Culinary medicine: How to treat yourself right
Food trends in the age of self-care
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” wrote Hippocrates, father of medicine, in 431BC.
The modern diet, ever more focused on healing and wellness, is one of inclusion rather than exclusion. No more avoiding certain foods, there is a significant move towards including beneficial foods. Now more than ever there’s a healthier way to overhaul any diet, from carnivore to vegan.
Here are the latest ways to improve your wellness through what you include in your diet:
Gut-friendly foodHaving the right balance of healthy bacteria can do wonders for your overall feeling of wellbeing. When gut bacteria are balanced your system digests food properly, meaning you are able to derive maximum nutrition. Foods that promote gut health come in two forms: prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics have long been recognised as a way to turbo-charge your system. Prebiotics nourish the good bacteria in your gut to supercharge your overall wellbeing. Good sources of prebiotics are garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks and bananas, or you can take them in the form of supplement.
Tonics and tincturesHomemade herbal infusions and tonics are the easiest way to start exploring medicinal foods. Creating delicious infusions and tonics is both easy and satisfying. They can be made at home in a variety of ways:
Infusion: This is done by steeping plants in hot water, essentially making a tea. Try a simple infusion of fresh mint leaves and hot water as a drink before bed. It is both soothing on your digestion and good for sleep.Decoction: This is boiling herbs, bones or vegetables so the water then retains the soluble nutrients. The vitamins and minerals in bone or vegetable broth are a nutritional goldmine.
Tincture: This is infusing an alcoholic solution to draw out the properties of a plant. Try sticking a vanilla bean in a jar of vodka and leaving it for a few weeks in a dark place; this slowly draws out the vanilla oils and is the how vanilla extract is made. Use in place of store-bought vanilla essence, which is completely unnatural.
NootropicsNootropics are an emerging kind of “smart drugs” said to improve everything from cognitive function and memory to creativity and motivation. Heralded as the multivitamin of the 21st century, Nootropics include a range of synthetic and natural supplements aimed at boosting your efficacy. Try Ginko Boliboa and Lion’s Mane, both natural supplements found in local health stores.