Food sustains, maintains and builds our minds and bodies. Ideally it should also enhance our function and our sense of well-being. The best way to do this is by ensuring that our food is of high quality and our intake is of diverse yet moderate quantity. It seems to me that the best way to achieve this is by ensuring that our soil is healthy and teeming with life, that our farming practices are based on sustainable principles and that we maintain a steady gaze on what may emerge on the horizon. This means working towards eliminating artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, unnecessary use of antibiotics and without recourse to novel and untried methods of genetic modification. It’s a no-brainer to me that food grown with a minimum of added chemicals will have lower toxin content and a higher nutrient value - and there is now a small but growing body of evidence* to support this.
While, in this country, we are living longer lives than ever before (PHE 2016 i) we are more likely to be affected by long-term disabling conditions - often several. The current most common causes of death are dementia, heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease (ONS 2015). By changing what we eat and how we live a startling 40% of chronic disease is potentially preventable (Newton et al. 2015).
I believe that one accredited Nutritionist in every primary care GP practice could transform the health and well-being of our population - children and adults, both young and old, as well as saving the National Health billions of £s a year (PHE 2016 ii).
It's my dream job.
*Barański M. et al. (2014)Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 112(5):794-811
Średnicka-Tober D. et al. (2016) Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analyses. Br J Nutr. 115(6):1043-60.
Public Health England (2016) i Recent Trends in Life Expectancy at Older Ages: Update to 2014 Ref: PHE publications gateway number: 2015661
Office for National Statistics (2015) What do we die from? Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR), 2014
Public Health England (2016) ii PHE launches One You
Newton J. et al. (2015) Changes in health in England, with analysis by English regions and areas of deprivation, 1990 -2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 The Lancet 386: 2257-74