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Healing foods

Letting food be your medicine

Years ago when I was a ski bum in Banff, I came down with a sore throat. My adenoids were swollen, it hurt to swallow, and if I didn't whisper it felt like my vocal chords were sawing through my windpipe. It was nasty.

Luckily I had a new age roommate who spent her spare time reading books on herbal remedies, although I didn't think I was lucky at the time.

She force-fed me three huge cloves of garlic before I went to bed that night, and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. She had a 'shut-up and do what I say' bedside manner that could have put my mother to shame.

Thinking I was probably going to die anyway, I choked the cloves down. Each one burned in my mouth and in my throat, and by the time I got the third one in me, my eyes were tearing over.

Glad I was single, I brushed my teeth and went to bed, unable to get the taste of it out of my mouth.

Then the most amazing thing happened. In the morning, the swelling in my throat had gone down and it wasn't quite as sore as it used to be. I could talk normally.

The next day, and three more cloves of garlic later, I was cured.

Since that day, my friend has fed me cantaloupes for vitamin C, zinc tablets, Echinacea, black tea, radishes, and dandelion soup. When I'm sick, I no longer question her natural remedies because they always seem to work wonders. And hey, there's nothing on that clove of garlic that says I can't go and operate heavy machinery.

These days people are looking for herbal cures to treat their ailments, and in a lot of cases doctors will actually prescribe some tried and tested herbal remedies.

While people are accustomed to trusting in science before nature, there's no denying that foods and herbs are an effective way to ward off, treat, and cure various ailments.

At the same time, the science is finally starting to catch up to the cures, confirming many of the things that healers have known for thousands of years by analyzing the content of various foods and herbs, and studying their use in the general population.

Using health records from different countries and cultures, and studying the diets of the people there, gives more credence to the idea of foods as preventative medicines and cures. Some populations have far lower cancer rates, and some live longer than others. Some populations have lower risk of heart diseases. Some have healthier organs. Some have better resistance to eye disease, and aging diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis and rheumatism.

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