It's tough to turn on the T.V or flip through the pages of a magazine without seeing an advertisment for a prescription drug. As the symptoms and side effects are listed, one can't help but wonder... when did we as a nation get so sick?
In 2013, U.S. pharmaceutical sales soared. What exactly is in our medicine cabinets? The top 5 drugs for 2013 in sales were:
1. Abilify - For depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
2. Nexium - For stomach acid reduction.
3. Humira - For pain relief and inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, & psoriasis.
4. Crestor - Statin drug to reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol
5. Cymbalta - Effects neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine for depression and pain
The amount of money spent on just these top 5 selling drugs was a staggering $27, 975, 871. That is almost $28 million dollars in just one year. We aren't alone in this pursuit of relief, either. More than $10 billion is spent each year worldwide on antacids alone.
The promise of a magic pill that instantly wipes away our aches, pains, and assorted medical conditions is appealing, and the long list of potential side effects of these drugs are often overlooked as we try to ease our health problems. Long before there was a pharmaceutical industry, however, mankind relied on a different kind of medicine. We ate real food and utilized herbs and botanicals that had been time tested from generation to generation to keep up healthy. Now, the very foods that we eat may contribute to our health problems, and instead of addressing the underlying issue we simply ask for one more prescription to handle our ever declining health.
Our conventional food processing methods prioritize convenience and low cost, and while the pantrys of America are filled with processed, genetically modified, "foods" made in a factory, our medicine cabinets continue to fill with prescription drugs to counter the effects of eating all of this "non-food". Maybe if we said "no" to the drive through, and "yes" to the farmer's market, we wouldn't feel so - unhealthy.
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates
One of the easiest ways to improve your health is by encorporating more organically grown fruits and vegetable into your diet. Plant foods contain phytonutrients, chemicals that help protect the plants from fungus, germs, bugs and other threats. These same phytonutrients, such as carotenoids that provide the orange, yellow, and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, act as powerful antioxidants in our bodies. Antioxidants can reduce the free radical damage that can lead to inflammation, premature aging, and chronic illness. Fruits and vegetables are also bursting with vitamins and minerals that support your overall health and wellness and ensure you don't experience illness from vitamin deficincies.
By selecting organically grown fruits and vegetables, you are reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals that can build up in the body and lead to more health problems. Be sure to ask your local farmer's market vendor about their growing process, or look for the USDA-certified organic seal on items from your grocery store. Select a wide variety of colors in your fruits and vegetables, deep greens and purples, vibrant reds and oranges, bright yellows and more to get plenty of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your diet.
Try encorporating one additional serving of fruits or vegetable to every meal. If you are short on time and feel too rushed to make a meal at home, try juicing. A few minutes of juicing and you have a a nutrient-dense superfood drink that you can grab and enjoy on the go.
Smoothies are another way to encorporate nature's "medicine", allowing you to easily and quickly enjoy a number of health promoting superfoods. Add plant-based protein powders, such as hemp seed protein, or pea protein, to further boost the nutritional power of these convenient, "fast" foods!
A diet rich in a variety of plant foods, with few processed, manufactured foods (full of unpronounceable ingredients!), will make tremendous strides in benefitting your health and wellness. No prescription required.
Melissa Zimmerman, Live Superfoods