The importance of eating the right food

The idea that food does not nourish only the body but also the mind – and therefore that the quality and the quantity of the food we eat are extremely important for our well being – is not at all new.

In the East, thousands of years ago Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine were considering the food “healing” for the body, as well as “destructive” if each different type of individual was not eating the right food.

Hippocrates (around 4th century B.C.), in his Corpus Hippocraticum wrote a book entitled About Regimen, by so showing great attention to nutrition in his therapy.

To this purpose, it is both interesting and curious mentioning a passage from the Treatise of Porphyirius (who lived between the 3rd and 4th century A.D.) entitled Abstinence from animals, where the Greek philosopher is very modern in stating that “Meat does not contribute to good health but, on the contrary, it is an obstacle to it. As a matter of fact health can be preserved through those means by which it receives strength: and it receives strength from a very light regimen and without meat […].” He believed that a regimen that consisted especially in eating fruit and vegetables was not only healthier for the body, but it was surely good for the soul.

Moreover, Ludwig Feuerbach’s “more recent” statement in a very famous work of 1862 “Man is what he eats” has become very popular.

Naturopathy considers a proper regimen of utmost importance, not only for prevention of diseases, but also for re-establishing a balance after dis-eases caused by a bad eating habit, and which can manifest themselves not only in the gastro-intestinal tract but also, for instance, by allergies, rheumatisms, problems to the respiratory system, endocrine system, etc.

Prevention occurs primarily by eating foods that contain all the necessary nutrients to keep the immune system strong. But these foods have to be possibly of a “natural” origin, that is they should contain very little – if any – traces of pesticides used in agriculture, in order not to add toxins that are already present in the body and which come from the environment in which we live and from those products that we use daily for cleaning or make up. That’s why it is preferable to choose “organic” foods.

To keep a strong immune system means not only fighting against bacteria and viruses which try to attack our organism, but also resisting against and better expelling those toxins that it accumulates. This is possible by the daily intake of substances that are naturally found in some foods, like for instance Omega 3, that are essential fatty acids found in our organism. They are contained in greater quantity in flaxseed oil and in some kind of fish, in nuts and in seeds in general.

Food is important because it brings nutrients to our organism, which will change into energy needed by our body, just like a car needs petrol to run. However, one should not exaggerate in its quantity, otherwise the car risks to “stop”, and one should take care, as said before, to the quality of the “petrol”. For instance, as Porphyrius was already stating in the 3rd century A.D., a good rule should also be the one of not exaggerating in eating meat (especially red meat), giving preference to fruit and vegetables – especially organic (at Porphyrius’ times there were no environmental problems like the ones we have now!). Let’s always remember that the food we eat is elaborated by our body and changed not only into nutrients but also into toxins which, by circulating in our blood, contaminate also our brain, therefore affecting also our emotional states, therefore producing more toxins that our immune system will have to fight against. This process is quite elaborated, but it makes us understand why “Man is what he eats”.

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