Waking up to the power of food

Food is the best medicine. After conducting research for a government submission into health, I had proof.

I had never before written a submission to government on any topic, but I know the literature on nutritional prevention and reversal of chronic disease like the back of my hand, having been immersed in it for over 21 years.

Chronic diseases have been the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia for decades, and treating them gobbles up the lion’s share of the ever-growing health budget.
Writing the submission gave me the chance to showcase the diverse array of studies that have been conducted on chronic disease prevention, treatment and even reversal, using a wholefood plant-based diet.

This research sparked a thought. How many people are unaware of the profound effect that what they eat has on their health, both now and in later life?

Let’s be clear what’s at stake here:
• 90% of deaths in Australia in 2011 were caused by chronic disease.
• 35% of the population, or 7 million people, have at least 1 chronic condition.
• Roughly half of people aged 65-74 suffer 5 or more chronic diseases.
• 70% of those aged 85 and over suffer 5 or more chronic diseases.
• Up to 80% of these diseases are caused by lifestyle behaviours, with diet and nutrition being a primary factor.

It is nothing short of criminal that life-changing – and even life-saving – information on how to prevent and reverse chronic conditions is withheld from the general public, and that so little of the research dollars that our taxes fund are allocated to investigating diet and lifestyle treatments.

I have lost count of the number of times that a client with a chronic condition has told me, “My doctor said that diet has nothing to do with my high blood pressure/type 2 diabetes/rheumatoid arthritis/coronary artery disease/prostate cancer.” Professionals are unaware of the research that exists on all of these conditions. Many conditions can be managed with a wholefood plant-based diet rather than with medications and procedures. This can be done without negative side-effects; and at a fraction of the cost of medical care. Furthermore, many types of chronic conditions can actually be reversed with the same wholefood plant-based diet.

Thankfully, many health and medical professionals throughout the world are now switching on to the notion that food really is our best medicine; I’ll be joining several hundred of them at the 4th International Plant-Based Nutrition Conference this September.

As hopeful as I am that someone, somewhere in government reads this submission and considers its suggestions, no one can afford to wait for government to take the lead. If you want to maintain or regain your health, you simply have to take responsibility for your own dietary and lifestyle choices

Article from Hopewood contributor Robyn Chuter

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