Sunday 20th August 2017
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Health

The basic principle of maintaining health is, in my opinion, do whatever we can to put our body in condition to look after itself in the way that it can do best, and then leave it alone to its own devices as much as possible. Many disease prevention measures are already part of the body's natural mechanisms, and we should give them a chance to act before rushing to find remedies.

Examples of this are nourishing the body with all the right nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy immune system, keeping the skin moisturised because it works better in that condition, and to help the teeth remineralise themselves by proper oral hygiene.

We were brought up thinking that meat was an important, indeed essential, part of our diet, and now we are told by medical authorities that, far from being essential, it is probably not even good for us. On the other hand, somebody is saying that carbohydrates are not very sound, and that we should cut down on such wholesome foods like bread and pasta, foods which are almost synonymous with nutritional staples.
Who and, more importantly, what should we believe?

Vitamins have been hailed for decades as great nutrients with many healthy qualities, but then it was discovered that we can have too much of a good thing like vitamins. And what about nutritional supplements and so-called natural herbal remedies: are they always safe? We know we should drink a lot of water, but can we overdose even on water?

All the conflicting theories and contradictory opinions from the experts may appear like a confused situation, and may superficially indicate that medicine and dietetics are not, after all, based on science.
But the good news is that this is not the case at all. Divided expert opinion is, if anything, a characteristic of all science. The most famous example is that of physicists' divided views about the particle or wave nature of matter. Changing its theories is the very essence of the scientific process. Only quacks, ideologues and dogmatists are absolutely sure and, lacking self-criticism, not having tools for logical and empirical analyses of hypotheses, never revise or change their ideas.
Science, on the other hand, is not based on certainty, but is a continuous strive to acquire knowledge, arguably the most difficult task for humankind.

Another reason of this apparent confusion lies in the media reporting of health issues. The media, in picking their news and stories, do not follow a selective approach in terms of what has scientific validity, what studies have been peer-reviewed, what research has followed the correct methodology; their choice of stories are guided by what is going to attract public attention and sell more copies. As a consequence, the sensationalistic and the catastrophic have precedence over the true and the useful. And contradictory statements and reports are likely to be found in the media, due to lack of rigour and the policy of following whatever lead is going to increase sales.

Health and nutrition are two important subjects, closely related to each other, and deserve a scientific approach. By following the right nutrition, we are more likely to achieve and maintain health.

The Health section of the site covers the scientific basis of health.

Although the focus of this site is human health in connection with animal ethics, in the Health section we deal with various matters of human health, regardless of their link to animal issues like vivisection or meat eating.

We explore how prevention is better than cure, and give tips and suggestions on the best ways to maintain health and the most effective forms of disease prevention.

The approach we take is scientific, so there is no room here for unsupported claims and unfounded theories of health.

 

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HEALTH