One of the most famous quotes about food is “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I truly can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that quote plastered onto Pinterest boards, social media accounts, and wellness “expert” blogs. Some people attribute this quote to Hippocrates; some say it was made up in the 1900s. Either way, it’s a nice sentiment, but it’s certainly not one that any sane person should live by.
To be clear: Food is not medicine. Any trained expert will tell you that. Medicine is medicine. Food is an important tool that can help you thrive. You need both things to live a truly healthy life!
So then, you might be confused about why I’m writing about foods that can help with health issues. The answer is that there are some foods that have a reputation for being able to affect your health (e.g., dairy causes acne, ginger calms your stomach, etc.). Some of these things are true, but some are based on outdated or misleading information. This post is going to help you sort food fact from food fiction so that you can incorporate healthy eating habits into the new year.
There are some foods that have a reputation for being able to affect your health. Some of these are true, but some are based on outdated or misleading information.
Fermented Foods Can Help Digestion
Yes! Absolutely true! Ferments are life!
In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about how and why fermented skin care is a great addition to your beauty routine. It turns out that adding fermented foods to your diet is great for your health, too.
There are a lot of studies that look at the purported health benefits of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, and yogurt. If you’re interested in a comprehensive overview that includes several research studies, this Healthline article does a great job of breaking down all of the potential benefits and the research behind them.
The main benefit of fermented foods is that they are able to influence your gut bacteria. The healthier your gut is, the healthier your body is overall. The right balance of bacteria in your gut can help to ease digestive issues like diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, and IBS.
Dark Chocolate Is Good For Your Heart Health
This one is true! (But only in moderation.)
We’ve all seen the memes floating around Facebook and Pinterest that joke about how plenty of red wine and dark chocolate are vital to a healthy diet. I mean, I’m not here to tell Aunt Linda how to live her life, but I don’t recommend eating a whole bar of Godiva with a bottle of red wine every night.
However, there is actually some truth to dark chocolate being good for you. It’s full of antioxidants, and it also contains important compounds called flavanols. Flavanols can help to naturally lower your blood pressure, and they may also lower your risk for heart disease.
To get the benefits of dark chocolate, it’s best to eat one to two small squares of dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao.
Dairy Products Cause Acne Breakouts
This is one of the most complicated food myths floating around the internet. It’s not totally true, but it’s also not totally false.
See, there are plenty of sound arguments to be made for both sides of the “dairy causes acne” debate. On the one side, it’s true that milk specifically can trigger acne, especially in people who are generally lactose intolerant anyway. However, there is also research that suggests that dairy products like cheese and yogurt do not directly cause or worsen acne breakouts.
From what I can tell, the issues seem to lie in two places. The first problem is that most cows are treated with some form of hormone therapy in order to increase milk production. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, some researchers believe that these added hormones can trigger a hormone imbalance in our own bodies, and this in turn leads to worsening acne breakouts.
The second issue is the proteins that exist in milk itself. Certain milk proteins such as casein and whey have been shown to be acne-causing irritants for humans. This is where the “dairy causes acne” myth seems to have originated. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, studies have not found this same kind of skin irritation from cheese and yogurt.
So, in short, it’s possible that certain types of dairy consumption can influence your acne breakouts, especially if you’re already sensitive to dairy or dealing with hormone imbalances. However, not all dairy products are equally likely to be the breakout culprits, so be sure to do your due diligence before cutting all dairy out of your life!
It’s possible that certain types of dairy consumption can influence your acne breakouts. However, not all dairy products are equally likely to be the breakout culprits.
New Year, New Foods, New You
It’s hard to dig through the heaps of misinformation and well-intentioned “advice” that you get bombarded with every time you open social media or do a Google search.
Food isn’t medicine, but eating and drinking the right things can definitely help you look and feel better! Sip a little red wine, nibble some quality dark chocolate, and add a little extra movement into your days for a happier, healthier new year.