Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, set a medical precedent in considering the role of nutritients in relation to health and disease. It only took the next fifteen hundred years for the Arthritis Foundation and the United States Surgeon General to come to some of the same conclusions.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, set a medical precedent in considering the role of nutritients in relation to health and disease. It only took the next fifteen hundred years for the Arthritis Foundation and the United States Surgeon General to come to some of the same conclusions. After centuries of denial the medical establishment has finally begun to acknowledge the role dietary habits and nutrition play in creating disease.
Cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, four of Western civilization's most common diseases, do not happen overnight. They are degenerative diseases that develop over the course of many years. There are certainly other mitigating factors such as lifestyle, smoking, stress, genetic predisposition and environmental toxins that also influence the onset of disease.
Successive years of eating highly refined, overprocessed and pesticide-ridden foods can take their toll on the health of even the strongest human. Chronic, sub-optimal nutrient intake gradually erodes the body's defense system and reconstructive, healing abilities, thus opening the door to many preventable health problems.
The overconsumption of refined oils and hydrogenated (artificially hardened) fats in combination with refined sugar and a lack of exercise lead to obesity. Being more than twenty percent overweight has been linked to conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis. Essential fatty acid deficiencies, as well as low levels of chromium, selenium, magnesium and vitamin A, have also been implicated in these diseases.
When the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) were established over fifty years ago, they began to identify the minimal levels of essential nutrients required to prevent commonly recognized nutritional deficiency diseases.
The science of nutrition has come a long way since the accidental discovery that the vitamin C in citrus fruits cures and prevents scurvy. As well, the outer layer of rice (which is rich in the B vitamins) that is discarded through the refining process, alleviates and prevents beriberi, a vitamin B1 deficiency.
The power of nutrients to prevent and cure disease is being researched around the world. Nutritional researchers are identifying and studying thousands of enzymes and phytonutrients they never knew existed in food.
They have discovered that lutein, a carotene found in kale, prevents age-related macular degeneration, a disease that can cause permanent blindness. Clinical studies have linked the intake of a nutrient extracted from soy beans, called phosphatidylserine, with the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The trace mineral chromium, a nutrient found in nutritional yeast, has been proven beneficial in treating diabetes and hypoglycemia.
Nutrients are the natural chemicals found in foods, and are utilized by the body to maintain health and combat illness. If a deficiency of nutrients contributes to the causes of disease, then it stands to reason that an optimal level of nutrients contributes to wellness.
Effects of Health-Promoting Vegetable Components
|Vegetable Component||Effect||Food Sources|
|Induces protective enzymes||Garlic|
|Induces protective enzymes |
|S-Methyl methionine||Antiulcer factor||Cabbage-white|
|Isothiocyanates||Induces protective enzymes |
|von Koeber, K., al. Vollwert-Ern?ung. Heidelberg, Germany, Karl F. Haung Verlag GmbH and Co., 1994, 79.|