Food is our strongest ally in the quest to defeat diseases. All of us have heard the great words from Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. But there is always a gap between what we know and what we follow. In the 21st century, we have a variety of options for food as well as for treatment. Unlike us, people in the primitive era, use to rely only on healthy foods for a longer and healthy life span. With the advancement of medical science and technology, we have more treatment options and we largely depend on medicines and other therapeutic or surgical options. But in this quest for a healthy living, we tend to forget our roots which clearly state food is the only means to delay or overcome the development or progression of diseases. It’s the choice of our food that has caused an impact on the health status of human beings, so we should look for answers there itself.
The traditional food that our ancestors used to have, were mainly plant-based food. Whether it is a cow, buffalo or a goat, the milk it produces, is for its cubs to grow and not for human consumption. Have you ever noticed human physiology? We don’t have canines, jaws or sharp nail like carnivores. Although human chose to be omnivores, but the traditional food of mankind was believed to be plant-based. So the solutions to all our doubts will lead us to the plant-based diet.
Embracing a plant-based diet is not a “modern food fad”. Plant-based diet is a traditional approach towards healthy living and reducing the risk of illness. Since the ancient times, plant-based diet is used to stay healthy and disease-free because of its various advantages. They are:
1. Plant-based diet is packed with essential nutrients: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or memory losses are the diseases that 21st century is struggling to find a solution for. Did our ancestors know about the existence of any such disease? The answer is “probably No”. Owing to the choices of our food, human race has adjusted to the fast-paced life. Leafy green vegetables in plant-based diet are a rich source of vitamins, sulfur, calcium and omega-3 fatty acid which is important for brain health. Studies suggest that diet may cause age-related brain damage due to inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acid or omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) 1.
2. Green is good for your gut and skin: Do you remember when you were a kid, your parents or grandparents always used to tell you about the importance of eating the right food? Most of them were not a scientist or a research worker, but still they were aware of the importance of nutrition and healthy diet. This is because plant-based diet is a traditional diet which is re-discovered by the scientists of the present day. Green leafy vegetables are very good for your skin and gut health. It enhances the growth of good bacteria in your gut, eliminates yeast, reduces inflammation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), improves motility, balances the pH level, reduces risk of colon cancer, helps to lose weight, increases energy and decreases bloats and gives you an inner glow.
3. Plant-based diet is rich in water content: Do you remember those home-made beauty tips from your mother or grandmother that you used to follow blindly as a teen? Where do you think those tips came from? Plant-based or natural ways to heal or prevent any disease is associated with our roots or tradition. Plant-based diet like fruits and vegetables contain high amount of water which helps us to stay hydrated at all times. It also helps to restore your youthful, dewy and glowing complexion effortlessly. In addition to the physical benefits, studies show that consumption of fruits and vegetables also helps to improve an individual’s self-efficacy and decisional balance2.
4. Plant-based diet can prevent and reverse chronic diseases: Plant-based diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing serum cholesterol and blood pressure3. More over studies shows that this form of diet is also effective to reduce the risk of cancer, heart diseases and various autoimmune disorders like colitis, arthritis and fertility issues. The scientists also said that coronary heart diseases may not exist, only if the people change their dietary habits and switch to plant-based diet.
5. Plant-based diet is natural and close to Mother Earth: Plant-based diet is free from artificial flavors and chemicals which keep our system free from the ill effects of various diseases causing agent. Green leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes etc are healthier and nutritious than sugary, refined and processed foods.
As per the experts, plant-based food is the key to a long, healthy and disease-free life. So, plant-based diet is not a modern food fad but a traditional diet which is re-discovered by the scientists and it helps to prevent metabolic dysregulation which is the main reason for diseases and weakness in adults more than 40 years of age4. So, embrace plant-based diet as it is not new to your genes.
Denis I, Potier B, Vancassel S, Heberden C, Lavialle M Omega-3 fatty acids and brain resistance to ageing and stress: body of evidence and possible mechanisms. Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Mar; 12(2):579-94. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 6
Davoodi SH, Hosseini Z, Aghamolaei T, Zare M, Ghanbarnejad A Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in High School Students in Bandar Abbas, Iran: An Application of the Trans-theoretical ModelArch Iran Med. 2017 Jun;20(6):344-349. doi: 0172006/AIM.005
Shrapnel WS, Calvert GD, Nestel PJ, Truswell AS. Diet and coronary heart disease. The National Heart Foundation of Australia.Med J Aust. 1992 May 4;156 Suppl:S9-16
Solomons NW Plant-based diets are traditional in developing countries: 21st century challenges for better nutrition and health Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep; 9 Suppl 1:S41-54