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Nutrition is essential for human health, as demonstrated by the past prevalence of nutrient deficiency diseases. Dietary fortification and supplementation programs have eliminated the development of essential nutrient deficiency diseases. Nevertheless, many people in developed countries die from chronic diseases that could be prevented by focusing on nutrition rather than drugs.

The current level of interest in nutrition reflects the widespread belief that what we eat has a major impact on our health. This belief is supported by epidemiologic studies that show large increases in chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, when a population moves from rural to urban life. In addition, individuals, who move from rural areas to metropolitan areas, or those who migrate from one part of the world to another, often live longer in their adopted country than they did in their native country. These observations suggest that diet is essential to human health and longevity.

Nutritional supplements have become a popular part of our modern diet. These naturally occurring compounds have been shown to play a role in the long-term health of the heart, bones, joints, eyes, and nervous system.

The association between diet and chronic degenerative diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disease) has been studied extensively. While the science is still evolving, it is clear that specific dietary patterns are linked to a lower risk of chronic disease. Therefore, managing your diet to maximize health may be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

In recent years, researchers have explored the potential role of nutritional supplements as possible components of a healthy diet. As a result, some supplementation has become an accepted part of modern healthcare practices. This includes the role of calcium and vitamin D supplements in maintaining healthy bone density, folic acid supplements in preventing specific congenital disabilities, and the role of antioxidant supplementation in heart health.

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