, make sure you know which ones to eat. Certain fruits, for example, are not good and are excluded from a diabetic diet.


Also called roughage, dietary fibre is the most important element that stimulates digestion. Oranges, peas, beans, pulses are rich sources of fibre. They also give a boost to your immune system and gut health in general.

A diet low in fibre can lead to diseases like colon inflammation, cancer, strokes, and heart diseases. It can also result in weight gain.

Protein and healthy fats

A pro-protein diet is good for your overall health. Protein is known to be beneficial for hair growth, improving blood quality, and skin among others. Amino acids, present in proteins help in absorbing nutrients and increase metabolism and keep inflammation at bay.

Some foods that have high levels of fat can actually be good for your health. Dark chocolate, cheese, fatty fish, whole eggs are extremely nutritious.

On the other hand, there are certain foods that you should exclude from your diet plan to reduce disease risk. Soft drinks, fatty and salty junk food, artificially sweet food items are commonly known to cause heart diseases, and should be avoided in diabetes at all costs.These foods raise inflammation, cholesterol, and put you at higher chances of having diabetes.

The ideal way to go

Plant-based diets are known to be very healthy. The Mediterranean diet is loaded with whole grains, vegetables, and contains good fats. These decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers etc. Studies indicate people adopting this diet have an improved quality of life in addition to lower depression rates. However, you can also include certain animal-based items or seafood. Eggs, fish, shellfish are good, while red meat can have negative effects.

So, your diet can help you stay away from certain diseases. Keep a tab on your daily intake to avoid being at risk of acquiring common diseases. While food cannot completely replace the properties of medicine, small changes can help you stay healthy.