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It's nothing new that diet and nutrition influence health

I wholeheartedly support the view expressed by Lisa Jamieson in her article: ‘It’s not just medicines that improve health — pharmacists need a better understanding of nutrition’. If sound and intelligent advice was routinely dispensed by GPs (and pharmacists), the overall burden of chronic disease, which the NHS is obliged to carry, would be substantially reduced. And perhaps the endless avoidable NHS complaints would instead give rise to plaudits.

My interest in the relationship between diet and health began quite early in my studies, but I received a swift wake-up call when, in 1990, the World Health Organization published ‘Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases’, which was based on many thousands of careful observations throughout Europe. The report concluded that the incidence of major chronic diseases (for example, cancer and heart disease) could be influenced adversely or beneficially by a patient’s diet alone.

I was fascinated by the association and, with a penchant for fruit, I spent three years studying papers relating to fruit and health, published by nutritional and medical scientists in 25 countries. My unexpected conclusion was that there was considerable evidence to suggest that the humble tomato’s constituents include many compounds with exceptional health-promoting properties.

Readers can find more detail in The red bodyguard: the amazing health-promoting properties of the tomato[1].

Ron Levin, pharmacist, retired

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207457

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