Treating Common Ailments with Plant-Based Foods

April 15, 2019

For those of us that have adverse reactions to medications, turning to natural remedies can be a great way to manage and heal ailments. Your most basic plant-based foods are chock full of medicinal properties, from anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents to protective antioxidants.

With that said, it’s recommended that you speak with a medical professional before embarking on a natural remedy course of action!

Cold or Influenza

Goji Berry and Ginger Smoothie/One Green Planet

Spring has sprung, yet this is the time that many of us find ourselves confined indoors, not due to bad weather, but due to a “change of season” cold. Plant-based foods are incredibly effective at boosting the body’s ability to ward off and fight sickness. How can plant-based foods protect you from the various colds and influenzas?

Plant-based foods are chock full of vitamins — such as “beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and vitamins C and E” — as well as minerals — such as “iron, zinc, selenium, and sulfur.” These foods are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from harmful agents, as well as rich in fiber, which promotes healing anti-inflammatory properties in the body. To prevent or treat a cold or influenza try integrating carrots, pineapples, ginger, garlic, nutritional yeast, mushrooms, wild bilberries, goji berries, cabbage, broccoli sprouts, and rutabaga.

Headache

Matcha Peppermint Chocolate/One Green Planet

Headaches are one of the most debilitating ailments. Once that pain begins, it’s difficult to function at any level. Did you know that there are actually different levels and names for headaches?

Primary headaches include cluster, migraine (with or without auras), tension, and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC) headaches. These types stem from “chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck (or some combination of these factors) can play a role in primary headaches.” On top of that, your genes may also make you more “likely to develop such headaches.”With that said, there are far more types of headaches. While some headaches may be considered primary — such as chronic daily headaches, cough headaches, sex headaches, and exercise headaches —they could by telling of a more serious ailment. On top of that, there are secondary headaches that include a long list of instigators that “activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head.”

Try some of these headache aiding, plant-based foodsapple, kale, ginger, celery, peppermint, asparagus, pumpkin, and squash — as well as russet potatoes (for the potassium), cucumber (for the water), cherries (for nitric oxide), and hot peppers (for that airway opening spice!).

Ulcer

White Bean and Kale Soup/One Green Planet

Ulcers can be very dangerous ailments affecting your stomach. Peptic ulcer is the umbrella term referring to “open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine.” That can be broken down into gastric ulcers — which “occur on the inside of the stomach” — and duodenal ulcers — which “occur on the inside of the upper portion of your small intestine” or duodenum.

While ulcers have various causes, in the early stages, the symptoms present very similarly such as burning stomach pain, bloating, belching, or feeling full, heartburn, nausea, and if you find you can’t tolerate fatty foods. If left untreated, symptoms progress to vomiting (or vomiting blood), faintness and trouble breathing, appetite changes, unexplained weight loss, and dark tarry stools (or blood in your stool).

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