The healing power of nutrition: How good food supports recovery.

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“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”  Wrote Hippocrates around 400 BC.

It’s widely recognised that a balanced diet is essential for overall health and its significance becomes even more pronounced when we or someone we love is ill or recovering from sickness. Whether that’s managing an eternal cold, a chronic condition, or recovering from a serious ailment, the role of nutrition in supporting the body’s healing process can be extremely beneficial.

How can making informed dietary choices make a world of difference to our wellbeing?

Fuelling the healing process

The human body relies on a balanced diet to function efficiently, especially during times of illness. Nutrient-rich foods provide the body with the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds necessary to support various physiological processes, including immune function, tissue repair, and energy production.

Boosting immunity

A robust immune system is our body’s first line of defence against illness. Certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, play crucial roles in bolstering immune function. By ensuring adequate intake of these immune-supporting nutrients, individuals can enhance their body’s ability to fend off infections and reduce the severity and duration of illnesses.

Supporting recovery

During illness, the body’s metabolic demands often increase as it works overtime to fight off sickness and repair the body. Protein-rich foods, for instance, supply the building blocks necessary for tissue repair and regeneration, aiding in the recovery process. Additionally, foods rich in anti-inflammatory compounds can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing, making a noticeable difference in recovery times.

Managing symptoms and side effects

Certain illnesses and medical treatments can bring about a host of symptoms and side effects that impact appetite, digestion, and overall nutritional status. In such cases, dietary modifications tailored to individual needs can help manage symptoms, alleviate discomfort, and improve quality of life. For example, incorporating easily digestible foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding trigger foods can help alleviate nausea, gastrointestinal issues, and other treatment-related side effects. Talking to an expert or medical professional could be incredibly beneficial if you have specific needs.

Preventing nutritional deficiencies

Illnesses, particularly chronic conditions, can sometimes lead to nutritional deficiencies due to factors such as decreased appetite, malabsorption, or increased nutrient losses. Proactive nutritional interventions, such as supplementation or dietary adjustments could help to address specific nutrient needs and prevent deficiencies.

 What we put into our body can support us at times of ill-health or during a period of challenge. By taking care with our diet, we may be able to bolster our immune systems, expedite recovery, manage symptoms, and enhance overall wellbeing during times of illness.

We should reiterate that if you have particular needs and are on any specific medication talking to an expert or medical practitioner is highly recommended. It’s also important to note that we are all different with different physiology. What works for me, might not work for you, so take your advice wisely.

Nourish: “Provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”

Remember, when it comes to healing, every bite matters. Let food be thy medicine, and let nutrition support your wellbeing. Nourish yourself.

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