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Food as Medicine, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 628

Essay

 When a virus invades the body the immune system plays a defense role. The way in which the body’s immune system responds is not exclusive to viruses, but all foreign organisms. Upon invasion of a pathogen the immune system first has to differentiate the organism from those found in healthy tissue. There are four subsystems designated with recognizing and destroying foreign organisms. They are the innate, adaptive, humoral and cell mediated immune systems. Even though the body’s immune system is designed to detect and destroy pathogens, in some instances foreign organisms can escape recognition and multiply immensely. At this point they eventually take over the host (Kawai & Akira, 2010).

The progression of HIV to AIDS is insidious and could take years to develop depending on the body’s immune mechanism. There are mainly four stages. The first stage is primary HIV when the virus invades the human body. In the second  stage it is considered clinically asymptomatic while the third progresses to symptomatic HIV infection. The fourth stage is when HIV develops into opportunistic infections and AIDS is diagnosed. The difference between HIV and AIDS lies in the stage at which the disease has developed. Persons are classified HIV positive when the immune system has not been compromised and the virus occupies the body without damaging cells. AIDS is diagnosed when the disease progresses to where opportunistic infections begin to occur and T cells level fall (Aral, 2013).

Steps that a person can take in order to prevent full blown AIDS are many. Proper nutrition is a major intervention if anti-viral treatment is in accessible or unaffordable.  Next is adopting life style changes by avoiding activities that would place undue stress on the body. These include strenuous exercises and over indulgence in unhealthy foods. Another strategy is keeping the body’s immune system healthy so that it would be difficult to develop opportunistic infections. This can be done by taking supplements that would ensure maintenance of a healthy immune system. Apart from these measures research has shown where alternative remedies along with the person’s level of spirituality have contributed towards development of full blown AIDS (Aral, 2013).

Specifically, nutrition plays a significant role in how food can be used as medicine. Scientists have discovered that what a person takes into the body through the end of a fork or spoon is more powerful than a pill dispensed by pharmacists. Nutrition and the new field of nutrigenomics is an emerging science whereby the study of how molecules interact with our genes to support or disturb health is being explored.  The discoveries are alarming. It was recommended that Medicinal foods should be a part of our daily life since nutrition plays a significant role in sustaining health (Khalsa, 2004).

For example, in Chinese medicine food was cooked to enjoy as pleasure, but at the same time produce healing in the body. Rice eating is one of their healing foods. Essentially, apart from being a vehicle through which calories are transferred into body cells, food has specific ingredients that treat and prevent disease as well as change body processes. These ingredients are known as phytonutrients.Importantly, these food properties are plant chemicals that do not contain protein, calories, minerals, fats, vitamins or carbohydrates, rather, molecules. These molecules activate the body’s DNA that specifically conducts healing of tissues and cells. Consequently, if someone does not eat any food that person robs the body of medicine since  taking oral supplements alone cannot restore the body to wholeness (Khalsa, 2004).

References

Aral, S. (2013). The New Public Health and STD/HIV Prevention: Personal, Public and Health System Approaches. Springer

Kawai, T., & Akira, S. (2010). Innate immune recognition of viral infection. Nature Immunology 7 (2): 131–7

 Khalsa, D. (2004).  Food as Medicine: How to Use Diet, Vitamins, Juices, and Herbs for a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life. Atria Books

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