What is it? Do we need it? How do we get it?
When talking about the general importance of nutrition and why it is so critical to our well-being, I think this can be summed up with two very simple questions.
1) What are our physical bodies made of?
2) What runs (fuels) our physical bodies?
By definition, nutrition is the combination of processes by which the body receives and utilizes the materials (nutrients) necessary to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis in this context is concerned with the maintenance of organ systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, nervous, etc. in a dynamic state of equilibrium and balance. To put it simply, nutrition is the process by which a living being takes in food and uses it to live and grow. The food consumed is metabolized (broken down) into a vast array of life enhancing nutrients including carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, glyconutrients, probiotics, amino acids, lignans, and more. Nutrients defined are substances obtained from food and used by the body to promote growth, maintenance, and/or repair of body. cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
With these simple definitions of nutrition and nutrients, I think it is evident that nutrition is critical to our health. wellness, fitness, and performance and we need to be concerned on how to supply our bodies with optimal amounts.
Our entire physical body including skin, bones, blood, tendons, nerves, cartilage, muscle, organs, hormones, RNA and DNA etc. are synthesized (built) from the nutrients we supply it everyday. These same nutrients not only supply the raw materials to synthesize these elements, but as mentioned earlier they also keep the various systems of the body running efficiently. In addition, the energy nutrients of carbohydrate, protein, and fat gives us the ability to perform our daily activities be it work, play, or relaxation.
The effects of nutrition also extend from one generation to the next, and this is particularly evident during pregnancy. Research has demonstrated that the poor nutrition of a woman during pregnancy can impair the health of not only her children, but also of her grandchildren even after they have become adults.
Also, the nutrition of a girl in her teens will help determine the soundness of her skeleton when she is 80 years old, and the nutrition of a boy in his teens will affect his chances of contracting heart disease decades later. Remember, 45% of the gain in bone mass occurs between conception and age 8 - another 45% from ages 8 to 16 and the remaining 10% over the next decade. By our mid twenties we need to have accumulated our nutritional stores of for a lifetime of strong and healthy bones.
C. Evert Koop, former Surgeon General has stated that 8 out of the 10 leading causes of disease are dietary related and out of 2.1 million annual deaths, more than 1/2 at 1.6 million have their roots in poor nutrition.
The human body is composed of around 600 trillion cells with each one acting like a biological battery that generates life. Most if not all these cells "turnover" and make new cells many times throughout our lifetime. Through our lifestyle habits and nutritional intake, we do have a choice whether our existing cells are replaced by vibrant healthy cells or weakened diseased cells. The nutrients we feed out bodies on a daily basis has a major impact on this issue.
Most degenerative diseases are believed to be due to the cells in our bodies being replaced by weakened and diseased cells. This same principle applies to all ages, from infants to the elderly. So those people who say they feel good now and don't believe that need to eat and supplement properly, need to keep in mind the choice they have made in terms of cellular "turnover." With proper lifestyle habits and nutrition intake it is believed that 60% to 90% of all degenerative diseases can be prevented and/or reversed. As nutritional and wellness research continues, this is an absolute truth and I personally believe this could be in the range of 90% to 100%.
A good way to demonstrate this on a small scale is to cut an apple in halves. Cover one half with freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice, which has many of these protective nutrients. Leave the other half unprotected without the lemon or orange juice. The results - the protected half will stay its natural color, as the unprotected half turns brown with disease. The very same process will happen within our unprotected bodies. Most "age spots" any many skin blemishes are actually this oxidation process reaching the surface of the body.
WE DO HAVE A CHOICE