“Let food be thy medicine” (Hippocrates)
It’s no secret that the six regions of the world with the greatest life expectancies share an ancestral culture of healthy eating. According to biologist Antón Romaní (Executive MBA 2016), the fact that this life expectancy increases year by year is due to “an improvement in nutrition along with other health measures.”
The effects of a diet that’s varied in nutrients is not only clear over the long run. According to this expert, eating well “contributes to physical and psychic well-being because it allows you to carry out daily tasks effectively.”
One example are the nutriceuticals: food preparations with properties that are beneficial for health. Romaní explains: “They are concentrated sources of nutrients that have an effect that is nutritional or physiological although not curative. It cannot be said that a nutriceutical cures a pathology but rather that it can have an influence in the capacity of a person to delay, alleviate, modulate or develop pathologies.” One example of nutriceuticals are the probiotics, foods like yogurt or kefir that contain microorganisms that are beneficial for the intestine. “They’re widely recommended by medical specialists to recover intestinal flora following therapy with antibiotics.”
Romaní has a strong opinion when it comes to miracle products: “They don’t exist. You have to be advised by qualified people. A nutriceutical is not the same thing as a homeopathic therapy.” He is thus serious about two subjects that many people take lightly, due to what he calls the “ignorance about the body’s physiology.” Likewise, he cautions that nutriceuticals are no substitute for the nutrients that people get in a balanced diet.
He is optimistic that nutriceuticals will come to be recognized by public health systems. “I think they might even be subsidized for people who could clearly benefit from them,” he says.
At present there is only one probiotic that is classified as a medicine, but he doesn’t discount that others might soon achieve that status “due to the scientific evidence that is being discovered.” They are apparently useful not only for digestive matters but also to fight “allergies and diabetes, to control weight and to benefit sports performance.”
To be continually healthy, then, means knowing our body and informing ourselves about what nature can offer us to care for it.