Nutrition - You are what you eat!

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We've all heard this phrase, but I suspect many of us take it to be a metaphor. No, it is an absolute physiological fact that the vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids and other elements we derive from the food we eat, become our blood, skin, hair, eyes, organs, glands, brain, hormones and other signalling chemicals that keep us alive and functioning. Dwell on that for a moment... The food we eat becomes, in time, the body we love and enjoy or the body we ignore, loathe or maybe even fear.

I want to emphasise the absolute power of diet in the story of our health. Often I hear patients say that such-and-such a condition 'runs in my family'. Very few conditions are encoded within our DNA - we know this from the relatively new area of medicine - epigenetics. We might have genetic predispositions, but it is our diet and lifestyle choices that will ultimately switch on these genes or not.

Whatsmore, we know from different population groups around the globe that not all ageing populations are riddled with heat-disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes. These chronic illnesses tend to affect people in the Western 'advanced' world. 

 I want to emphasise the power of food, because food is so familiar to us and, as we know, familiarity breeds contempt. We take it for granted - it's just food. How can a bunch of humble vegetables reverse terrible chronic illnesses?

Food, and the nutrients contained within them, are powerful medicine - don't ever doubt it. But it is gentle, restorative medicine and it takes time to reverse a condition that has taken years to create. But if you have patience and some time on your side you might be amazed at the conditions a dietary programme can reverse. In fact, the only types of tissue-damage that diet doesn't seem to be able to reverse is damage to nerves.  The four big conditions that cost the taxpayers such extortionate amounts, namely, type-2 diabetes, heart-disease, cancer and arthritis are all reversible with diet. Of course, this statement is a highly contentious one and needs qualification:  the success of a dietary approach depends on how far advanced the condition is and the vitality of the individual. If the condition is very advanced and the individual is at the point of risking and acute medical event then intervention with medication or surgery is almost certainly necessary. The reality, with many chronic conditions, is that if they can be detected early enough (which they often can if you know what you're looking for) then a naturopathic approach may be entirely viable. And the rub with a naturopathic approach is that will boost the health of your whole body.  

So, take heart, whatever the state of your health, making some dietary and lifestyle changes could, in time, bear amazing fruit!