The food we consume plays a vital role in providing our bodies with the necessary information and materials to function optimally. When we don’t receive the right nutrients, our metabolic processes suffer, and our overall health deteriorates. Consuming excessive or improper food can lead to weight gain, malnourishment, and an increased risk of developing various diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. In a podcast by Dr. Hyman, he highlights how healthy food acts as medicine, aiding in the maintenance and healing of diseases. Conversely, feeding our bodies with unhealthy food weakens our system, making us more susceptible to illnesses.
It is important to note, however, that diet alone cannot always replace the need for medicine. While many diseases can be prevented, treated, or even cured through dietary and lifestyle changes, there are cases where medical intervention is essential. Nutrients present in food promote health and safeguard the body from diseases. Consuming whole, nutritious foods is crucial because their unique substances work synergistically, creating an effect that cannot be replicated by taking supplements.
As a society, we are facing significant health problems, and researchers at the National Institute of Health believe that diet plays a significant role in these issues. While it was once believed that diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers were solely caused by gene mutations, Dr. Hyman explains how the food we eat greatly contributes to biological dysfunction due to the lack of balanced nutrients.
Whole, nutritious foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats, all of which promote health and are essential for optimal bodily function. Dr. Hyman explains that it is possible to meet your nutritional needs by including vegetables and protein in your diet. Fiber, an essential part of a healthy diet, aids in digestion and nourishes beneficial bacteria in the gut. Although the body requires small amounts of vitamins and minerals, they are crucial for overall health. However, highly processed foods and those lacking in whole foods, such as fresh produce, often lack these vital nutrients. Such deficiencies can significantly increase the risk of developing diseases. Protein and healthy fats found in whole, nutritious foods play vital roles in the body. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, support immune function, muscle synthesis, metabolism, and growth, while fats provide fuel and aid in nutrient absorption. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in foods like fatty fish, help regulate inflammation and are associated with improved heart and immune health.
Unhealthy diets characterized by sugary drinks, fast food, and refined grains are major contributors to conditions like diabetes and obesity. According to Dr. Hyman, these processed foods harm gut bacteria, and promote insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and overall disease risk.
Food goes beyond merely providing energy; it can either promote or worsen health depending on what we consume. A nutrient-dense diet consisting of whole foods has been shown to prevent many chronic diseases and may even help treat certain conditions. While it is evident that following a nutritious diet is crucial for living a long and healthy life, it is important to remember that conventional medicine should not be replaced solely by food. It is recommended to seek appropriate medical advice and treatment when necessary.