Nutrition, health and quality of life
By Dr. José (Pepe) Valencia
For the past 35 years I have provided care for the elderly at different stages of their lives and through personal research I have found the 10 main elements that lead an individual to suffer an imbalance between internal factors and the environment and cause those conditions that we call “disease.” These are health, nutrition, deep-rootedness, goals, material possessions, emotional nature, sexuality, spirituality, identity and freedom. In the article titled “The Real Medicine” that was recently published I mentioned the first point: health. In this article, I will address nutrition.
Hippocrates said: “Let meals be your foods and foods your medicine.” Do you eat nurturing food? What leads us to choose between one dish and another is one or more of the following factors: habit, curiosity, presentation, referral and, in some cases, change of nutritional value.
Only a few of us are dedicated to thoroughly investigating what is best for us and our loved ones, at least until a disease arises. Certainly, those who are in their 60s or older who make the decision to eat more healthy foods may start eating organic, healthier foods with a higher content of nutrients and vitamins; however, we do not know clearly whether there really are benefits to certain diet regimens, such as vegetarianism, naturism, ovolactovegetarianism and many others.
Did you know that a lack of niacin is one of the main causes of depression? Did you know that vitamin C can be used not only as an antioxidant but that also, taken in high doses, it can be a powerful adjuvant in the treatment of certain types of cancer? Did you know that urinary tract infections, especially in women, can cause memory problems and often are diagnosed incorrectly? Insufficient hydration also causes memory problems, as do many medications.
Did you know that classes on nutrition are not part of medical school curricula? Do you expect when you go to the doctor that drugs will be part of the treatment he or she prescribes? Do you expect him or her to talk about or give advice about nutritious foods and their abilities to prevent certain diseases? Does your doctor know the value of zinc, selenium or magnesium? If he or she doesn’t, do you think this lack of knowledge justifies the fee he or she charges?
No more questions … for now.
The quality of the life we live after our 60s and 70s is our responsibility—no one else’s.
Therefore, we should be committed to meeting our nutritional needs daily and use that as a basis for selecting what we eat. It is time to change our eating habits to improve the functioning of our bodies. After achieving this, we can reduce medications, which obviously have side effects that in many cases are worse than what we want to “cure.”
However, if despite everything I have mentioned here your decision is to eat whatever you want, go for it! Nobody has the right to establish a way of life for you. Nobody. Decide for yourself and do not overthink it: Choose what you think is more convenient or what you enjoy. The phrase “quality of life” is based on free choice at every stage of your life. Life is for living, so make a choice now.