Singer’s Wellness: Food as Medicine

You are what you eat.

If you really think about that, what are you today? What have you put in your body? Is it helping you move towards optimal health or away from it?

What we eat is a big factor in our physical health – food intake has been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer,  but what about our mental health?

There is plenty of research out there that shows there is a link between food and mood.  A recent study found a link between poor diet and depression. Other studies show links between other mental illnesses and the food one consumes. Taking this a step farther, studies have identified that there is a link between our immune system (up to 80% of which is located in our gut) and our mental health. Anecdotal evidence is becoming more frequent about people who have revolutionized their health and put autoimmune conditions into remission by radically altering their diet for the better,

Soooo, what is one to do with all this information? EAT BETTER!

Eating a variety of colors of vegetables is great, but you can go one step further and introduce a type of food that helps boost your immune system by helping to heal your gut and improves your digestion.

What is this food as medicine? Fermented foods.

Saurkraut

Kimchi

Kefir

Yogurt ( but only the plain kind the rest has so much sugar it sort of cancels out the benefits)

Pickled beets, peppers, eggplant, turnips, carrots

Fermented foods are loaded with pro-biotics, or the good bacteria that we need to keep our bodies healthy. This bacteria lives in your gut. Let’s review: there is a type of food you can eat that can strengthen your immune system, therefore improving your physical AND mental health. Yes please, sign me up.

It took me time to develop a taste for saurkraut, but it has become a regular part of my diet. I also use Kefir in smoothies where I add some frozen berries (and if my kids are drinking it, a bit of honey. I don’t mind sour tastes, but they do!) and a bit of water. You can make your own fermented foods, or you can buy them at the store. I’m not picky how you get them into your diet, just get them into your diet!

 

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