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Natural Awakenings Richmond

UNLEASH the Power of Food

Feb 27, 2019 01:13PM ● By Julie Barbaro

Lifestyle choices impact our mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being, and shape us into the unique individuals we are. Food is perhaps the most powerful factor. Hippocrates observed the transformative power of food centuries ago when he stated, “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” That rings true today perhaps more than ever, as we can see how food has both healing and toxic properties that directly impact our health.

        Creating a resilient body and mind, building a healthy immune system and maintaining a healthy relationship with food is possible, but the question is where to begin. Many factors influence our eating behavior, and a good place to start is by exploring which nutrients support good health, boost mood and encourage a healthy immune system. 

        Whole foods, primarily plant-based, contain the nutrients our bodies need to transform us mentally and physically. Certain nutrients can combat inflammation and have healing properties, such as leafy greens, wild-caught salmon, blueberries, tomatoes, nuts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, ginger and turmeric. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir can also have positive effects on gut health. Strive to include these foods in your weekly diet.

        Although certainly not the only contributing factor to poor health, inflammation plays a major role, and gastrointestinal health is a key consideration—our gut is a metabolically active organ that directly impacts immune and endocrine function. Maintaining a symbiotic relationship within our body and supporting gut health requires certain vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, folate and Vitamin D.

        Social factors can also affect eating behavior. Sharing a well-prepared meal can be a rewarding and pleasurable experience, and transform ones relationship with food. The social context of mealtime activities, including preparation and consumption, impact both the quality and quantity of our food choices.

        Mindfulness is another important tool to break down destructive eating habits. By paying attention, with purpose and without judgment, to our eating patterns, we can address our emotional eating habits and transform our relationship with food.

Julie Barbaro is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified health coach in Richmond specializing in functional nutrition and wellness, weight management and digestive disorders as part of the holistic healing team at Zoe Therapy Services. For more information, visit