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Health, Food and Diet

Your body performs much better if you offer it the right fuel.

In most respects, variety is the spice of life. That's certainly true of the food we eat. It's perilous to eliminate any food groups from our diet. The thought of very low-carb or very low-protein or very low-fat diets horrifies me. For most of us these types of diet are monotonous and, unless we are very careful, leave our bodies short of one or more essential nutrients.

The best diet we can eat is a wide-variety diet. Human beings are naturally omnivorous. Our bodies thrive if we give them lots of different types of food. The wider the variety, the less the chance we'll miss out on a nutrient.

There is evidence, however, that the modern food we eat every day has fewer vitamins and minerals in it than the food our grandparents ate. Since some nutrients are vital for optimal health, it is advisable for most of us to take multivitamins to ensure our bodies get the nutrients they need.

A great leap science has taken in the last few years is to recognize that some foods are not only good for body function, but they also actually protect us from serious illnesses.

The nutrients that provide yellow, orange and red colors in fruit and vegetables actively fight the free radical molecules that can cause cancer and heart disease.

Agents in the onion food group, including garlic and leeks fight viruses such as influenza.

Enzymes in apples also inhibit disease in cells - grandma was right, an apple a day does keep the doctor away.

There is a large body of evidence now that many fruits and vegetables contain beneficial chemicals that we simply don't get from vitamin pills. That's why dietitians recommend we all eat at least five helpings of fruit and / or vegetables every day.

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Consult a physician before changing your diet or beginning an exercise program.