An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We’ve all heard that one before, right? Well, what if the prevention and the cure were the same thing? How could this be possible? To tout out another cliché, isn’t that like having your cake and eating it too?
Well, sort of. Imagine that the proverbial cake was actually a generous serving of leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, and maybe a handful of diced beets and carrots. When food is considered medicine, the cure and the prevention are essentially the same ingredients.
Naturopathic physicians treat their patients on the principe that food is medicine. This isn’t some new-age hippie nonsense, either. “Let food be thy medicine” is a concept that dates back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine himself. Whether we’re putting food or pharmaceuticals in our mouths, everything we consume affects our bodies. Many pharmaceuticals were, or still are, synthesized from plants anyway, so its really not that far fetched to think that we could get many of the same benefits we get from pills by being prescribed a certain diet.
Eliminating or dramatically reducing our consumption of certain food items can eliminate risk factors for heart disease or kidney failure, for example. But adding foods to our diet can help cure us of diseases we already have. Juhara, a healthy forty-year-old woman, suddenly started having night seizures that left her sick and exhausted. No traditional doctor was able to find a reason for her seizures and she suffered with them for four years before she met a naturopathic physician who recommended a ketogenic diet. Ketones have anti-seizure properties and after a month on this diet, Juhara’s seizures were gone. Traditional physicians are not required to have nutrition training, which seems odd, given that what we eat can have such an impact on how our body functions. Things are on the way to changing, however, as more and more doctors of varying practices are discovering the importance of nutrition to health.