The power of food is real, but your journey may be a bit different than mine.
This is because, genetically speaking, we are individuals. We have unique needs.
The right combination of foods for you as a unique person can be incredibly healing for your body.
And the power of food extends to your emotional and social well-being too. Food brings us together at the best of times and creates the best settings for comfort, family, and friends.
Why the power of food is unique to you
There has been a lot of advancement in gene testing and research about the power of foods’ effects on these genes.
This rapidly growing field of science is called epigenetics.
Even the New England Journal of Medicine is warming up to the idea of opening up all facets of nutrition research to help heal .
Sometimes, this may include an individual’s response to treatment, not just restrictive clinical trials. For example, you may respond well to a Paleo-type diet, while another person may have their best health with an anti-inflammatory diet and intermittent fasting.
The individual response to the diet may also explain why some people feel great on a vegan diet while others feel horrible. Still, others feel fantastic eating primarily animal foods and others might feel sick doing the same.
But, it pays off to find the right type of meal plan for you where you can truly experience the power of food for you as an individual.
The power of food creates a ripple effect
Empower one person to become healthy with food and food patterns, and their ability to positively influence the world becomes a reality.
Consider this. Food has most of what you need to heal and repair your body. Once you heal, you can become happier, more productive, and the burden of your illness goes away.
Your positive health then influences those around you, creating an upswing in others’ health, attitude, and productivity.
The healing power of foods may be something that you have known about yourself all along if you are very in tune with your body’s signals and responses.
Signals such as appetite, cravings, fatigue, highs, and lows in mood.
Read on to find out why you, as an individual, have the right to perfect health, and how foods are powerful to help make this happen.
Where research misses the power of food
Your individual response to various foods, even medications, is important. However, research misses this.
Let’s take a quick look at how typical clinical research works and its inherent flaws.
The chart below is a scatterplot of a research study. Bear in mind, this is hypothetical. I will describe this arbitrary treatment as treatment x.
For every dot on the plot, imagine that it represents an individual’s status of artery plaque after treatment x with increasing time along the horizontal line.
You can see that generally, the rates of artery plaque reduce after treatment x, or drop below the horizontal line as time goes along. However, for some above the line, their heart disease worsens.
Yet, if we were to average the numbers out and use statistical analysis, this may make assumptions that all people would benefit from treatment x.
What if YOU are one of the people above the line?
Why individual response to food is important
Research is important, but it isn’t without its own conundrums. The individual. You as an individual with unique genes, diet, lifestyle, and exposure.
Let’s take an example of a person that has multiple diseases and multiple medications. He is a person that has asthma, diabetes, heart disease, gout, an infection, and also has poor teeth and gums (periodontitis).
He eats a standard American diet, doesn’t exercise, and he takes 4 different drug treatments for all of his diseases. He also works in a factory with high exposure to toxins.
There is no research study on the planet that has used treatment or combination of medications that are designed exactly to work for him and all of his risks of exposure with his job, diet, medication combination, and genetics.
Research studies carefully pick a very isolated group of people with very strict inclusion requirements. I fondly think of this a “cherry-picking”. After all, they want to sell their drug. Who can blame them, really?
This is where your healthcare provider has to use the art of medicine to decide what is going to work best for you as an individual.
A doctor or practitioner uses their clinical experience at this point to help a person heal.
Why medicine needs food for healing
But is medicine enough? Medicine often has one targeted action, which can be helpful, but it isn’t going to make a person heal back to normal.
Side effects from the medications themselves may need to be closely monitored and depletion of nutrients related to the medicine need to be taken into account.
Read more on my Zinc blog for examples of drug-nutrient depletion issues.
If the patient I described above just takes medicines and does nothing to improve his food intake, exercise, and exposure, he truly won’t get better.
What if, you add a healthy diet to his regimen, such as an autoimmune protocol? Or even better yet, understand the person’s unique response to foods by taking a careful diet history and coming up with a whole food plan that is right for them.
The result of this diet, after a while, is likely to be this:
The person feels more energy, fewer aches and pains, his asthma diminishes, and his diabetes numbers all but go back to normal. This is the power of food. I’ve seen it over and over.
Why Is food so healing?
A carrot has over 200 compounds in it that have diverse roles for health in the body. One single carrot has a lot of power and information for your body when you eat it.
Then….when you eat a lot of other amazing foods that are whole with the carrot, the healing power becomes omnipotent.
Lavender, an edible herb, has been studied to have over 160 compounds in it that may have an influence on how we feel.
Does lavender have any known major side effects? If you guessed no, you are right.
Nature seems to design foods perfectly and here’s why: the compounds often have added and magnified effects when eaten together. They have the ability to dampen some toxic responses as well.
For example, black pepper enhances the availability and absorption of many food and nutrients. It is like a nutrient enabler. It also acts to detoxify.
That isn’t to say that foods and edible herbs can’t have side effects, because they certainly can and do.
But whole plant foods and edible herbs can and usually do have synergistic healing properties.
How the power of food helps doctors
I recently gave a presentation to physicians about various nutrient and food research. I often do this to help spread the word about the power of food.
I had a doctor come up to me after the presentation and he told me a heartwarming story about how a different presentation that I gave a year ago helped him decide to change his course of action for medicine.
He started taking berberine due to my lecture. Berberine, a natural plant substance, had worked so well for him when medicines were not. He also made a couple of other lifestyle and supplement changes. His cholesterol numbers improved in a very large way. He feels great without side effects.
But why did the plant work so well for him? Nature produces amazingly complicated substances that have diverse, and usually multi-faceted effects on the body.
Foods are so diverse, that over 20,000 different beneficial compounds occur in whole foods. Medications? They generally have one action in the body.
This means that while conventional medicine is important, it should never be taken without consideration for improvement in food intake and lifestyle.
How to harness the power of food for you
Complex, distinct, and aromatic flavors and colors of foods should be a clue to their vast benefits for you.
But, make sure to have a variety and balance of foods.
This is because whole foods or plant extracts might help balance immunity, improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, and balance hormones (read my Broccoli blog).
Another example: adding beef liver may give you a much-needed boost of vitamins and minerals.
When in doubt, diversify your diet with whole foods and skip over the junky processed foods, and those that have labels making big (false) claims.
Getting back to natural ways of eating is a big step.
And you deserve it. You are powerful.