The Nutrition-Health Connection
One of the biggest contributors to our health is the food we eat. Sometimes, we merely associate food with our immediate energy levels or how much we weigh, but food, both in quantity and quality, affects significantly more than those simple issues. If we can change our food choices and eat well, we can live better.
Nutrition can be defined as the nutrients required by our body to perform necessary functions to stay alive. These nutrients can be generally categorized as macro-nutrients (fats, protein, and carbohydrates) and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). When our digestion is working properly, it breaks down the foods we eat into the smallest individual components (i.e. a fatty acid, an amino acid, a vitamin), and then it uses those components to build and repair tissue and to catalyze other processes such as digestion, hormone balancing, detoxification, reactions to stress, or neurological functions.
Given this knowledge of nutrition, we can now understand how food and nutrition is essential to optimal health, and lack of adequate nutrition, whether because we are not eating the right foods or because our body isn’t able to absorb the nutrients properly, could lead to disorders and diseases.
Did you know?
- A number of health issues, including blocked arteries, cholesterol imbalances and many forms of cancer have been shown to be preventable with better quality food choices by reducing the number of free-radicals in the body.
- Excess weight can be due to toxins in the body caused by non-organic foods and everyday environmental pollutants.
- Nutritional deficiencies may be the root cause of common psychological disorders such as depression.
- Food allergies and intolerances are linked to many common health issues such as attention disorders, autoimmune disorders, and weight gain.
- Acid-reducing medications could be causing malabsorption of nutrients, leading to a number of health issues.
- Headaches are not just a daily nuisance and can be directly related to your food choices.
- Tap water and even some filtered water may be lowering your thyroid function.
- Arthritis can sometimes be caused by inflammatory foods or food allergies/sensitivities.
- If you’re just beginning to consider nutrition as a contributing factor to your health, the best place to start is by evaluating and adjusting your diet. Here are some actions you can start with:
- Remove processed foods and replace them with whole foods.
- Ensure you are getting plenty of fibrous vegetables, aiming for no less than 3 and preferably 5 or more servings a day.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats, like olive oil or salmon.
- And limit your intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol.
Even a little change can make a difference. Start by adding one extra serving of vegetables, then slowly reduce how much sugar you eat. After a while, you’ll begin noticing how much change you’ve made to your diet and the effect it’s had on how you feel.
If you’ve been consuming a well-rounded diet, it may be time to look deeper to ensure the nutrition is right for you. Some people need more fats while others need more protein. Some people cannot eat dairy and eggs while others thrive on those very ingredients. There is no one perfect nutrition plan, and even your needs can change based on the demands in your life. Begin experimenting with your diet by removing or adding foods to see how you feel. Consider completing an elimination diet or even having blood work to determine your nutrient levels. Once again, make the changes gradually as you can manage them, and it won’t be long before you find the diet that helps you feel your best!
Could your nutrition be connected to some of those less-than-ideal states you find yourself in? Learn more about holistic philosophies to health and how your physical, mental, and emotional states are interconnected.
Discover the difference between whole vs processed foods and what's best for health.
Consider joining the Moms Wellness Academy to learn more and begin taking steps to improving your health.