Why the Plants We Eat Need to Have Overcome Invaders

The ancient healing power of Secondary Plant Metabolites.

Photo by Tiard Schulz on Unsplash

Plants In the Modern Human Diet

I am not about to decry any “diet”. In my thirty-plus years as a Functional MD it has been my experience that there is no one optimal diet for all humans, nor is there one diet that will benefit a human throughout their entire life. I may prescribe the carnivore diet for a period in those with severe auto-immune disease. I may modulate the quantities of carbohydrates and fat in those wanting peak performance. Aside from nutrition, however, I prescribe plants for medicine.

Human Evolution Alongside Plants

It has been suggested that early humans were “hyper-carnivores”. However, our early ancestors likely used plants as medicine.

Vitamins and Minerals

Traditional diets consisting only of meat and fish have been shown to contain adequate levels of Vitamin C. Meat is a good source of all other vitamins and minerals, except Magnesium and possibly Calcium. During winter and periods of low plant produce, it is likely that early humans obtained their Magnesium and Calcium from water.

Secondary Plant Metabolites

Secondary plant metabolites are chemicals that plants can survive without, yet produce in varying quantities. From an energy viewpoint, it seems inefficient to produce compounds not needed for survival. So why do plants do this? To make them fitter and stronger, just like when we expend energy exercising when our immediate survival does not depend on this.

Stressors Initiating Primary and Secondary Metabolites. Diagram by Tasiu Isah licensed through Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Diagram by the author. A link to a pdf can be found here.

Growing the Most Plants

We thought this was progress, but we have decreased the very compounds in plants that provide us with health.

It is almost impossible to avoid messages about healthy eating. Big food has joined the narrative, seemingly now converted to caring about the environment. Processed food companies need large amounts of raw material. For food growers, this means the maximum amount of yield that can be forced repetitively from the earth. We as consumers demand perfectly shaped and colored produce.

Photo by Cornelia Schütz on Unsplash

Ancient Plant Medicines as Food

We can make a difference by thinking about our health and by not giving our money to the billionaires. When we think about our health, we automatically align with the health of the Earth.

Practicing Functional MD developing a diagnostic and treatment online platform, incorporating wearables and AI. Always questioning.

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