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Food is essential as nutrition and  medicine

Fatema Miah:

Food is essential fundemental aspect for survival and the same food is the medicine for body to maintain healthy immune system.  Food necessity, from 2014 to 2016 (from the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organisation) indicate that around 795 million people (around 1 in 9 of the world’s 7.3 billion people) are chronically undernourished without access to adequate amounts of food for basic good health. 98% of these people live in the developing world. For these people, food is scarce and poverty and associated ill health remains a significant global public health issue. Where Poverty and under nutrition still exists there also some people take food  affordability  for granted.
Food is an array of nutrients to support the function and to grow, heal, repair and live. Food is comprised of macronutrients – Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates which contribute energy (kilojoules/, vitamins and minerals and other compounds (such as phytonutrients), that are crucial in keeping us functioning.  In researches; There are  isolating different components of food and  different  functioning.  When Food is medicine also same can be harmful  components.  When Iron is essential for making the haemoglobin that carries oxygen in our red blood cells and myoglobin that carries oxygen into our muscles. The same iron if we consume iron in the isolated form, it is very difficult for the body to absorb it. Food group and the dietary rough estimation knowledge is essential.
Understanding in food to health effect have been a changing matter.  In recent years, nutrition scientists have drawn attention not just to individual foods though to the importance of our overall dietary pattern types of food and their effects. What’s known as healthy dietary pattern is the Mediterranean diet is not the diet current Mediterranean people eat, it what was eaten before 1950s. The traditional Mediterranean diet was characterised by high consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole-grain cereals, moderate consumption of fish and dairy foods (mainly yoghurt and cheese), the use of olive oil as the main source of fat and very low intake of red meat (eaten rarely). Additionally, intake of alcohol was restricted to red wine which was drunk in small amounts and only during meals (though zero amount by Muslims that’s even better). Diet has a key role to play in the management of a variety of conditions and illnesses.
The concept of food as medicine has been around for millennia, traditionally food and medicine were strongly interwoven. Many special foods were known and treasured due to their use in treating or preventing disease and the knowledge of these special foods was carefully passed down the generations. Cultural practices relating to food as medicine across the globe are steeped in history, complex belief and value systems. The modern era of evidence based practice and the globalised world we live and  operate within, presents an interesting time as researchers began to investigate and research some of these long held beliefs and practices in an attempt to gather evidence and strengthen our understanding of the role of food as medicine. The findings often changes the information of nutritional needs.
“In ancient Greece and Rome, nearly 2,000 years ago, it was believed that optimal body function relied on a balance between four main fluids or humors. These fluids were thought to have independent properties but were also closely linked to each other and overall body function. The four humoral fluids were: blood, yellow bile (choler), black bile and phlegm – each had a different role and they all needed to remain in balance in the body- too much or too little of one humor would result in illness.”
People believed in eating different food not only when they were ill but also when they were “weak of character” for example if they were particularly depressed or angry because mood  and disposition was also  thought to be affected by humoral balance. These practices were highly individualised, and generally limited to people of affluence. This Graeco-Roman way of thinking about health, as modified by Arab doctors, was imported into Europe in the Middle Ages.
Asian spices like black pepper, ginger and cinnamon were very popular in Medieval Europe because while improving food taste, their ‘hot and dry’ properties were also thought to help rebalance the ‘cold and wet’ European diet and give better health. Across history, many fruits and vegetables and other plant foods have been used, recommended and/or avoided for their supposed medicinal properties. As one example, when the Tudor boy king Edward VI was dying of tuberculosis, he was given: spearmint syrup, red fennel, liverwort, turnip, dates, raisins, mace, and celery mixed with raw meat from a 9-day old female piglet. (The old piglet is not advised though) The vegetables and spice/herbs are certainly essential ingredients in building and protecting metabolism.
There are Asian the far east tradition of food as the medicine and the comfort food too. It goes on and on.  At the time of renaissance, the food as medicine and food and health tradition of many continent broke down.  They came up with new perception. Then the modern era,  medical science advancement began with research with fresh findings. Now there is dietary guideline.  There are different opinion of findings and the advice varies.  Overall, the moderate consumption is the best solution for best health. The appropriate cooking/consuming method is must. Yes, the food is medicine per essential nutrition in balanced amount to guide line portion; too much or too little pose threat to health condition. Fatema Miah, Solihull, uk. fatemamiah@mail.com