The doctor is in…your kitchen! It’s amazing to finally see food embraced in the mainstream as medicine, and for good reason. Natural remedies not only stand the test of time (some below have been used for thousands of years), they are finally being acknowledged, researched, and tested, and the results are astounding.
I’ve felt like living proof of food cures for a long time and the more I learn and experience, the more I’m convinced that good health grows from the ground up!
Several of the medicinal foods below have tested better than prescription drugs in clinical trials. Whether you use to treat coughs and colds, menstrual cramps or arthritis, these foods provide pharmaceutical grade benefit with minimal side effects and lower costs.
Here are 7 plant based ways to achieve better health:
1.Buckwheat honey for your colds & coughs
Over the counter cold and cough medications for children are often a topic of controversy. Studies indicate that over the counter medications do not work any better than the placebo, at a higher risk to your child’s overall health.
Honey has been used as a cold and cough treatment for thousands of years, in particular Buckwheat honey. This safer alternative to over the counter meds considered to be the best option for a natural treatment of coughs and is derived from the nectar of the buckwheat flower. Buckwheat honey is high in antioxidants, has immune boosting properties, and a richer, darker flavor.
Add to warm lemon water to soothe sore throat, or take a spoonful to suppress cough.
2. Fermented foods for loose stool & tummy issues
Fermented foods keep your gut happy and healthy, providing beneficial bacteria that boost the digestive tract. If you find yourself with a bout of diarrhea, what you need is a big scoop of pickled veggies, sauerkraut, or kimchi (you can also get the same fermented benefit from yogurt, kefir, kimchi, or tempeh).
If your digestive issues stem from doctor prescribed antibiotics, combat the depletion of good bacteria with the natural medicine of fermented foods. Learn more about fermented foods & easy recipes you can use here.
3. Ginger for lady cramps
Most are familiar with ginger because of its digestive benefit. Soothing an upset tummy and easing nausea. Did you know that ginger is food “ibuprofen” when it comes to menstrual cramps?
If you love the taste like I do, you can make a soothing ginger tea, or snack on pickled ginger (or if you’re really brave take a ginger juice shot!). If you can’t stomach the taste, you will find that ginger supplements in pill form work just as well.
The suggested dose for menstrual benefit is 2,000mg per day.
4. Turmeric for arthritis (and everything else!)
Turmeric was the buzz food of 2014 and it isn’t going anywhere! Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, combined with black pepper will help your body absorb more of the beneficial component and you can easily take in capsule form.
Medicinally, turmeric gained notoriety for being an anti-inflammatory food, treating brain related conditions and fighting disease. Next on turmeric’s list is arthritis! Turmeric is effective at preventing joint inflammation, improving function, and decreasing pain, as well as reducing joint pain and swelling.
Take 400-600mg 2-3x per day for best OA and RA benefit.
5. Peppermint for IBS and post dinner relief
The after meal peppermint candy was conceived for good reason. Mint has historically been used as a digestive aide and customary after meal “relief”.
No peppermint candies here though, I’m referring to medicinal peppermint, in oil or tea form. Peppermint can provide relief for anyone who suffers from chronic IBS or for an isolated case of abdominal cramping. The combination of menthol and methyl salicylate soothe spasms, calm stomach muscles, and provide pain killing properties. Used for indigestion, the properties of peppermint relieve gas, nausea, vomiting and even morning sickness.
Peppermint is non-toxic and in studies has been found to be just as effective as the over the counter treatments. Have a warm glass of peppermint tea after an indulgent meal, to soothe stomach during pregnancy, and decrease effects of IBS.
6. Hibiscus tea to lower blood pressure
In addition to being a beautiful shade of pink, hibiscus tea is loaded with blood pressure lowering anthocyanins. Recent studies show that hibiscus lowers blood pressure as effectively as prescriptions, yet hibiscus is safe (unlike most prescribed blood pressure medications) and rarely causes side effects.
If you would like, you can even grow your own. Hibiscus is hearty and easy to grow all over the U.S. If you’re not up for gardening, organic hibiscus tea is readily available at your local markets.
7. Chia Seeds for lowering cholesterol
The tiny chia seed packs in protein and fiber, and is a highly nutrient-dense “superfood”. Chia literally has the ability to scrape cholesterol off the sides of your artery walls and the soluble fiber in chia seeds helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down the transformation of carbohydrates into sugars.
Chia takes on the flavor of whatever you serve it with, easily being added to water or your favorite juices and smoothies.
Looking for more ways to use food as medicine? I share daily tips on my Instagram feed, check it out here: https://instagram.com/elissagoodman/