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Well, it’s not strictly true, but the ‘how’ of eating … our eating habits … are certainly at least as important as the ‘what’.
If we overeat, eat when rushed, angry, walking/standing, working or slumped on the sofa, eat too late at night, or have some kind of pathological relationship to food, we can weaken and damage our digestive systems.
This helps explain why so many people suffer from digestive disease (up to 20% of the UK population for example). Its importance is also stressed in Chinese medicine which observes that digestive disharmony can lie at the root of many different diseases.
And the Chinese health tradition adds one extra reason to take care of our digestive systems. As we age, if we start to lose appetite, this can hasten our decline and early death. As the saying goes, “with stomach qi there is life, without stomach qi there is death”. A number of factors affect appetite and digestion in old age (including loneliness and depression, difficulty chewing etc.), but we are more likely to maintain a robust appetite if we observe a few simple rules about eating.
Here is a link to a video of a 15-minute talk I gave at the ‘Food the future medicine’ conference organised by the College of Medicine, September 2017. It covers these issues in more detail.