MEDICINE JUST DOESN’T come in pills.
In many cases, it’s as close as your fork or your spoon. That’s right. Your meals can be powerful medicine — if you eat the right kinds of foods.
Today, I’d like to tell you about my recent trip to China. While there, I was reminded of how the Chinese view the medicinal properties of food — and the lessons we can learn from this approach.
The Chinese view of food as medicine is evident in their language: Their word for eating is comprised of two characters: chi fan, or “eat rice.” The word for taking medicine is chi yao, or “eat medicine.”
Food contributes taste, texture, delight, energy, and nourishment. In China, food is all that — AND a source of medicinal healing compounds to support well-being and health. That’s because the Chinese recognize that the nutritional value of food goes beyond calories. In fact, they know that many foods are rich in special plant compounds than can prevent and treat disease and transform health. These compounds are called phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients aren’t calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals. They’re molecules that interact with your biology, switching on your DNA to heal your body. Modern scientists are increasingly learning how phytonutrients can enhance health through improving the function of genes and metabolism.
Never heard of these compounds?
It’s not surprising — phytonutrients just aren’t part of our vocabulary. In the West, we tend to view food and medicine as two separate things.
But things are very different in China.
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD