Cortisol appears to have an influence on the way the body maintains weight, produces insulin and what types of foods … More
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If our foods were the same as those of our predecessors, we would probably not need any supplements of vitamins and minerals. Our ancestors lived full healthy lives when vitamins were unknown, and minerals were earth materials not something one ate.
Unfortunately, our foods are not at all the same as theirs. Exhausted soils, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, refrigeration, storage, cooking, lifestyle, the inevitable pollution of our environment by toxic wastes, the deliberate pollution of our bodies by tobacco smoke and excessive alcohol, all negatively affect the vitamin and mineral content of our foods and of our bodies. More
RDAs are the recommended daily amounts of micronutrients to avert nutrient deficiencies. In other words, and to remain with the same micronutrient as in the above example, enough vitamin C to avoid scurvy.
But is this the only thing that vitamin C does? All nutritionists and many other health professionals will tell you that vitamin C performs a large number of functions, the most important of which may be its antioxidant action. That is to say, its activity against free radicals which are the principal causes of heart disease, arthritis, premature aging, cancer and most other chronic degenerative diseases. But for this purpose, the RDA for vitamin C is woefully inadequate. More
The main dietary problems of people with disturbed metabolic functions is the digestion of carbohydrates, and the digestion of all … More
Nutrition as religion.
No one doubts nowadays that food is the key to sound health. The media have steadily familiarized us to the concept with catchy slogans like, “You are what you eat,” and even though it would be more apt to say, “You are what your ancestors ate.” What our bodies recognize as foods and what as invaders depends largely on our genetic code, and this was developed to a very large extent from what our ancestors ate.
But food and health are inextricably tied together, as more and more epidemiological studies show the importance of sound food for the maintenance of health. More and more consumers demand and turn to food supplements to replace what has been lost. And the sophisticated among them look for organically grown foods to improve the state of their health.
“Nutrition is becoming religion to people,” write experts from The Nutrition Information Center of The New York Hospital-Weill Medical College of Cornel University. “Everyone wants to live a longer, better and more healthy life” they emphasize. But wasn’t that always so? Didn’t our fathers and forefathers want to live longer, better and healthier lives? If so, what is the difference?
Cliches and staples
During the last few years the Mediterranean diet (Meddiet from now on) has ceased to be the regional food pattern of a specific region. It became an international affair, attaining first chic, then the status of a regular fad, the distinction of a pyramid, for some people a passing fancy, and finally the object of scientific studies, large international congresses, and clinical intervention trials. Somewhere along the way, a few things were forgotten.
The traditional Meddiet goes back to antiquity and has been often described as the food culture centered around the plant triad, wheat, vine and olive, or the principal foodstuffs produced from them, that is, wheat products, wine and olive oil. This has become a cliché nowadays, that you are bound to read in any serious discussion of the Meddiet. But few persons realize that this was first done to distinguish it from another triad of foodstuffs, namely barley, beer and seed oils, which were the contemporary staples of the Near East More
Some sixty-six years ago, an article with the above title (but not subtitle) appeared in the first quarterly of the Wine and Food Society, founded on the 20th of October 1933 in London, England. It was written by Professor Henry E Armstrong FRS, and its eminent sense is even more appropriate today than it was when the piece was written.
“We are in the throes, some of us believe, of a great social revolution,” wrote Professor Armstrong. “An era is upon us when food must have full scientific and ethical consideration and the social economics of supply must be the common care,” he wrote with emphasis in the original. The good professor went even further. “Food, in fact, in the near future, should not merely be something eaten but the care of statesmen.” More
Nutritionists, many physicians, and absolutely all first class professional cooks agree that quality in vegetables is as much of primary importance for health, as for the preparation of foods worthy to be dignified by their inclusion in a “cuisine.” Yuan Mei, the Chinese poet-gourmet writes in his essay on cooking, that half the art of cooking is in buying fresh food, a statement with which no knowledgeable person will quarrel. A predecessor of mine and learned writer on food matters, Professor HM Armstrong FRS, whom I had occasion to quote in another article in this series, went several steps ahead of us all, one October day of 1933.
Addressing the Pharmaceutical Society of England at the opening session, he foretold them that, “once we are sufficiently provided with vegetable food of calculated quality, we shall be so healthy that nasty medicine will no longer be in demand.” He warned pharmacists that their occupation as pill-rollers would be in jeopardy, and therefore urged them to become greengrocers, dispensing not only the very best of vegetables, but also to act as skilled directors in their production, safeguarding their quality. I am sorry I never met Professor Armstrong. I would have liked to kiss him. But I was born too late for that. More
An incipient epidemic
One of the most intriguing questions that face today’s health professionals is the rampant rise of food allergies during the last fifteen years or more. People were allergic to foods before, but recently the numbers of sufferers have increased to the point of an incipient epidemic. Some people are allergic to so many foods, that finding something to eat is becoming a serious problem, never mind having a balanced diet. But before we go any further, it is important to clear up some confusion that exists around food allergies More
The importance of fiber
As we all know, the discovery of the benefits of fiber is relatively recent. It all started with relevant observations of physicians and other health professionals in Africa. Many of our modern diseases associated with the digestive system, were generally absent in African populations, and even though by European standards African food left a lot to be desired, being both relatively monotonous and somewhat rough for European stomachs.
The health professionals involved were intrigued by this difference in disease patterns. Further observations showed that Africans digested their meals better than the European population. Soon the observant doctors came to the conclusion that the difference was in the amount of fiber the Africans ate with their foods, that “roughage” which appeared so crude by European standards. Increasing the fiber in their own diets showed that their hunch was right. Further tests left no doubt about the importance of fiber in the diet. More