A few days ago Martina and I went to Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona for a pediatric check-up. As soon as we entered the hospital premises, my daughter glanced at the bar, pointed at the bags of chips and the vending machines and snapped “Why do they sell junk food in a place that is supposed to work to increase people’s health?” Good point, Martina, why?

I’d like to remark that I haven’t raised my daughter with biological and healthy food only. I try to give her fruit and vegetables every day and I’d rather choose healthy ways of cooking like the oven or the steam cooker, but that doesn’t mean that a pizza-hamburger-French fries dinner every now and then is totally forbidden. The point here is that in a hospital, where there are sick people and professionals involved in their recovery, the prevailing philosophy should be take care of your body. Medication helps overcome some aspects of our diseases: ibuprofen relieves pain, antibiotics eliminate infections, anticoagulants prevent clots in the blood, and so on…

What is still unfortunately not quite clear is that drugs often act as a patch in our body. If we are ill, we cancel the symptoms with drugs, but its prolonged use often turns us into chronic patients. Although it may solve the original problem, its side-effects are the cause of other failures in our organism.

The main idea is that we shouldn’t support a system based on a protracted use of medicines because that would be like putting out a fire and lighting another one. We should all treat our body with love, choosing healthy food that allows us to keep it clean and in shape. A clear example of this is the case of a cancer patient who was receiving a quite aggressive chemo and, on the advice of her doctor, regularly drank a leek and celery infusion that helps detoxifying the liver. I’m obviously not saying that the broth cured her cancer, but it did help her body to react more quickly to the side-effects of a very hard cure.

Therefore, to go back to my daughter’s initial thought, if a 13-year-old girl can understand that a hospital should be a place where people recover their health, why can’t the managers of these centers understand it? Since it has been scientifically proved that sugar is harmful to health, why are biscuits and pre-packaged juices served in hospitals? Why don’t they give fruit instead or freshly squeezed juices?

If doctors and surgeons could work with nutrition experts who could teach patients how to eat well and how to take care of their body inside and outside the hospital, there would surely be a decrease in relapses, with consequent savings in healthcare costs. It would be an initial investment that would lead to the creation of new jobs, but, in the near future, would cause great savings in public health too.

I think that, when it comes to State Administration, things can change only if people demand it. I therefore dream that the day will soon come when patients will ask for hospitals that take care of their health under all points of view.


Dedicated to Giorgia (and her #realbiologists), Sara, Noemi, Martina and the new generation that will change the world.

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