We really are what we eat!
by man compares to the
magnificent design of the human body. As you read this 2.5 million
red blood cells are being made every second within your bone marrow, in
to keep your body cells supplied with oxygen. Meanwhile your
system is producing its daily 10 litres of digestive juices to
the food you eat and enable it to pass through your 'inside skin',
gastrointestinal wall, a 30-foot-long structure with a surface
area the size of a
small football pitch which effectively replaces itself every four
The health of your gastrointestinal tract is maintained by a team
three hundred different strains of bacteria and other
unique to you as your fingerprint, which exceed the total number
in your entire body.
Meanwhile, your immune system replaces its entire army every week and, when under viral attack, has the capacity to produce two hundred thousand new immune cells every minute. Even your outside skin is effectively replaced every month, while most of your body is renewed over a seven-year period. Your brain, a mere 3 lb/1.4kg of mainly fat and water, is processing information of immense complexity through its trillion nerve cells, each connected to a hundred thousand others in a network whose connections are formed as our life, and the meaning we attach to it, unfolds.
The energy produced from a small amount of food powers all these unseen processes, with plenty left over to keep us warm and allow us to undertake a wide range of physical activity. The by-products are water and carbon dioxide, both of which are essential for plants, which in turn produce carbohydrate, our fuel, and oxygen, the spark that lights our cellular fires. It is estimated that we use only a quarter of a per cent of our brain's capacity and, in many cases, half the potential life span of our bodies. The design, the capacity and the resilience of the human body are truly awesome.
Yet, unlike a new car, we arrive without a
maintenance manual and rely on instructions developed by those who have
made their livelihood from a study of the human body. These instructions
are in their infancy, a fact which is obvious when you consider how much
of medicine is based on giving drugs which poison the body, radiation
which burns it and surgery which removes defective parts. Most of us only
begin to think about body maintenance when something goes wrong. Yet, due
to the body's incredible resilience, most serious diseases like cancer and
cardiovascular disease take twenty to thirty years to develop. By the time
we notice the symptoms it may be too late.
All medical education has been built on the foundation of anatomical science since the year 1543, when Andreas Vesalius published the first textbook of anatomy based upon human dissection. Over the centuries the subject has become more and more refined, it has been amalgamated with related sciences such as physiology and biochemistry, and now we have reached the point where it is actually possible to perform organ transplantation, artificial insemination and genetic engineering with relative ease.
No-one can doubt the advances that have been made. On the other hand, medical science has still made little real headway against the degenerative diseases and cancer. Indeed many people would say that perhaps technological improvement has gone just about as far as it can. It may be that the answers to some of the major problems facing people today lie in their particular form of lifestyles. Indeed, if that is the case then perhaps there is much that Natural Therapies and Health Food will have to offer in the future.