Beetroot and garlic - if only12th August 2007
Last week a scientific study revealed that drinking one or two cups of coffee a day helped protect skin from sun damage. Suddenly, all those people who had been trying to cut down or remove coffee from their diets had a reason not to (though unfortunately not in the UK this summer!).
I expect we've all thought from time to time how wonderful it would be if the answers to all our ills were natural, cheap everyday products - that our environment provided all that we needed to maintain and improve our health. After all, we are what we eat - or so the saying goes - but we have long since discarded the notion that every ill can be cured simply by growing the remedy in our back gardens.
Or have we? A lot of alternative medicine relies on exactly this assumption - that nature, not big pharmaceutical companies, provides the best answers to our health problems. So what is the truth? Do we need all these expensive drugs? Clearly the answer, for certain diseases, is a resounding "Yes."
One such disease is AIDS - and it is therefore deeply concerning that the South African government is apparently continuing to trumpet the virtues of beetroot and garlic as the remedy for this terrible plague. This, of course, is all part of the denial of Africa in respect of the epidemic that is sweeping the continent - as is the sacking of the Deputy Health Minister for choosing to attend an AIDS Conference in Spain in an attempt to actually discover what sort of response this disease really needs.
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