Where to begin? Nutrition is defined as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth”. Our nutrition starts in the womb and our bodies are literally built from the food our mothers ate. As adults our tissues and cells are constantly being turned over, destroyed, recycled and rebuilt. When you use your muscles, either to walk or to lift weights, they are broken down and rebuilt from the amino acids (proteins) you ingest. Our cell membranes are recycled constantly and the fats that we consume become our new membranes. When we eat a diet higher in trans fatty acids our membranes are less fluid and less functional than when we eat more natural fats.
We truly are what we eat.
In addition to our food creating our bodies, it is the fuel we use to run all of the biochemical processes that take place every second of every day. Our bodies are constantly creating neurotransmitters, processing chemicals, creating hormones etc. Vitamins and minerals act as the ingredients that keep everything running smoothly. When we are stressed or exposed to chemical pollutants (an everyday occurrence for most people) we require extra nutrients.
In our clinic we see patients suffering from chronic diseases and the first thing we talk about is nutrition. Every time you put food in your mouth you have the opportunity to nourish your body or harm it. The science behind nutrition is constantly changing. One day eggs are harmful the next they are good for you again. There is no one perfect diet that fits everyone. Use common sense and trust how your body feels. If it comes from a can, wrapper, box or bag, limit your consumption. If it comes from the earth, eat up in plenty!
Dr. Sara Jean Barrett is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and co-founder of Wellness Minneapolis. She is also the Vice President of the Minnesota Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a Member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Click here to learn more about Dr. Barrett.