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Why Eating Dinner is Better Than Seeing a Doctor

Oct 31, 2017

MEDICINE JUST DOESN’T come in pills.

In many cases, it’s as close as your fork or your spoon. That’s right. Your meals can be powerful medicine — if you eat the right kinds of foods.

Today, I’d like to tell you about my recent trip to China. While there, I was reminded of how the Chinese view the medicinal properties of food — and the lessons we can learn from this approach.

The Chinese view of food as medicine is evident in their language: Their word for eating is comprised of two characters: chi fan, or “eat rice.” The word for taking medicine is chi yao, or “eat medicine.”

Food contributes taste, texture, delight, energy, and nourishment. In China, food is all that — AND a source of medicinal healing compounds to support well-being and health. That’s because the Chinese recognize that the nutritional value of food goes beyond calories. In fact, they know that many foods are rich in special plant compounds than can prevent and treat disease and transform health. These compounds are called phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients aren’t calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals. They’re molecules that interact with your biology, switching on your DNA to heal your body. Modern scientists are increasingly learning how phytonutrients can enhance health through improving the function of genes and metabolism.

Never heard of these compounds?

It’s not surprising — phytonutrients just aren’t part of our vocabulary. In the West, we tend to view food and medicine as two separate things.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

About Dr Mark Hyman:
MARK HYMAN, MD is dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in his field. Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, and advocacy, he empowers others to stop managing symptoms and start treating the underlying causes of illness, thereby tackling our chronic-disease epidemic.

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