“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –Hippocrates
There is a difference between diet and nutrition. Diet is what we eat – the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is everything we put into our bodies. Nutrition, on the other hand, is what gets into our cells and benefits them, what actually feeds our cells.
Since nutrition is what nourishes our cells, is important to understand what constitutes good nutrition. Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Interestingly, a 2007 publication from Tufts University titled “Eating to Beat Cancer” supports Hippocrates concept of letting food be our medicine.
The Synergistic Power of Whole Food Nutrition
Synergy, noun: the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.
Up until recently, scientific researchers have tended to look for things in isolation that promote health – searching for the “one thing” or the “magic bullet” that will solve every ill. It has become apparent that there is no such “one thing”. In fact, the interactions between whole food and its nutrients and the cells, tissue, organs and systems that make up a human body work together synergistically, each part interdependent on the others.
The Tufts publication is one of many scientific publications that stress the importance of whole food nutrient groups in health protection and disease prevention. They not only tell us what foods we should eat (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish), but specifically what nutrients they provide and how they work to “beat cancer.” Some of these nutrients are carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, and cruciferous compounds.
The benefits of incorporating the whole range of nutrients into our diets every day rather than just occasionally are enormous – synergistic. Our bodies are programmed to require and utilize many hundreds of nutrients present in the natural human food chain. These nutrients must come from whole food sources in order to benefit these needs.
These leading global health authorities agree that the strategy for the prevention of chronic disease and promoting health is: weight management, physical activity, and eating a diet rich in the whole food nutrients found in whole grains, fruits & vegetables and fish. The nutrients contained in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish are so strongly connected to preserving health that fixing our diets can improve our health and vitality significantly.