Mangio dunque sono | BeC



I eat, therefore I am The holistic view on food

Dr. Giulia Leoni

Food represents our primordial and unconscious cultural code which make feeding something that links us to the environment we live in, besides the way we satisfy a physiological need, and reflects our cultural identity, customs and tradition. Is it possible for us to take control over this primitive impulse, so to avoid becoming slave to it? Food is medicine, as already knew by Hippocrates, Galen and Paracelsus, why can’t we look at what we eat as a short- or long-term wellness generator, beside being a means to satisfy our taste?

How much does the psychic dimension affect nutrition?

Food modulates our infinite mental indices that are involved also in dietary disorders such as obesity, that affecting modern Western world, for effect both the excessive food consumption (is caused by the overwhelming and attracting food offer – that could mislead “hunger and satiety” mechanisms) and the lack of a “culture of wellness” which would include the culture of fitness, and therefore of the health of the body.

The deepest soul issues fidget in the inner of our body. Suffering from obesity in a society that privileges slim people represents a not too concealed social exclusion.
For this reason, all the disciplines aimed at “saving our souls”, like chagrin or fasting, have been reintroduced in eating plans based on food moderation, which seem like ways to save our identity and help our chances to be accepted,  rather than a regime to guarantee our body wellness.

The stakes aren’t so much a food reconciliation rather the real act of existing: a person who eats to exist and wants to get slimmer for the same reason is walking on the razor’s edge. 

Most slimming diets fail for the lack of self-confidence rather than a weak resistance to the temptation of gluttony. When food becomes a matter of existence, it is charged with speech that does not belong to it and for which it has no words.

“Mens sana in corpore sano”: what does it mean?

 The motto “mens sana in corpore sano” (a sound mind in a sound body) should not only be intended literally: Juvenal did not state that in a healthy body lies a sound mind but that both body and mind need to be exercised in the same way. The idea that both body and mind could grow up and develop only together is also the basis of the pedagogic school model proposed by Aristotle.

Nowadays such a precept broadens its meaning in a more complex way: in order to have good soul authority we need a healthy body power (and vice versa) by virtue of the psychophysical unit.  Such a psychophysical unit is indeed the subject of the holistic sciences: every medicine, science and art that considers the human being in his entirety of body, mind and soul could be regarded as holistic. Like ecology – which deals with the global Earth and environment protection – holistic medicine focuses on the global health of the human being.

Taking care of ourselves becomes a sum of multiple actions: feeding ourselves in more natural and unpolluted ways, purifying our own feelings and negative thoughts, understanding the deep reasons of our actions, and eventually progressing both humanely and spiritually.

Ancient herbal traditions and modern scientific research in BeC

Stepping from a model of Nature that can provide remedies to every medical need, at BeC, we’ve been inspired by traditional oriental medicine, and we’ve been trying to conjugate the ancient phytotherapeutic traditions with modern scientific research, in the constant effort to gain better and synergic results.

In line with the holistic view, every dietary supplements by BeC is designed for the global wellness of the human being, hence they are not merely directed toward one single need. If we consider that body organs are correlated one the other, then a specific focus on a single issue – ignoring the surrounding condition –  would be too superficial. For these reasons all dietary supplements by BeC are composed by complex and equilibrated mixtures providing with optimal bioavailability of nutrients, efficacy and nutritional value.

Thanks to their particular composition, they could be chosen by people on different eating plans: vegetarian, vegan,  low fat, low salt, low sugar diet. In order to maintain good health conditions it is necessary to take care of ourselves in whole,  not only by regular fitness, equilibrated and well-balanced diet, in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats,  but also by supplementing our diet with micronutrients of those vitamins and minerals, that are essential for our wellbeing and unfortunately, more and more often such micronutrients are lacking in common diets for the pollution, due to wrong storing condition of foodstuffs and prolonged cooking time.

Cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and the inflammatory process

Cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase are the two families of enzymes that are commonly involved in the inflammatory process, through a complex of reactions which is called arachidonic acid cascade. This complex of reactions develops as follows: a first enzyme, a phospholipase cleaves the phospholipids of biological membranes, releasing arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid with 20 carbon atoms (eicosa-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-tetraenoic acid ; C20:4; ω-6). The arachidonic acid is then transformed by two parallel enzymatic pathways, that is, by two families of enzymes: the cyclooxygenase which transforms it into prostaglandins and thromboxanes and the lipooxygenase which transforms it into hydroperoxides which in turn transform into leukotrienes .
There are two cyclooxygenase isoforms indicated with type 1 and type 2, briefly COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is the enzyme present in most cells (except red blood cells), and is constitutive, that is, it is always present. COX-2 is an inducible cyclooxygenase isoform: it is constitutively present in some organs such as brain, liver, kidney, stomach, heart and vascular system, while it can be induced (i.e. developed if necessary) following inflammatory stimuli on the skin, white blood cells and muscles.
There are various types of lipooxygenase that lead to different products, the most important in the inflammatory process is 5-lipooxygenase, 5-LOX.

Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes

Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes are chemical messengers or mediators, that is, molecules that bring a message to specific cells and activate or deactivate metabolic responses in these cells. They, therefore, have a function similar to hormones, only that, unlike what hormones do, the chemical message is carried only at a short distance, that is, only to the cells that are in the vicinity of the place where the mediators were produced. There are different prostaglandins, different thromboxanes and different leukotrienes that carry specific messages. In many cases these act as mediators of the inflammatory process , therefore they trigger all the events that are involved in inflammation:
– vasodilation with consequent blood supply (redness),
– increased capillary permeability with consequent fluid exudation (swelling or edema),
– stimulation of nociceptive nerve signals (pain),
– on-site recall of immune system cells that attack a possible invader (chemotactic action)
– activation of the biosynthesis of fibrous tissue to strengthen or repair the affected part (even if there is no need)
– generations of free radicals that can chemically destroy an invader (but also damage our tissues, i.e. they just “shoot in the middle”).
Prostaglandins and thromboxanes, however, also play important physiological roles in normal conditions, i.e. in the absence of inflammation. For example, they regulate the secretion of mucus that protects the walls of the stomach, they regulate the biosynthesis of cartilages and synovial fluid in the joints, they regulate vasodilation, hence the correct flow of blood in the various local districts, and more.


Triglycerides are the main components of most oils and fats. These are heavy, non-volatile and little polar molecules, insoluble in water, made up of glycerol (or glycerin) esterified with three molecules of fatty acids: therefore, it is a tri-ester of glycerin, from which the name derives. Each fatty acid contains 8 to 22 carbon atoms (commonly 16 to 18) and can be saturated, mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated. The size of the fatty acids and their saturation determines the physical and sensorial properties of the triglycerides, which can appear as oils (liquids at room temperature) or fats (solid or semi-solid) and can have greater or less greasiness and smoothness on the skin. Unsaturated triglycerides or with shorter fatty acids are more fluid and have greater flowability.

Fatty acids (saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated)

The name fatty acids is commonly used to indicate those organic acids that are found in the composition of lipids, that is, in animal and vegetable oils and fats, both in the free form and in the form of esters with glycerol (e.g. in triglycerides), or they are esterified with “fatty” alcohols, that is, long chain alcohols, to form waxes. Fatty acids are carboxylic acids (formula R-COOH) which have a long carbon chain (R), unlike common organic acids such as acetic acid and propionic acid, which have 2 or 3 carbon atoms in total, respectively. Fatty acids are defined as saturatedif they do not have double carbon-carbon bonds, (called “unsaturations”), they are defined mono-unsaturated if they have only one, they are defined mono-unsaturatedpoly-unsaturated if they have two or more double bonds (see figure). The term omega-3 (ω-3) or omega-6 (ω-3), refers to the position of the first double bond starting from the bottom of the chain of carbon atoms: if the first double bond is encountered after 3 carbon atoms the fatty acid is classified as omega-3 , if after six carbon atoms omega-6 , as shown in the figure. The most common saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms and no double bond, C16: 0) and stearic acid (18 carbon atoms, 18: 0), the most common mono-unsaturated is the oleic acid, typical of olive oil (18 carbon atoms and 1 double bond in position 9, C18: 1; ω-9), while the most common poly-unsaturated are linoleic acid and linolenic acid, progenitors respectively omega-6 and omega-3 (see figure).

Terpenes and terpenoids

Terpenes or terpenoids are a large family of natural molecules, typically containing 10 to 30 carbon atoms, which are biosynthesized from a common “brick”, isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), containing 5 carbon atoms (see figure). The discovery that the repetitive brick consists of 5 carbon atoms is relatively recent, while it was once assumed that the entire family was created by repeating a brick of 10 carbon atoms, which was called “terpene”. Therefore, the molecules with 10 carbon atoms (such as limonene, see figure) were called mono-terpenes, i.e. composed of a single brick, diterpenes those with 20 carbon atoms (e.g. the cafestol that gives the aroma to the coffee), triterpenes those with 30 carbon atoms (e.g. beta-carotene). Since molecules made from 15 carbon atoms were also found (such as bisabolol), it was thought they contained a terpene and a half, and were called sesquiterpenes (from the Latin semis = half + atque = and). Today it is known that the repetitive unit is composed of 5 carbon atoms, therefore it is easy to understand how mono-terpenes contain two (see figure), sesquiterpenes three, diterpenes four, triterpenes six.