People with life style diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments, cancer, arthritis and gastro-intestinal problems have to be dependent on drugs to overcome their suffering but may end up causing more harm to their body as most of the allopathy drugs cause adverse reactions in the body. In such cases, holistic medicine and nutrition can help by bringing back the emotional and physical health through exercises, proper diet and nutrition.
Luke Coutinho, globally renowned and celebrated Holistic Nutritionist and co-author of the best seller, ‘The Great Indian Diet’ along with Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty , tells Sreekumar Raghavan of Corporate Ethos that the key to leading a healthy life is to enhance your immunity through right food, exercise, having adequate sleep and rest. He believes that no medicine or nutrition is capable of curing or healing the human body. Drugs, surgery and other treatment methods give a gentle support to the self-regulating system of our body or its intelligence to help us regain our health. Coutinho has among his client list Bollywood celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Lara Dutta, Emraan Hashmi, Arjun Rampal’s mother, Zoya Akhtar & Anushka Shetty to name a few. He also consults with some of the well-known industrialists and business across the globe.
#How does a person suffering from lifestyle diseases gain out of holistic medicine and nutrition?
Holistic medicine practitioners never recommend stopping an existing method of treatment whether it is cancer, cardio-vascular diseases or any other ailments. What we do is complimentary to their existing method of treatment. For eg. a cancer patient who has undergone chemotherapy may require lot of vitamins A, E and other nutrients or mineral and life style changes to bring him back to normalcy. A patient on diabetes treatment may develop problems with high blood pressure and kidney problems. We try to overcome this by suggesting life style changes such as exercise, proper diet with the right calorie count and also trying herbal remedies. We are not against allopathic drugs and treatment but as practitioners of alternative medicine we don’t prescribe them.
A patient may suffer from back pain, when we suggest turmeric, it will not relieve back pain but it is known to cure inflammation.
#I think there are lot of misconceptions about holistic medicine and some people think they can do away with allopathic drugs. Could you put the science behind holistic medicine in perspective?
I would like to reiterate that holistic medicine is not against any conventional method of treatment but our aim is to go the root cause of the disease and help strengthen the body’s immune system so that he or she leads a healthy life. A patient with fever is usually treated with drugs to lower body temperature or with anti-biotics if found to have infection to fight pathogens, virus, germs bacteria etc. The underlying cause is low immunity. A patient who was successfully cured of cancer may develop cancer after six months if the body has not developed the immunity and the body hasn’t created an environment unfavorable for the growth of cancer cells.
#How does holistic medicine help in treatment of heart ailments?
Most often heart ailments are caused by alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits such as over consumption of oils, salt, high stress levels which all could to inflammation of the heart. There is a misconception that heart disease is caused due to excessive levels of cholesterol but studies have found it be untrue. The inflammation of the heart causes lesser amount of blood flow in the arteries and this leads to heart attack. Normally, we recommend deep breathing exercises, yoga, ensuring work-life balance can help you to have a healthy heart.
#How do you account for the increasing incidence of life style diseases?
Hormonal problems are a major cause in both men and women- either it could be testosterone imbalance in men or estrogen in women or thyroid hormone imbalance. When the right quantity of food is not taken and a patient is under stress, fat deposits will accumulate. Stress can cause elevated blood sugar also. The mind-body connection is already established in science- a healthy body in a healthy mind. People are now living longer on the strength of the medicines but they are suffering all the time.
#Lot of people are now opting for bariatric surgery to cure obesity. Is it a healthy trend?
In US, bariatric surgery is recommended only when doctors and nutritionists treat a patient for six months and don’t find a positive outcome. It is only recommended in cases of metabolic disorders where undergoing such a surgery can save the life of a patient and not to be used for cosmetic purposes. There is no short cut to good health. No magic pills You don’t become fat over night. It takes one, two or three years of bad life style to make you fat. And bariatric surgery does have its adverse effects on our organs, cells and physiology and appropriate food and life style changes have to be made to regain health and vitality.
#In your opinion, who is a healthy person?
If you use two or more drugs regularly to sustain your life, or if you take medicine to maintain to look good then you aren’t healthy. Being healthy is also a function of emotional health- happiness and freedom from disease are important factors that make you healthy at any age.