CONSUMERLINE By Ching M. Alano
The Philippine STAR 08/01/2006
The Father of Medicine Hippocrates dished out this mouthful of wisdom, "Let your food be your medicine." Part of Hippocrates’ legacy to the medical world is a compilation of over 400 herbs and their uses.
Over the ages, people have been aware of the health benefits of some foods. For instance, the Chinese have used ginger to treat nausea and upset stomach. Ginger tea, anyone? (But more on this pungent aromatic rhizome later.) Or remember your anxious mom lovingly applying a towel drenched in vinegar over your forehead to bring down a raging fever? Or are you one of those who gargle with lukewarm water spiked with a dash of salt when you have a sore throat?
Today, more and more people are discovering the healing powers of food and turning less and less to drugs.
Says Julie Conquer, director of Guelph’s Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, "We have an aging society who wants to stay healthy with less use of drugs. They don’t want to be on many different medications like their parents were. They want to be out enjoying walking and gardening until they’re 100. And that’s what they perceive these kinds of things can do for them."
Don’t be surprised if someday soon, we’ll see less prescription pads and more hearty menus or health recipes. For starters, here’s a menu of 20 "miracle cures for anything that ails you":
• Arthritis – Arthritis sufferers now have something to sink their teeth into: sardines, yes, or salmon, tuna, mackerel.
• Asthma – Have some onion rings. It’s been said that onions help ease the constriction of the bronchial tubes and thus provide relief for asthma sufferers. Indeed, in onion there is strength.
• Bladder infections – Drink cranberry juice. High-acid cranberry juice controls harmful bacteria. (Most health stores carry healthy juices, like cranberry juice.)
• Blood sugar imbalance – Eat your broccoli or snack on some peanuts. The chromium in broccoli and peanuts helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.
• Bone problems – Bite into a slice of pineapple. The manganese in pineapple can prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis.
• Breast cancer – Take this wheat-y advice: Have some wheat or bran. And don’t forget to eat your cabbage to keep your estrogen at healthy levels and ward off breast cancer.
• Clogged arteries – Have some avocado. The monounsaturated fat in avocados lowers cholesterol. And so does the miracle virgin coconut oil, which the country’s so richly blessed with.
• Colds – Drink some hot garlic tea to clear up that stuffy head. According to the National Cancer Institute, garlic has anti-tumor properties. It’s got 18 anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substances. This natural antibiotic helps stimulate the immune system and flush out the toxins from the body.
• Cough – For that nasty cough, your friendly neighborhood herbalist prescribes hot red pepper. Studies show that a substance similar to that found in cough syrups is found in hot red pepper.
• Diarrhea – Get an apple, grate it with its skin, let it turn brown, and eat it. An apple a day can keep diarrhea away.
• Headaches – Take fish oil or ginger tea. Studies say that ginger tea relaxes the blood vessels in the head and diminishes swelling in the brain. It also activates the natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain and reduces prostaglandins responsible for causing inflammation.
• High blood pressure – Take some olive oil; it’s been shown to lower blood pressure. Or grab some celery. Celery contains a chemical that lowers blood pressure.
• Influenza – A scientist in Spain has gone out to prove that honey contains a natural ingredient that kills influenza germs and protects us against flu. Now, that’s a sweet way to beat those nasty germs!
• Insomnia – Take some honey if you can’t sleep. Honey acts as a tranquilizer and sedative. Sweet dreams, honey!
• Lung cancer – Have a dose of beta carotene (a form of vitamin A found in dark green and orange vegetables).
• Memory problems – Eat some oysters. Oysters are loaded with zinc that helps improve mental functioning. Don’t you forget that.
• PMS – Are you suffering from depression, anxiety and fatigue due to PMS (premenstrual syndrome)? Here, have some cornflakes. Cornflakes contain a healthy dose of riboflavin and niacin, both members of the vitamin-B family.
• Heart attack – Take a regular dose of tea, which helps prevent buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls. Also, eat fish, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
If you don’t like fish, try some scrambled eggs. The Ontario-based Burnbrae Farms Ltd. has come up with Omega Pro, a liquid egg mixture enriched with fish oil. Those who ate this egg showed a drop in their levels of triglyceride fat by 32 percent after 21 days, lowering their risk of heart attack.
• Ulcers – Go ahead and eat your cabbage. Cabbage contains chemicals that help heal both gastric and duodenal ulcers.
• Upset stomach – Have a banana. The most versatile of all fruits, bananas are almost a complete balanced diet, loaded as they are with potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and fiber. In case you didn’t know, potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate blood chemistry and improve carbohydrate metabolism. Bananas are strongly recommended for diarrhea and constipation, too. Can’t blame people if they’re going bananas over bananas.
Excuse us while we finish our banana.
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