The Food We Need to Fix Us: Part 3

The Food We Need to Fix Us: Part 3

In this blog series, we’ve been focusing on research and beliefs promoted in The Power of the Plate: The Case for Regenerative Organic Agriculture in Improving Human Health

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

We’ve looked at how our health and farming are intertwined, how our commercial agricultural systems have deviated from sustainable farming practices, and why regenerative organic agriculture is the key to improving human health. 

The paper also presents two tangible solutions for the regenerative healthcare of the future: 

  1. The power of the plate (i.e. “eat better”)
  2. Regenerative organic agriculture (i.e. “farm better”).

Let’s look at each of these inter-connected solutions in more detail. 

EAT BETTER 

Research from the Imperial College of London found that approximately 7.8 million premature deaths around the world could be prevented if people consumed ten servings of vegetables and fruits every day.

Source

The Power of the Plate paper postulates that “the global crisis of non-communicable, lifestyle-related disease is solvable with the right dietary intervention”. 

Shifting to a predominantly organic, whole foods, plant-based diet can have the following effects:

  • Provide the body with all necessary vitamins, minerals, fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants.
    • These compounds maintain health, build immunity, and prevent (and even reverse) lifestyle-related diseases.
  • Reverse the epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases, including:
    • Cardiovascular disease (which is the number one cause of death globally)
    • Type 2 diabetes, which improves rapidly with diet changes
    • Significantly reducing the risk of colon and other cancers
    • Reducing arthritic pain
    • Improving kidney and chronic kidney disease impairment
    • Improving autoimmune diseases 
    • Preventing dementia.
  • Other health benefits include:
    • Cultivating a diverse gut microbiome
    • Reducing inflammation 
    • Reducing weight 
    • Enhancing mood
    • Optimising immune function.
Research behind these solutions (as published in The Power of the Plate)

91%
Reduction in chest pain in randomised trials utilising a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle treatment intervention.

82% – 91%
 Trend toward regression in artery narrowing, and reperfusion of heart muscle was seen in three weeks.

44%
Patients on insulin that were able to discontinue medication in just four weeks on a whole-food plant-based diet.

FARM BETTER

“Regenerative organic agriculture is more than a set of agronomic principles – it is a holistic approach to farming that encourages continuous innovation and improvement of environmental, social and economic measures.” This includes the welfare and health of animals and humans. 

Several basic principles of organic agriculture aim to improve these ecosystems: 

  • Eliminating inorganic fertilisers, herbicides and other toxic, synthetic inputs.
  • Diversifying crop rotations.
  • Promoting on-farm biological diversity.
  • Implementing strategies to manage insect, disease and weed pressures that reduce or eliminate the need for chemical inputs.
  • Maximising soil coverage and biodiversity through cover cropping and integrated livestock systems to maintain and improve soil health.
  • Increasing soil organic carbon levels, which results in greater soil structure and water-holding capacity.
  • Supporting the growth of diverse microbial populations in the soil. This reduces pest pressure and helps boost the plant bioactive compounds that have been known to provide health benefits and combat chronic disease.
  • Adopting pasture-based farming systems improves nutrient cycling.
  • Promoting and establishing conservation practices.

In our final blog post in this series (which will be posted next week), we’ll outline some steps we can take to create the change that needs to happen. In the meantime, get in touch with the Zylem team to find out more about how we promote soil health, plant health for human health. Contact us on 033 347 2893 or send your enquiry to admin@zylemsa.co.za.

Read more about regenerative agriculture.

Leave a Reply