Can eating be treating?

If you buy into the idea that food is a foundation for good health, then it’s probably not a stretch to think of food as medicine – your first line of defence against ‘disease’.

So, do all foods have medicinal benefits or just the ‘superfoods’? Well, every food is a superfood. Every tree, every leaf, every flower has a medicinal benefit. It’s a case of knowing what that benefit is and matching it to your needs. That’s a science that the ancients mastered and we’ve lost touch with a lot of it – but not all of it.

We can eat our way back to better health

The ground-up root that is turmeric, for example, is a staple of Asian cooking and has been used for thousands of years in the East as both a medicine and ingredient, verified by modern medicine. It’s not just turmeric; the same is true for foods like garlic, onions, beetroot, honey…the list goes on; foods we all know and have been eaten for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years and are embedded in cultures across the world. Today they’ve become ingredients in familiar tasting meals but to our ancestors, they were more likely to be medicines in a bowl.


The medical benefits of most staple foods are known and accessible so there’s no reason why we can’t start eating our way to perfect health. “Well I eat lots of healthy food and I’m not in perfect health so what’s that’s about?” Well, not all foods are good for all folk. That’s because we’re all different so we need the right foods, not just any foods – eating whole foods is great but doesn’t mean you’ll be perfectly balanced because of that.

Food medicine

Getting balanced depends on your specific biological makeup and needs. One person’s (food) medicine is another person’s poison. That’s why eating a salad doesn’t work for everyone or, for example, why some people love raw onions and others can’t stand them. It’s also why some people have allergic reactions to certain foods; your body doesn’t want a particular food because it doesn’t need it or can’t cope with it and it tells you pretty quickly.

As time goes by, your body’s needs change and so should your diet. That’s not only true month-to-month throughout the year but year-on-year through your life. Get it right, and your body will continue to pass its MOT, otherwise, you’ll be spending more time in the garage!

To find out more, read our ‘Rethink your wellbeing’ guide