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 Diets: Diets 

Balancing the diet is what is needed. This often requires developing new tastes. And sometimes it involves taking some supplements to assure that we consume some hard-to-get nutrients or those that may be deficient in our soil or foods, as well as more of those nutrients that help protect us against cancer and atherosclerosis, such as the fish oils and the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium.

Historically, the evolution of our diet began with the nomadic tribes who moved with the seasons, eating those foods available through hunting and gathering. With more stable village life, we had to learn anew to feed ourselves, to cultivate, to store, and to prepare foods to feed the growing numbers of people. Both farming and hunting were necessary for survival. And these were influenced by the climates and the spirits. Droughts or floods affected feasts or famines and health and disease.

Different areas of the world had different foods available, and this led to the cultural-type diets. Knowledge and recipes to nourish the family were passed from generation to generation. Each generation usually added something new. And the increase in food cultivation and industrialization went hand in hand with the rise in the population and urban living. More food was needed to feed the masses.

Survival was dependent on the food supply. We had to become more adaptable and learn to eat new foods and even change our diet. And we still do and we still can. Adaptability is the key to survival. Even if we have eaten a similar diet for 40 years, we can still change if we feel that shifts may be helpful. Such change is often very important for continued health or to reduce the level or incidence of many diseases. And it is even more important as we age. Changing our diet or lifestyle is not necessarily easy, but it can be done, and it may influence many other aspects of our life for the better.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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