Diet Cure: Diet in Health and Disease

Your food shall be your medicine — Hippocrates.

Diet plays a vital role in the maintenance of good health and in the prevention and cure of disease. In the words of Sir Robert McCarrison, one of the best known nutritionists, “The right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health; and the wrong kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of disease.”

The human body builds up and maintains healthy cells, tissues, glands and organs only with the help of various nutrients. The body cannot perform any of its functions, be they metabolic, hormonal, mental, physical or chemical, without specific nutrients. The food which provides these nutrients is, thus, one of the most essential factors in building and maintaining health. The other essential factor is that, these nutrients must also be appropriately utilised by the body.

Nutrition, which depends on food, is also of utmost importance in the cure of disease. The primary cause of disease is a weakened organism or lowered resistance in the body, arising from the adoption of a faulty nutritional pattern. There is an elaborate healing mechanism within the body but it can perform its function only if it is abundantly supplied with all the essential nutritional factors.

It is believed that at least 45 chemical components and elements are needed by human cells. An adequate diet must contain each of these 45 substances, called essential nutrients. Two of these nutrients are oxygen and water. The other 43 are classified into five main groups, namely, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. All 45 of these nutrients are vitally important and they work together. Therefore, the absence of any of them will result in disease and eventually in death.

Research has shown that almost all diseases can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to an under-supply of various nutrients. These deficiencies occur due to various factors, such as, the intense processing and refining of foods, the time lag between the harvesting and consumption of vegetables and fruits, the chemicals used in bleaching, flavouring, colouring and preserving foods and the chemical fertilisers, fungicides, insecticides and sprays used for treating the soil. Vitamin losses also occur due to the storage, paring and grating of vegetables, from soaking in water and from the heat of cooking.

One of the fundamental principles of nature cure is that most diseases have the same basic underlying cause, namely, the steady accumulation in the system of waste materials through years of wrong food habits. Apart from nutritional deficiencies, other factors contributing to this are a faulty nutritional pattern, constant overeating, excessive consumption of proteins and the body’s inability to properly digest them and sluggish metabolism.

As wrong food habits is the most potent cause of disease, a healthy and balanced diet alone can prevent further accumulation of toxic waste matter in the system, purify the blood and allow all bodily structures to work at a high level of efficiency.

Research shows that diseases produced by combinations of deficiencies can be corrected when all the nutrients are supplied, provided irreparable damage has not been done. A well-balanced and correct diet is thus of utmost importance for the maintenance of good health and the healing of diseases. Such a diet, obviously should be made up of foods which, in combination, would supply all the essential nutrients.

It has been found that a diet which contains liberal quantities of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits would provide adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients. These foods have, therefore, been aptly called basic food groups and a diet containing these food groups as an optimum diet for vigour and vitality. This diet has been named the Airole Diet after its exponent, Dr Paavo O. Airole, the internationally famous nutritionist and naturopathic physician.

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