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Food and health

The food we eat gives our bodies the "information" and materials they need to function properly. If we don't get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines.One component of Functional Medicine focuses on how diet impacts health and function. When Functional Medicine practitioners examine the role of nutrition in chronic disease, they look at multiple systems, such as the digestive system, the immune system, and the detoxification system, because of the interconnections between those systems. For instance, because 80% of the immune system is contained in the gastrointestinal system, a person's issues with immunity could be related to faulty digestion.

In short, what we eat is central to our health.  Consider that in light of Webster's definition of medicine: "The science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease."

The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. This quote from a popular textbook describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning.

"Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop."

- Perspectives in Nutrition, Wardlow and Insel Get examples of food as information

In other words, nutrients give our bodies instructions about how to function. In this sense, food can be seen as a source of "information" for the body. 

Thinking about food in this way gives us a view of nutrition that goes beyond calories or grams, good foods or bad foods. This view leads us to focus on foods we should include rather than foods to exclude.

Instead of viewing food as the enemy, we look to food as a way to create health and reduce disease by helping the body maintain function.

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