Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine," once famously said that "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." Of course, in his time, there were no pharmaceutical drugs available, and those that were ill had no other recourse than to rely on food. But as time when on, the prescience of Hippocrates's pronouncement became evident. You are indeed what you eat. Hippocrates could not have envisioned the existence of nutraceuticals, a term only recently coined which is defined as those nutrients in food that not only prevent nutritional deficiencies but also have the ability to impart drug-like actions in the body when used in certain amounts. In many cases, these nutrients act by altering the activity of genes. Turning off or on genes can affect the course of many diseases, even the aging process itself. This ability of an outside influence, such as food and nutrients, to affect genes is called epigenetics. Once again, the notion that things outside the body could influence gene activity was unheard of until recently. In the past, it was always assumed that genes were your destiny, and in a way, they still are. But the important thing is that we now know that there are ways to alter the course of this destiny, and one way is by the way that you eat.
Ongoing research has revealed the presence of natural elements in food that are so potent in their effects on health, that there is no drug equivalent of their actions. One example of this is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is found naturally in vegetables, mainly cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and others. Sulforaphane itself isn't found in these foods, but rather a precursor substance called glucoraphanin. But when a vegetable containing glucoraphanin is either cut or chewed, it activates an enzyme in the vegetable called myrosinase that converts glucoraphanin into active sulforaphane. Sulforaphane, in turn, works to prevent diseases such as various types of cancer and heart disease through at least two known mechanisms. The first involves activating a detoxifying enzyme system in the liver that prevents ingested carcinogens from being activated and renders them harmless. The second mechanism involves activating a master antioxidant switch in the body that turns out several built-in antioxidant enzymes. All of these enzymes are far more powerful and longer-lasting than any antioxidant supplement that you can buy.
Scientists recently found another substance in a different vegetable, spinach, that has the potential to work as well or better than any of the current drugs prescribed to treat obesity. And unlike these drugs, it comes from zero side effects. The current anti-obesity or "fat-loss" drugs come in two varieties and work through two mechanisms. One important thing to note is that neither of these mechanisms directly burn . . .