Hippocrates’ quote has always spoken to me: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” I am a Registered Dietitian and wholeheartedly believe that what we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our body’s performance, health, ability, and longevity. Food really does have the ability to help, heal, and act as preventative health care, but it also has the ability to hurt and destroy our bodies. Food can be thy medicine, but of course, it has to be the right food.
What is the right food? We’re bombarded every day by news stories and article headlines about the latest fad diet, the food that is the new cure-all, and the drink that will heal us. No wonder we’re confused about what the right food for our bodies is! We can learn from Hippocrates who lived in a time when there were no processed products; no Gogurt yogurt packets or Lunchables; no microwaves to nuke our Healthy Choice or Hungry Man meals; and no additives, preservatives, coloring, or chemicals to make our food something it was not meant to be.
That food he spoke of - fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, meat on the rare occasion you were able to catch it, fish if you were near water, and dairy if you had animals to provide it - is real medicine. Its nutrients and health properties have the ability to keep our bodies healthy, without the need for so much modern medicine. Those whole, unprocessed, nature-made foods, completely unaltered or enhanced, are what our bodies crave and require to remain healthy.
Although “Let food be thy medicine,” was said by a man who lived to 377 B.C., I can’t help but think that if Hippocrates were around today, his catch phrase would modernize to mimic the popular catch phrase of the iPhone:
Yeah, we’ve got an app for that.
Hippocrates, however, would give it his healthy spin, of course. I imagine he would say something more along the lines of, “Sick? Yeah, we’ve got an app(le) for that.” While the iPhone promotes its apps to solve every question or conundrum known to man, Hippocrates would promote whole nutritious foods over medicine to solve every ailment or illness known to man.
Have poor heart health? Yeah, we’ve got salmon for that.
Have declining eyesight? Yeah, we’ve got carrots for that.
Need to boost your immune system? Yeah, we’ve got antioxidant rich produce for that.
Depressed? Yeah, we’ve got omega-3s for that.
Want to keep the doctor away? Yeah, we’ve got app(le)s for that.
If Hippocrates, our father of modern medicine were still alive, he may be surprised to see that people today are relying on modern technology, such as the apps on an iPhone, to improve their health. From weight loss programs to calorie counters, you can find an app for your iPhone to help you get healthy. But in my opinion, the only application we need to lead healthy lives is an active lifestyle and a diet full of whole, unprocessed, nutritious food, just like Hippocrates recommended.