What Even Is Nutrition? Does It Matter?

First Off!

Let me answer question #2 right off the bat: HELL YES IT DOES! Nutrition is amazing! It’s the study of food’s effect on your body! Every bit of food that you consume affects your body-for better or worse-in some unique way! It’s amazing how so much goes on inside of us at all times, especially when we eat. We have a whole system dedicated to handling the food we consume, the Gastrointestinal Tract.

Nutrition is an amazing field of science that is relatively new in terms of research and experimentation; although there is evidence of humans being aware of food’s effects on the body that date back as early as sixth century BC. In writings by Hippocrates of Cos, known as the father of clinical medicine, he outlines the need for exercise to maintain a healthy body, that food provides materials to repair worn down parts, and that food generates energy1,2.

We’ve literally been telling people to eat well and exercise since the sixth century and we’re still getting fatter (I tried to find a facepalm gif or picture, but couldn’t, so imagine someone’s palm going through their face from the sheer frustration of all of this mess).

Anyway, to put it in a way that-hopefully-gets you to care a bit more about this science is that nutrition is the study of nutrients and substances in food and how they affect the human body.

But Why Should I Care?

Glad you asked! Here’s an example: I currently work at the rec center at my university. At the time of this story, I was a Facility Manager so my job was to supervise the building and ensure no one was getting hurt or fighting someone when they got dunked on.

One night, I got a call on the radio from one of my staff telling me a patron didn’t feel well. I rush over to find a student looking scared and breathing rapidly. He told me he felt lightheaded and that he was going to pass out. I asked him if he ate anything before he came to work out to which he shook his head to say “no”. Knowing this, I was confident that his blood sugar was too low, so I asked one of my staff to bring a few cookies that we had left over from an event and some water (dehydration may have also been a culprit). After about 10 minutes of staying with him while he ate and drank, he started to feel better, move around more, and breathe more controlled. We called medical services to ensure he was okay, and sure enough, his blood sugar was low.

Had I not known that eating raises your blood sugar, I would not have known to give him something to eat, which could have turned his lightheadedness into something much worse if he fell or dropped a weight on his self while lifting. Even dropping a 2½ lb weight plate on your foot freaking hurts.

While this is a minor example, it should help you understand that nutrition is extremely important not only to your short-term health status, but also long-term.

One more example and then I’m done: Women should be concerned with proper calcium intake because their peak bone density is typically lower than males and drops sharply post-menopause. No one wants broken bones! I’ve broken three limbs jumping off the bed and doing weird spin kick things at open gym; it’s not fun.

I hope this article has inspired you to develop a sense of curiosity about nutrition because there are so many ways it affects you, and knowing about some of the substances in food and why they affect you in certain ways is invaluable not only to your health, but also the health of your loved ones.

Check back in with me frequently for information and learning regarding nutrition, exercise, and whatever else I feel like people should know like ‘Mexican’ is not a language. It’s a dialect of Spanish. Side rant, but being Costa Rican and having people ask if I speak Mexican makes me want to throw sharp objects at them.

Keep learnin’ ya’ll.

References

1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19567383

2Terrors of the Table-The Curious History of Nutrition

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