"To fight a disease after it has occurred is like trying to dig a well when one is thirsty or forging a weapon once a war has begun."
The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, The Nei Ching, c. 1000 B.C.
The most comprehensive research ever undertaken (including more than 2,400 counties in China) about the relationship between diet and the risk of developing diseases is described in The China Study. The authors, T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, conclude: "If you want to be healthy, change your diet."
The authors summarize their findings in Eight Principles of Food and Health, listed below.
What are the eight principles of food and health?
- Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Solely taking vitamin supplements is not the way to good health.
- There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
- Genes do not determine diseases on their own. Genes function only by being activated or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
- Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
- The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in later stages (after diagnosis).
- Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
- Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.
As principle number seven states, nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board. There is remarkable convergence in recommendations for diet and health. Eating as a defense against one disease process may well influence another. For example, eating in a way to support bone health will likely decrease inflammation, keep the brain healthy, and promote heart health.