What makes a diet “healthy”? What does the word “healthy” even mean? Each of us might picture something different when we think of a healthy diet, and if you travel around the world, you’ll find even more variation in how people define this term.
Indeed, humans are incredibly flexible when it comes to food. We are omnivores, and we can survive and thrive on a wide variety of different foods. The foods that nourish our bodies are often the same foods that nourish our souls, bringing us together with friends and family, celebrating traditions and conjuring memories of meals past.
We’ll begin our study of nutrition by zooming in on nutrients—the molecules in food that nourish us—to begin to understand what each gives us. Then, we’ll zoom back out to consider some tools for choosing foods that will together provide us with all the nutrients we need. Because whatever the deep and complex meanings that food brings to our lives and our culture, we also want to choose foods that will enable us to be well, to fuel our activities, to prevent disease, and to live long, healthy lives.