Scientists are discovering what traditional healers have known for a long time we are what we eat. Or more specifically, our health is greatly affected by the foods we eat. Maintaining a healthy diet throughout our lives is the best health insurance we can have.

While the so-called experts may bicker over the details, health professionals across the board agree that a plant-based diet full of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and nuts with some whole grains lays a healthy foundation. This does not make the hospitals and drug companies a lot of money, so it is rarely advertised. But it is the truth whole healthy foods are the best medicine.

If you have already been diagnosed with a disease, it is not too late to support your health with nourishing foods. Whether you choose to use pharmaceutical intervention or only go the natural route, a healthy diet can support you in the healing process. Here are a few diseases that can be effectively lessened or overcome by healthy eating choices.

1. Obesity

Obesity has the most obvious link to diet of all diseases. But it would be too simplistic to say the answer is to just eat fewer calories. To combat or completely break free of obesity, we need to eat the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. A diet that consists of nourishing meals with one third of the calories from lean protein, one third from complex carbohydrates, and one third from nourishing fats is the best strategy for healthy weight loss.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

A 2011 Norwegian study discovered that the balance of the food we eat affects our genes. If the percentage of carbohydrates is much higher than proteins and fats, the genes connected to certain diseases are activated. This includes the genes responsible for the development of type 2 diabetes.

In addition, diabetes is very sensitive to blood glucose levels. Maintaining a low-glycemic diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats and no sugars or other refined carbohydrates is crucial for managing this disease in a healthy way.

3. Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is partially caused and worsened by inflammation and high levels of LDL cholesterol. Processed food products and oils high in omega-6 fatty acids (peanut, sunflower, sesame, soy, and canola) contribute to inflammation.

A diet high in omega-3s, fibrous leafy green vegetables, whole fruits, and legumes can lower inflammation and inspire a healthy LDL to HDL cholesterol balance.

4. Alzheimers

Inflammation greatly affects brain health, as do blood sugar and insulin levels. The brain is protected and nourished by eating vibrantly colored vegetables and fruit, which are high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants protect brain cells from being damaged by toxins.

Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables seem to provide the most support to people in the early stages of dementia and Alzheimers.

5. Crohns Disease

The intestines are also very susceptible to damage from excess inflammation. Opt for steamed or raw greens, soaked nuts, vegetables soups, and whole grains that have been soaked for two days before cooking to remove the phytic acid and prevent further damage to the digestive tract. Avoid fried, processed, or refined foods.

6. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a precursor to many other diseases. While stress levels are affected by many factors including lifestyle, work, and relationship challenges, diet can play a huge role in how the body responds to stress.

Once again, an anti-inflammatory diet is the best food strategy for stress. Processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, and inflammatory fats increase the bodys production of cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones. Focus on eating plenty of healthy fats and raw or steamed veggies, and lay off the sugar and other stimulants. Also be wary of eating out of habit, when you are rushed or for emotional comfort when you feel stressed. These eating behaviors just raise stress levels.

7. Arthritis

If youve ever noticed how much more your joints ache after a big brunch or holiday party, you will have felt the effects of dietary choices on arthritis. Choose foods that reduce inflammation levels and are high in anti-oxidants, including ginger, turmeric, leafy greens, and chia seeds.

Animal-based foods tend to increase arthritis pain, while people on vegetarian and vegan diets tend to have improved morning stiffness and grip strength.

Health is a complex field, and no one lifestyle choice can scientifically be proven as the magic key for healing a disease. Communicate with your heath care professional before making any radical dietary changes if you have already been diagnosed with a disease.

But nearly everyone in any stage of life can benefit from including more vegetables and whole fruits, legumes, and healthy fats, and cutting out processed and refined toxic food products. You owe to your body to give it the best chance possible to be healthy and strong.