The past two centuries have seen enormous achievements in control of infectious diseases, previously the leading cause of death, in large measure due to sanitation and food safety, vaccines, antibiotics and improved nutrition. This has led people to put their faith in the notion that medical science would succeed in overcoming the remaining obstacles. Vaccination has eradicated smallpox, nearly eradicated poliomyelitis and greatly reduced many other highly dangerous infections such as diphtheria, tetanus and measles. New diseases such as HIV and new forms of influenza have taken both professional and popular opinion by surprise and have renewed the challenges before the world public health community.
Nutrition always has been a major source for healing and well being. This potentially life-saving information has been known since the days of Greek physician Hippocrates, 400 years BC. His saying: ”Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” is often quoted today.
However, regular long-term neglect of good quality nutrition over the years with more than a fair-share of junk food can lead to a metabolic deficiency. This metabolic deficiency manifests in the wave, shape and form of illness: In other words, the analogy I use is this: your car runs at its best when using the right petrol, but any other low-grade choice can cause engine damage in the long term, leading to sluggish performance or even total failure…
While good quality nutrition serves to maintain optimum health and well being, it can be used not only to prevent disease but also reverse it:
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Tragically long delays in adopting “new” and cost effective vaccines cause hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths each year in developing and mid-level developed countries. Gains are being made in control of many tropical diseases, but malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases remain enormous global problems. Research and acquisition of new knowledge, risk communication, application of currently available means and fair distribution will be great challenges to public health in the coming decades.
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