Diets have a certain connotation in the United States. Because more than one in three adults is considered to be obese in this country, the word is more commonly associated with weight loss. In actuality, it stems from the Greek diaita which means “a way of life.” When you think about the fact that what we eat directly impacts how we feel, and therefore how we live, this definition makes a lot more sense.

Many people suffer from certain conditions that can be greatly improved, eliminated, or prevented entirely due to the consumption of certain foods and the avoidance of others. Let’s take a look at two illnesses that affect a large majority of the population: ovarian cysts and prostate cancer.

Ovarian Cysts

It is believed that all women will experience at least one ovarian cyst in their lifetime. Most women go undiagnosed due to the fact that not all cause symptoms; in fact, functional cysts often go away without treatment within six to eight weeks. There is an unlucky bunch, however, that experience discomfort and pain when they form. Some women even go on to develop polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which causes additional issues (such as irregular periods or amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation) as a result of multiple cysts on the ovaries.

Your diet can improve symptoms if you fall into this category. Focus on healthy options:

  • High-fiber foods, including broccoli, greens, almonds, berries, and squash
  • Lean proteins, including fish, tofu, and chicken
  • Anti-inflammatory foods and spices, including tomatoes, turmeric, kale, olive oil, and almonds
  • Foods rich in magnesium, like almonds

Do your best to avoid refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods, like white bread, white potatoes, anything made with white flours, pastries, desserts, muffins, and other sugary foods.

Prostate Cancer

It’s estimated that about one man in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. If you’ve already been diagnosed, you should turn to your doctor for advice on dietary recommendations. Otherwise, there are a number of foods that support good prostate health and can go a long way in preventing prostate cancer from developing.

At the top of the list is fish. Cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout have been found to contain “good fats” that help prevent inflammation in the body. Scientists have begun to see prostate inflammation as a dangerous condition that can make it easier for cancer to develop. The Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish (as well as seeds, nuts, and olive oil) is key for prostate health. Add a solid amount of berries, tomatoes, broccoli, and green tea into your diet, and you can keep your prostate in great shape.

Over a quarter (76%) of American organic consumers say they purchase organic foods for the health benefits. Food doesn’t always act as a cure for these conditions, but you’d be surprised by how much better you’ll feel after such a simple change. In the words of Socrates, “Let food be thy medicine.”