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Good health is largely dependent on good nutrition, so much so that doctors trace many physical and emotional ailments back to a diet deficient in vitamins and minerals. Food is the primary source for health and nutrition, although vitamins and supplements act as substitutes. Many medicines and drugs designed to improve health contain synthetic replicas of enzymes and chemicals found in nutrient-dense foods. A well-balanced diet that offers consistent nutrition is often extolled for encouraging long life, lowering the incidence of disease, and helping sick people recover. In contrast, inadequate nutrition and poor-quality foods can generally cut life span and subject a person to a range of diseases and deformities.
The body needs fuel and building-blocks in order to create the energy it needs for metabolism, elimination of wastes, and execution of its immune, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous, and respiratory systems. Individual parts of the body rely on specific nutrients. For example, the brain depends on carbohydrates, fatty acids, iron, iodine, and B-12 vitamins in order to function with clarity and efficiency. Bone health depends on calcium and boron; protein and potassium are some of the nutrients that fuel muscle health. Constipation, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids can be greatly reduced by eating enough fiber so that the colon is healthy enough to work properly.
A balanced combination of foods can usually provide all the health and nutrition necessary to excel at most daily activities. Daily needs for most everyone include four or more servings of fruits and vegetables, three or more servings of protein, and four or more servings of breads and cereal. At least two servings of dairy are also recommended by dieticians. Health and nutrition labels on the back of so-called junk foods reveal that most of them lack substantial vitamins, minerals, and nutritional value. Many physicians recommend avoiding such processed and prepackaged junk food altogether.
Wellness-seekers often plan their meals ahead of time to ensure regular health and nutrition. One general rule that many people follow is the plan to eat one protein, one dairy, one fruit, and one bread or cereal item for breakfast. The protein can be red meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, or even algae. For lunch, a general guideline is to eat one protein, one fruit, one milk item, and one bread item. Two vegetables at dinner along with one protein, one fruit and one grain can cap the day and deliver all the required servings of the various food groups.