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  • Daniel Chua

You are What You Eat

Do you know just how much the food you eat affects you as a person? Oftentimes, we only think of how food makes us gain or lose weight. But the reality is that it has the power to affect our bodies in more ways than we imagine.

Think of it this way: our body is made up of cells that have, so to speak, a language of their own. The food that we eat is also made up of cells, and these molecules contain “instructions” that they send to your body. So essentially, whatever we ingest has the capacity to give “instructions” that may be good or bad for our bodies.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

This is why Dr. Mark Hyman, who shares his valuable insights in The Doctor’s Farm-acy, believes that food can actually serve as our “medicine.” (Notice that his podcast title is spelled “Farm”-acy, to allude to the food that we get from farms.)

Here we come to a term that is, sadly, very abused in our time. We normally see medicine as something we run to in order to fix what’s wrong with our bodies. Diseases are usually diagnosed based on the symptoms we have and which part of our body has them, so the medicine is actually meant to treat the symptoms, not the cause. And what is the cause? Poor lifestyle choices, including the food that we eat.

The old adage holds true especially in terms of what we eat: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. But what if you already lived a lifetime of poor choices? Are you doomed to suffer the consequences for the rest of your life?

Here’s some good news: When Dr. Hyman says food is medicine, he actually means that it’s not too late. You can still change the way you eat and enjoy the healing properties of food.

If you want to start making changes in your diet, begin by paying attention to these three things:

1. Improving gut health

Did you know that our gut, or intestines, is actually our first line of defense against disease? Unfortunately, many of us suffer from what is called a “leaky gut.” This happens when the linings of your intestines are too loose so as to allow toxins, bacteria, and undigested food molecules to go into your bloodstream.

So how do you improve gut health? One good way is to improve your fiber intake, which you can get from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

2. Reducing inflammation

Another thing to consider if you want to improve your health is the issue of inflammation. Do you know that certain foods cause our cells to inflame or swell? Many diseases are actually inflammatory in nature.

Among the biggest culprits for this inflammation are sugar and gluten.

Sugar, which sweetens food, is an addictive substance that we are so used to having in our food, that we usually can’t imagine living without it. But it’s one of the major causes of inflammation in our bodies.

Gluten is the protein found in flour. Unfortunately, the Western diet relies heavily on white bread, which is why many Americans are currently suffering from obesity.

Another cause of inflammation is dairy. Many people are actually allergic to dairy without knowing it. Instead of the typical allergic reactions we are familiar with, such as hives or difficulty breathing, or obvious symptoms of lactose intolerance such as vomiting or diarrhea, a low-lying sensitivity to dairy manifests as inflammation. This is known as a delayed allergic reaction.

One way of reducing inflammation is reducing or eliminating these foods from our diet. Try it for a week as a start, and note how it makes you feel. Then, you can try slowly adding them back one at a time to see the difference.

3. Improving immunity

When people talk about health, especially now during this pandemic season, we normally mean our resistance to diseases. This refers to our immunity, which we also need to boost. The good thing is that we have plenty of food options to choose from if we want to improve immunity.

First on the list are probiotics, or sources of good bacteria, which include fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Next, you can up your level of vitamins by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Berries are a great source of what we call antioxidants, or substances that help undo the damage that toxins do to our bodies.

Making Lifestyle Changes

In the end, the main challenge to changing your diet is that you may not see results immediately. This is probably why many people persist in unhealthy food choices, believing that they’re “still young and healthy.”

Instead, view it as an investment into the future as you expand your understanding of how nutrients work and work on a holistic lifestyle change. You may not see the results until years down the road, but trust me, it will be worth it.

Coaching can help you design a new life. We should all live our lives by design, not by default. Take back your health today.

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