A recent article in the Independant about specific medical problems (depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc.) and the efficacy of certain foods on those problems.

It also states clearly, in the sub-headline, “forget the medicine cabinet and head for the fridge.”

The article prompted a lively discussion raing various question and suggested answers:

Diet should be a daily and long term solution to PREVENT ailments (sepecially in older age). Diet should never be looked upon as a cure in itself. Learn more about diet from the NHS website.

While changes in diet can help, they most certainly won’t cure. The advice given is in many cases vague. For example: “Most of us consume too much salt, says a  lead dietitian. ‘Cutting down the amount of salt in our diet can help to reduce blood pressure.’ We should aim not to exceed more than 6.25g, she says.”

What does 6.25g of salt look like like? How do you know when you reached the limit? How can you monitor that amount? And the reduction of salt to less than 6.25g a day is no guarantee of a cure for high blood pressure.

Similarly, the article says, “…varied diet of foods containing anti-oxidants, wholegrains and fatty acids could bring blood pressure down by nearly one-tenth.”

Which foods precisely? In what quantities? As a replacement for what? And is reducing by “nearly one-tenth” enough for people with high blood pressure?

Of course, a healthy diet experienced over a lifetime is a sound preventative for many diseases (Type 2 diabetes being the most obvious) but most people have not experienced healthy diets over their lifetimes. And while a switch to a healthy diet will have an effect, it won’t provide a cure.

Another comment added that exercise can be just as beneficial (or more beneficial) as diet. For example, a recent study shows that an exercise regime can prevent the shrinking of the hippocampus area of the brain (shrinkage due to aging leads to memory loss). Diet alone did not prevent the shrinkage; exercise alone did.