Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates
For those who are always on the go, experiencing illness can be very inconvenient! Thankfully many foods can also be considered as effective medicine, with the ability to help heal the body. If you've ever wondered which foods not only provide nutrition but also have added healing properties, read on below.
Pineapple: contains the enzyme bromelain, which is known for its mucolytic properties and has been traditionally used to help break down mucus. As an added bonus, bromelain exerts anti-inflammatory actions in the body and therefore may help to relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. For a snack, try grilling fresh pineapple and serving with coconut yoghurt or dicing finely and using in a salsa or as a porridge topping.
Kiwi fruit: eating 2 kiwi fruit per day over the course of a month has been shown to relieve constipation in constipation-prone adults. Kiwi fruit contains fibre and also antioxidants, and is a very simple way to help support digestion. Add kiwi fruit to smoothies or simply eat whole as a snack.
Almonds: a plant-based source of calcium which is an important mineral when it comes to preventing dry skin, because calcium influences skin barrier function which regulates water flux and retention. As an added bonus, almonds also contain monounsaturated fats, which help to keep skin moist. Add chopped almonds to salads, on top of soups and porridge or eat a handful as a snack on the go.
Chillies: as counter intuitive as it sounds, chillies can be effective against pain. This is because hot peppers contain the warming compound capsaicin, which assists with blood flow to the site of pain and also aids in reducing pain signalling. Use chillies to flavour dishes such as curries, soups and stir-fries or sprinkle fresh sliced chilli on top of meals.
Pumpkin seeds: a source of zinc, which is a mineral necessary for wound healing. Next time you cut your finger or kick your toe, try boosting your zinc intake to speed up the healing process. Pumpkin seeds are great additions to baked goods such as homemade muesli bars, porridge or used to crust chicken or fish.
Ginger: for thousands of years, ginger has been used as a traditional remedy for nausea. Ginger acts by increasing gastric tone, motility and gastric emptying. Next time you are feeling under the weather, try making a ginger tea from fresh ginger root.
Food truly is more than just energy and nutrition; it has the power to help resolve many upsets in the body. After all, there is much truth in the saying that our kitchen is our greatest pharmacy. Next time you are suffering some form of ailment, take inspiration from the above and think about what foods can be added to your diet to speed up the healing process.