Staying fit and healthy has become a tall order for everyone, especially in the time of pandemic. More and more people are now embracing the concept of switching to healthier options when it comes to the food they eat to help strengthen their immune system.
“We rely so much on food not only as a source of energy, but also as medicine,” said Dr. Celeste Gomez, member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and a diplomate of the Philippine Pediatric Society. “But the Industrial Revolution happened. The technological advances drastically changed our lifestyle, which contributed to a pandemic of chronic (lifestyle) diseases.”
As they say, “Every time you’re eating a meal, you’re either feeding a disease or fighting it.”
Our diet is made up of three basic elements: macronutrients (carbohydrates, starch and protein), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and phytonutrients, which we get from whole foods (food that is as close to its natural state as possible).
“If we lean towards a more fast food-based diet, we have enough macronutrients but we lose a bit more of the micronutrients,” explained Dr. Gomez. “So we need to have some balance. Even in our busy lifestyle, we should always strike that balance between healthy food and easily accessible food.”
The benefits of organic nutrition
Whole foods act as medicine that protects and heals, giving our immune system a break from the toxins and additives found in conventional and processed food.
“There’s also such a thing as organic food,” said Dr. Gomez, who is also an organic lifestyle advocate. “When we say organic food, we refer to poultry, meat dairy and eggs that come from animals that are free of antibiotics and growth hormones. As for fruits and veggies, they should have never been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers; no chemical additives or sewage sludge.”
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM International), a Germany-based organization of organic certifying bodies, regulates the standards of Organic Agriculture, which should be maintained for a certain product to be accredited as organic.
In the country, the Organic Certification Center of the Phils. (OCCP), accredited by IFOAM International, gives the Certified Organic seal to products grown using agricultural standards.
So what happens to our body if we regularly consume fruits and veggies laced with pesticides or fertilizers?
According to Dr. Celeste, there’s a group of experts who found out that anti-microbial agents (antibiotics) that are used in agriculture increase the risk of resistant infections in people.
“This means that if you eat these conventional agricultural products with antibiotics, you’ll develop resistance to the drug in time. So when you get sick and are prescribed with antibiotics, they won’t be as effective anymore,” explained Dr Gomez. “There are also chemicals found in pesticides that mimic our own hormones that disrupt our endocrine system. And all these chronic lifestyle diseases are associated with it.”
Hence, we just need to detox more. How? By choosing whole and organic foods every chance we get.
Organic and whole foods are natural products that are not processed or refined in any way. Or, if they are processed, they need to be able to retain 95 percent of their natural nutrients.
“They do not need to be bought in organic options as they are already rich in vitamins and minerals as they are,” noted Dr. Gomez.
These include avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, cauliflower and broccoli.
On the other hand, some examples of plant produce that should be bought in organic form are strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, tomatoes and potatoes.
“Because even if you wash and peel them, there are still pesticide residues,” noted Dr. Gomez.
Gomez, who is a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine, further explained that Functional Nutrition is an emerging field, which is all about finding the right way to use food to maximize its potential for health and wellness.
“There is no single ‘right diet’ that applies to all of us. We all want to be healthy, but most of us haven’t figured out just how to make food and dietary patterns serve that goal,” she said.
Shifting to an organic lifestyle may sound intimidating for others. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. For instance, eating organic food is not as hard as it once was, with many products available at major supermarkets that have been certified organic by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines.
“We get organic food not solely on whole foods per se, but also from processed products like milk for as long as they are farmed using techniques that don’t use pesticide and in the most natural manner,” explained Mary Jude Icasiano, country vice chairman of the International Life Sciences Institute and overseas the Nutrition and Science section for Wyeth.
And so, another smart way to go organic is choosing organic milk for our children. Luckily, Wyeth Nutrition’s Promil Organic knows exactly what parents need.
Promic Organic is made with 100-percent-organic milk sourced from certified organic dairy farms, following all the strict standards in manufacturing organic-formula milk, with higher levels of DHA and AA versus previous formulations to help support the development of children over three years old. It’s free from antibiotics and chemical pesticides.
“Promil Organic follows strict compliance of the 95-percent processing level and international standards from the IFOAM Organics International,” says Maria Carmela Gabunada, associate marketing director of Wyeth Nutrition. “It is also certified organic by the OCCP.”
Promil Organic is the only organic-formula milk expertly designed with key nutrients DHA, AA, iron, iodine and vitamin B12 to help the child with mental and visual development; boost immunity with vitamin A and C; calcium, vitamin D, K, and zinc to promote proper growth; and dietary fiber (oligofructose) to improve digestive health.
“By establishing an organic lifestyle for the family, we are ensuring our kids will get the best of nature and the best of health,” enthused celebrity mom Andi Manzano.
(To know more about Promil Organic, visit www.facebook.com/PromilOrganicPH on Facebook and www.youtube.com/c/PROMILORGANICPhilippines on YouTube.)