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Food is Medicine

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates

How important is nutrition? Should that even be a question! Nutrition is a fundamental element of a healthy life. Along with a good mind, good physical condition and good environment, nutrition is a foundation for success. The expression exist for a reason, you are what you eat. No arguments on that. Nutrition is an area of study that’s been around since ancient times all over the world.  One of the most famous referenced supporters of nutrition for health is Hippocrates.  Hippocrates is often referred to as the father of medicine in western culture. What is that oath that many physicians are required to take?  It’s called the Hippocratic Oath. Whether Hippocrates wrote it or his student wrote or someone else wrote it, the fundamental principles are solid. Nutrition was and still is an essential element of health maintenance and treatment.  Hippocrates said is best, “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.

It’s not just nutrition in general but human nutrition that is the focus of this article.  Please remember that nutrition can be categorized into human, animal, plant and environmental nutritional studies.  Human nutrition is defined as the nutrient supply to the body in order to support life and maintain health. Proper nutrition is essential to overall quality of life throughout the planet.  We ingest food, it is absorbed into the body, it supplies cells with nutrients, nutrients are synthesized into complex products, broken down into energy or used in other metabolic reactions and finally flushed out and disposed of via excretion. Nutrition is not just what you eat but also how you eat. Processing, preparation and storage of food also play a fundamental role in proper nutrition. There are infinite varieties of nutrition. The important concept is the essential importance of putting the best resources available into our bodies in order to promote healthy living.

The opposite of good nutrition is malnutrition and the effects associated. Malnutrition may refer to an inadequate, disproportionate or imbalanced consumption of nutrients. While a total lack of food as in starvation is quite the epidemic in the world, it is important to understand that more importantly the bigger challenge is insufficient nutrition due to lack of nutrients required for growth, repair and maintenance. It is horrible that starvation exist in the world. It is also very scary that there is also an epidemic related to poor nutrient consumption where foods and beverages are readily available. Illnesses related to malnutrition may include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Internal Bleeding / Hemorrhages
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Hypernatremia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Iodine Toxicity
  • Birth Defects
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increased Urination
  • Weakness

Research is now better understanding the impact of good nutrition on mental dexterity. Nutritional health is shown to have a positive impact and link with educational success. In the above mentioned potential illnesses related to malnutrition, cancer is listed. It is worth a look into the detail of how nutrition can impact cancer. This may include cancers of the liver, stomach, esophagus, colon, rectum, breast and prostate as related to diet and factors such as lack of exercise, obesity and age. There is a proven connection between healthy lifestyle to include good nutrition and cancer prevention. Good nutrition and malnutrition are global challenges that must be prioritized in order to promote a healthy life.

Consider the following teaching, “Close to Nature, Far from Disease; Far from Nature, Close to Disease”.

The resources related to nutrition are many. There is no shortage of information for those interested in gaining knowledge. There is also no shortage of opinions related to what is the best approach to proper nutrition. Many groups and individuals promote specific diets and nutrition guidelines for health. It can be very confusing. We are all individually unique. What works for one person, is not the best approach for the next person. Our message is to promote the ideal that food is medicine for the body. That is a great 1st step on the journey to nutritional health. You truly are what you eat. A great second step is the concept of eating food in its most natural state or as lease processed as possible. Consider the following teaching, “Close to Nature, Far from Disease; Far from Nature, Close to Disease”. If you can eat with the understanding that food is medicine and food in it most natural state is best, then the possibilities of a healthy life will open up.

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