Using Food as a Targeted Approach to Better Health
Each one of us is a genetic makeup of both parents. As science continues to progress, it is becoming very clear that our genetics are not the determining factor for the quality of life you have. I prefer to use the term inherent weakness when speaking of this “genetic phenomenon”. As we all know the best way to fix a weakness is to first strengthen and then support it. If you do this, you no longer have a weakness and are less likely to become a victim of what you were told would be a life full of uncontrollable health problems. I want to be clear that there are many factors that play a role in the genetic mishmosh. While mom and dad blessed us with our genes, in order for a gene to express itself science has clearly proven that there need to be “triggers” that provide the incentive for the genes to express their negative influences. The two greatest area of influence on this process are lifestyle and environment. If the conditions are harsh enough on the body either one of these can turn your genes negative influence on or off like a light switch. Part of this comes down to our ability to cope and adapt.
The other part of this is the suppressing of one’s genes or genetic coding. Again this works on the same level as expressing your genes. The issue with both ends of the spectrum is whether or not our “constitution” is strong enough to handle the onslaught of abuse from factors we may have no control over. The answer is determined based on your lifestyle. Factors of one’s lifestyle across the board have been proven to have a direct effect on the expression and suppression on one’s genetic coding. Therefore you may have greater control than you think.
Functional foods- Functional foods are defined as “Foods that are rich in various compounds which have a positive effect on one’s health beyond basic nutrition”. To be clear, this goes way beyond just looking at a category known as “superfoods”. An amazing fact about the world we live in, is that you don’t need to look far to find these highly nourishing functional foods. Foods like wild salmon, pasture raised eggs, avocados, kale, maca, cacao, pomegranate, tart cherries, and huckleberries are all available in today’s world thanks to traditional and modern agricultural practices.
A Targeted approach- In order to understand how to use your “food as medicine”, it is important to first understand one simple fact about the human healing response. If you can resonate with this one fact, you will be miles ahead of the game. Side effects do not exist. All that exists are effects and responses. Allow me to explain. What we as a society look at as being a side effect, is often a healing response in order to maintain a level of homeostasis. Here is a great example. If you are fighting a cold or flu virus. then chances are, you have all of the unpleasant effects that go along with it. What you see as negative effects are actually the body’s healing responses. The fever, sweating, vomiting and, diarrhea are all ways for the body to kill and expel this virus out of your body before any damage is done. Another example is the use of antibiotics. What our society knows as side effects (mostly GI related) are nothing more than what is supposed to happen when both good and bad bacteria are destroyed and the microbiome is thrown off track.
With that said, let’s look at how we use functional foods in a targeted way. As stated at the beginning of this article, if you take what is weak and make it stronger it is no longer a vulnerability. With functional foods, you not only want to pick those one or two foods that will lead the pack but, you also want to use foods that will support the overall healing response. If you were dealing with vision issues and wanted to use your “functional food” as medicine, here is how you may consider approaching it. Begin with the lead foods that have been traditionally used to nourish eye health like bilberries. Then, add in foods that will support the overall healing process like King Salmon for those powerful omega 3 fatty acids and pomegranate arils for the polyphenol content. So a perfect medicinal meal would be oven roasted king salmon in a pomegranate sauce with dried bilberries and pomegranate arils on top. What you have in the end is not just nourishing and delicious but, a beautiful synergy of powerful compounds which support the body’s ability to heal itself.