The food we eat gives our bodies the “information” and materials they need to function properly. If we don’t get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines. If we get too much food, or food that gives our bodies the wrong instructions, we can become overweight, undernourished, and at risk for the development of diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. In short, what we eat is central to our health. Consider that in light of Webster’s definition of medicine: ” The science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease. Food acts as medicine–to maintain, prevent, and treat disease. The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. This quote from a popular textbook describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop.
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Keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight. Deficiencies in some key nutrients – such as vitamin A, B, C and E, and zinc, iron and selenium – can weaken parts of your immune system. More about vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fibre found in whole grains can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More about type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating a portion of oily fish – such as salmon and trout – each week can also help to lower your risk of developing heart disease.