We have known for thousands of years that the food we eat can affect our health. Hippocrates, who is considered by many to be the father of modern medicine, is famously credited as saying ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
Many years later, Thomas Edison stated that ‘The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease’, which of course is what we are all about here at WISE!
I must stress that we still very much believe in the benefits of medication, so if your doctor or other qualified health care practitioner recommends it then please do follow their advice. But food really can harm or heal us, depending upon the choices that we make.
There is good evidence that an unhealthy diet is a big contributor to heart disease, diabetes, many forms of cancer, bowel problems and many other conditions besides, and that following a healthy diet can help to prevent these conditions, to slow down their progress if you already have them, and sometimes even reverse them.
Equally, if you or someone you love has these conditions, this isn’t the time to start feeling guilty. There are many factors that contribute to these things, and diet is only one.
But there’s so much information and misinformation out there. Everyone is an apparent expert, and it’s particularly difficult to know who to believe when it’s very clear from the medical literature and social media that even the people who really are experts in nutrition continue to disagree!
So what should you eat? Well, there are some things that all the experts agree on, and thankfully they are generally fairly easy to follow. And the good news – generally speaking, what works for heart disease also works for diabetes, which also works for bowel problems, and so on.
It seems that most of the time, a generally healthy diet helps to improve our health regardless of the exact problem we are trying to deal with. There is a lot more to it than that, which is why the experts continue to have heated debates and millions gets spent on research in this general area.
If you have received specific advice from a dietitian about your own diet relating to your own condition then please do follow it, but here are some simple ideas:
There are so many more things to write about on this subject, but anyone who just follows these top five tips will already be doing themselves a massive favour in terms of keeping themselves healthy. It’s not about depriving yourself, it’s about finding healthy food you love and obviously having the occasional treat too.
It’s what you do on average that matters. The odd cheat meal here and there won’t make a massive difference in the long term.
Author: Sue Kenneally