News and Opinions  –  2018

World Antibiotic Awareness Week: New book from ReAct Latin America! Food as medicine, the kitchen as a pharmacy

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In connection to World Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Food Day , ReAct Latin America and San Isidro Institute launched the book "Food as medicine, the kitchen as a pharmacy".

Healthy food as medicine.

“When we take antibiotics we alter the gut microbiome and destroy bacteria responsible for the digestion of food. This could explain the increase of people with overweight in Latin America.”

said Arturo Quizhpe, Head of ReAct Latin America, reflecting over the new book.

As part of the launch, a multidisciplinary conversation was held where a broad group of participants: culinary teachers, social researchers, agronomists, agro-ecological producers and community leaders joined in. Each with their vision, both from the field of medicine and culture, contributing to the importance of food in human health. In the worldview of some Andean ancestral peoples, happiness is a state of health and among other things, is linked to eating well.

Food tasting at the launch of the book “Food as medicine and the kitchen as pharmacy” in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Later, an Andean ancestral food exhibition and tasting was held with the collaboration of the students of the School of Gastronomy of the San Isidro Higher Institute, agro-producers and women from Ecuador. Parallel with the launch, a massive regional campaign was carried out in media, to put focus on food and the implications it can have on bacterial resistance.

With this event, ReAct Latin America adds a new ally to work on the containment of bacterial resistance. The San Isidro Higher Institute is a recognized academic training and research center in Ecuador. This is a collaborative initiative that has medium and long-term objectives to collaborate in research, implement a curriculum with a more comprehensive approach and publish around food as a requirement for good health and the containment of bacterial resistance.

Food is essential for human health

By provision and production of healthy food, the health of humans is guaranteed. Many practices in food production are unsustainable. At present, there are several problems related to food in the world that FAO recognizes:

  • The world produces enough food to sustain the entire world population. However, some 815 million people – that is one in nine – suffer from hunger. 60 % of these are women.
  • Approximately 80% of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture and food production.
  • About 45% of child deaths are related to malnutrition, while 1.9 billion people – more than a quarter of the world’s population is overweight.
  • Children with malnutrition are at increased risk of infection due to low immune system defenses.
  • One third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted.
  • The world will need to produce 60% more food by 2050 to support a growing population.

It is essential to address the production and consumption of healthy foods. It implies:

  • Elimination of the use of antibiotics in the production of meat.
  • Elimination of pesticides in crops.
  • Provision of safe water.
  • Healthy environments and good practices in preparation and food consumption.

With a good diet a healthy microbiome can be maintained. Which in turn promotes good health that help avoid the use of antibiotics, thus contains antibiotic resistance.