Disease Prevention Through Diet & Nutrition
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Here are three reasons why following a healthy diet is important:
- to maintain health by preventing loss of muscle strength, bone mass, and vitamin deficiency states;
- to prevent diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, and certain cancers; and
- to help control and/or treat chronic diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, and celiac disease.
The body requires carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to maintain healthy organs, bones, muscles, and nerves, and to produce hormones and chemicals that are necessary for the proper function of organs.
Vitamins and minerals are naturally occurring substances that are essential for the growth and function of the body. Vitamins and minerals are both necessary (in small amounts) for normal chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body.
Preventing and controlling diseases
Obesity and heart attacks are major public-health problems in the United States and other countries. Therefore, most dietary recommendations are aimed at preventing these two diseases. Obesity comes over time by eating more calories than the body burns. Obesity, in turn, can contribute to the development of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, liver disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, gout, gallstones, and certain cancers.
To lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it helps to eat more low-energy-dense foods. Low-energy-dense foods (such as vegetables and fruits) contain few calories per unit volume of food so that one can eat a large volume of it (for example, lettuce) without taking in many calories. One should also eat less of the high-energy-dense foods such as fats, egg yolks, fried foods, sweets, and high-fat salad dressings. Foods with a high energy density also often have high cholesterol and saturated fat content. One should also eat less of those foods that provide calories but little other nutrients, such as alcohol and many packaged snack foods.
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