Research shows that dietary habits influence disease risk. While certain foods may trigger chronic health conditions, others offer strong medicinal and protective qualities. Thus, many people argue that food is medicine. Yet, diet alone cannot and should not replace medicine in all circumstances. Although many illnesses can be prevented, treated, or even cured by dietary and lifestyle changes, many others cannot. Many nutrients in food promote health and protect your body from disease. Eating whole, nutritious foods is important because their unique substances work synergistically to create an effect that can’t be replicated by taking a supplement. Although your body only needs small amounts of vitamins and minerals, they’re vital for your health. However, Western diets — high in processed foods and low in whole foods like fresh produce — are typically deficient in vitamins and minerals. Such deficiencies can substantially increase your risk of disease. Nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, and
grains, boast numerous beneficial
compounds, such as antioxidants. On the other hand, research indicates that diets abundant in plant foods and low in processed products strengthen your health.
For instance, the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables, is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, neurodegenerative conditions, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity.