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Ask Dr. Henry

Ask Dr. Henry by Henry Hochberg, M.D.
Questions and answers on health, wellness, and the doctor-patient relationship.

   Q. What's the most natural diet someone can take?
   A. If you think about it, the most natural things to eat are those things that were around when our digestive systems first developed. In the thousands of years that we've been on the earth, our digestive systems haven't changed very much--but what we eat sure has. (We haven't found any archaeological evidence of prehistoric fast food chains.) What was around in the very beginning were those things that we could pick off trees, hunt, pull out of the ground, or grab out of the water. There weren't even any farms to grow many of the kinds of fruits and vegetables we have now. We're probably best adapted to eat these original foods, but they are not very easy to find.
   So the next best bets in terms of a natural diet, from my perspective, are those things that grow or roam freely. The more we have to do to a food to get it ready to eat, the less it matches our body's system. This is not to say that we will not get less nourishment from the foods we currently eat. It's just that we are more likely to have some troubles with the digestive process the more we rely only on them. (Your mom was right about eating your vegetables.)

Kid's Questions and Answers

   Q. What are those white marks on your fingernails?
   A. Those are usually a sign that there is an insufficient amount of zinc in your diet.

   Q. If I tie a rubber band around my finger, will it fall off?
   A. Don't try this at home! The answer is no, but if it's tight enough, you will cause some damage to your skin or to your finger by stopping the blood flow.

   Q. How come I can't hold my breath as long as I want?
   A. The need for oxygen to keep you alive forces the breathing reflex to be more powerful than your ability to hold your breath.

Henry Hochberg, M.D. is a board certified family physician with a special interest in wellness and natural approaches to health care. Send your health and medical questions to: Ask Dr. Henry, c/o Woodinville Weekly; P.O. Box 587; Woodinville, WA 98072; or e-mail to