In this course, we will explore the function of food consumption patterns, individual foods, and specific food constituents (nutrients and phytochemicals) in the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A portion of the course will focus on foods, nutrients, and their contributions to reducing the risk for infectious disease. As we voyage to different parts of Africa and Asia, we will examine the cultural origins of local food practices as well as the mechanisms through which such food patterns and food components are used to treat various medical conditions. The efficacy of foods purported to provide health benefits will be examined within the context of nutrient availability and metabolism, as well as results of published scientific studies. Students will develop skills in critically examining the quality of the evidence.
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