“Put your drugs in chemist’s pot”, as said by Hippocrates. Why use medicines if you can cure yourself with good food and a healthy lifestyle?
In history, we could see several examples where people used food to treat diseases knowing its significance. As a medicine, people were advised to eat vegetables, fruits, meat, herbs, or healthy fats like coconut and seeds. For example, when the Tudor boy king Edward VI was dying of tuberculosis, they gave him spearmint syrup, red fennel, liverwort, turnip, dates, raisins, mace, and celery mixed with raw meat from a 9-day old female piglet, in order to speed the healing process.
Today’s competitive world has made difficult for people to make time for themselves, and more often they tend to forget “health is wealth”. Nutrient deficiencies and toxicity from a poor diet lead to various diseases and modern health conditions. Proper body metabolism is key to good health, and the food you eat plays a vital role in regulating cardiovascular health, which includes blood pressure and cholesterol levels, balancing hormone levels, helping the digestive organs to process and eliminate waste and also controlling inflammation levels. Inflammation is the main root of most diseases and a major contributor to the effects of aging.
Furthermore, poor dietary intake increases the risk of obesity, and almost about 13% of world’s population is obese. Obesity is associated with several liver abnormalities, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD has become of important concern because of its growing prevalence worldwide (approximately 25%) and its association with cardio-metabolic abnormalities. To date, dietary interventions remain the first-line therapy for NAFLD.
Food is not only a tool to keep you healthy, but also it is an identity which helps you connect with people, memories, and much more. Good food is what you need at the end of the day; that is why it should always come first (food, shelter, clothing). “I would say if you do not eat food as medicine, you will eat medicine as food”.
A simple but a powerful statement: eat well and stay healthy.
Harshitha Shanmugam is working at the University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro (Policlinico di Bari)’, under the supervision of Prof. Piero Portincasa.
Her project focuses on studying the adherence to Mediterranean diet of fatty liver patients and understanding the determinants of cardiovascular health based on several food items from Southern Italy. She is furthermore enrolled as a PhD student in Food and Soil Sciences at ‘Politecnico di Bari’.