Discovering Optimum Nutrition

Patrick Holford was just 14 years old when he first set off on his path to find the meaning of life, a voyage of discovery that 25 years on, has made him one of the UK’s leading authorities on health and nutrition.

Nutrition and Health

Now nearly 40, Patrick looks at least 10 years younger and positively radiates health and raw energy as he zooms around the world lecturing on the ways we can all achieve his level of optimum health.

And his latest book, The Optimum Nutrition Bible, is the culmination of 17 years of research into the role nutrition plays in keeping our bodies and minds healthy.

“We are digging our own graves with a knife and fork;” says Patrick whose total conviction in the power of nutrition led him to set up an educational trust called the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 1984.

“The vast majority of people are selling themselves short as far as health is concerned. It may be normal to get colds, feel tired and suffer from arthritis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes later in life, but it certainly isn’t necessary. Most of the diseases we suffer from are nutrition related, and can be prevented by making simple changes to diet and lifestyle.”

And Patrick believes that in keeping our bodies healthy as well as in keeping us mentally on top form, diet plays a major part. An avid follower of Jung and Hess in his early teens, he started his academic career studying for his bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology at York University where he focussed on biochemistry of the brain. It was this background that led him into researching the role of nutrition in mental health and illness. In 1987, his work on improved nutrition and children’s IQs was the subject of an Horizon documentary.

“Whilst I was at University, I became a student of the very brilliant mystic and philosopher Oscar Ichzao of the Arica Institute. His work influenced me immensely. I had thought up until that time that mental and emotional suffering was very much psychological stuff. Then I came across the work of Dr Carl Pfeiffer and Dr Abram Hoffer who were reporting an 80% cure in treating acute schizophrenia through nutrition. I showed their findings to my Professor who told me they were a load of rubbish so I got on a plane and flew out to New Jersey to study with Carl Pfeiffer and then Abram Hoffer.”

A Nutritional Strategy for a Better Quality of Life

But Optimum Nutrition is not just about fighting disease, it is also about improving your quality of life even when you don’t feel ill.

“Health is not just an absence of disease, but an abundance of vitality,” says Patrick.

“I believe there exists for all of us the tangible and achievable experience of a profound sense of well-being. This is characterised by a consistent, clear and high level of energy, an emotional balance, a sharp mind, a desire to maintain physical fitness and a direct awareness of what suits our bodies, enhances our health, and what our needs are in any given moment.

This state of health includes a resilience to infectious diseases, protection from the major killer diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and consequently means slowing down the ageing process and living a long healthy life. Optimum Nutrition is whatever achieves this, basically giving yourself the best possible intake of nutrients to allow your body to be as healthy and to work as well as it possibly can.

But I am not setting a list of rules. For example you don’t have to be a vegetarian or take supplements or not eat any particular food, although for some people such advice would be appropriate.

Your needs are completely unique and depend on a whole host of factors, from the strengths and weaknesses you were born with, right up to the effects your current environment has on you. You only have to look at the tremendous variation in the way we look, our talents and personalities, to realize that our nutritional needs are not likely to be identical. No one diet is perfect for everyone, although there are general guidelines that apply to us all.

To date 50 nutrients have been identified as essential for health – that’s 9 amino acids, 13 vitamins, 21 minerals, 2 fats plus carbohydrate, fibre, water, oxygen and light. Old-fashion concepts of nutrition assess your needs by analyzing what you eat and comparing it to the recommended intake (RDA) for each nutrient. This method alone is very basic since RDA’s don’t exist for a number of key nutrients, have little relevance to what’s needed for optimal health, don’t take into account individual variations in need, or lifestyle factors that alter your needs, such as exposure to pollution, level of stress or exercise.”

Patrick maintains the best way to work out your optimum nutrition is a combination of three proven methods, which he outlines in detail in The Optimum Nutrition Bible:

Symptom Analysis – which enables you to see, from clusters of signs and symptoms (such as lack of energy, mouth ulcers, muscle cramps, easy bruising, poor dream recall etc.) which nutrients you may be lacking.

Lifestyle Analysis - which helps you to identify the factors in your life that change your nutritional needs (such as your level of exercise, stress, pollution etc.)

Dietary Analysis – comparing your diet not to RDA but optimal levels of nutrients and taking into account the ‘anti-nutrients’ you consume substances that rob the body of nutrients.

Each method, he says, represents a piece of the jigsaw for calculating a person’s nutritional needs. The more methods that can be used, the more effective is the nutritional plan that follows.

Patrick is totally confident that by following Optimum Nutrition you can actually rebuild and rejuvenate your entire body including your skeleton.

“I have no doubt that you can extend healthy lifespan by at least 10 years by following the advice in The Optimum Nutrition Bible. After 17 years research, involving over 30,000 people, it is clear what kind of nutrition reduces disease risk and promotes optimal health.”

Geri Parlby

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