The dangers of heart disease, obesity, and depression are only a few reasons why you should invest in nutrition.
In 2019, there were nearly 65 million gym memberships in the United States, totaling nearly $35 billion in revenue. Why then, with so much of the population having access to gyms, are so many Americans unhealthy, overweight, and overmedicated? One of the leading reasons is because of our country’s poor eating choices. And it’s why you should invest in nutrition.
I am the first to say that going to the gym, being active indoors and outdoors, and working out is extremely beneficial for your body and mind. But I will also say that if your eating does not match your workout regime, then you will never have the long-term goals you are looking for. Why? Because having a healthy physique is only one piece of the puzzle. If your insides are bogged down from years (or decades) of eating unhealthy, then eventually, even your physically fit appearance can start breaking down because your insides always match your outside.
Why Is Nutrition So Important?
Nutrition is the foundation that everything else is structured upon. It’s what helps you build and maintain muscle. It’s what (truly) helps you lose weight. And nutrition is what keeps your cells, organs, blood, and tissue functioning optimally. Working out helps with all of these but it is nutrition that is the ultimate game changer.
Nutrition changes the health game for several reasons:
1. It deals with your second brain
Did you know we had two brains? Okay, we really don’t, but our gut is often referred to as our “second brain.” Its main role is to control digestion, everything from swallowing to releasing enzymes that help break down our food. Even monitoring blood flow, which helps with everything from absorbing nutrients to elimination, is housed in our gut (ENS, or enteric nervous system). When our gut is not functioning properly, nothing we eat, whether it is healthy or not, can be properly absorbed, which can starve our cells and organs of what they need.
Investing in nutrition can help heal your gut with proper foods and supplements, ultimately getting your second brain to work optimally, which communicates constantly with your first brain.
2. Nutrition targets inflammation
Any good nutrition expert will address inflammation in the body. Inflammation can take many forms in the body: weight gain or inability to lose weight, memory fog, joint pain, allergies, and disease. So much of the food Americans consume is known to cause severe inflammation: gluten, dairy, excess red meat, to name a few. Reducing or eliminating some of these foods can greatly decrease inflammation inside the body, which will have positive results on the outside of the body.
3. Nutrition is completely unique to you
Did you know that every diet works but not every diet may work for you? The truth is, there is no one-plan-for-all in nutrition. There are general rules of thumb that, after extensive research, have shown to be beneficial across the board, but since each of us have completely unique DNA, one nutrition protocol may not work as well for another.
Take for example, our blood types. Did you know that there is a comprehensive nutrition protocol based on your blood type? Naturopath Peter J. D’Adamo’s research suggests that eating for your blood type can help you lose weight and have better overall health.
But some people who have a blood type that suggests eating a plethora of walnuts may have an acute allergy to walnuts. What if someone with a blood type that suggests eating tomatoes suffers from rheumatoid arthritis? Well, tomatoes (which are a part of the nightshade family) can be extremely reactive for them.
So it is important to know your blood type. It’s important to know your allergies or food sensitivities. And then it’s imperative to create your own personal nutrition plan.
4 Ways You Can Invest in Nutrition
There are several ways to invest in your own nutrition:
1. Hire a nutritionist
If you are feeling stuck about what to eat, how much to eat, and what steps you need to take to meet your health goals, then hiring a nutritionist can be a great option. Make sure any expert you hire has a game plan for healing your gut and addressing inflammation, as these two factors are key for optimal wellness. Talk with them about their program and make sure it fits with your lifestyle and budget. Bonus: if they do DNA food sensitivities testing, you can get a clear picture of the foods that may be sneakily causing inflammation in the first place. I say that’s a win!
2. Buy better
If hiring a nutritionist is not in the budget right now, then start by buying better. I realize that buying everything organic can be very expensive, but start slowly opting for organic when possible. If you need to pick and choose what to buy organic and what doesn’t need to be, use the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and buy these items organic:
- Kale, collards, and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
According to the EWG, these are the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, so buying these organic is essential. Pesticides are known hormone-disruptors and carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
3. Start a health journey
Along with buying more organic produce, you can also invest in your own nutrition by learning more about yourself. So many people do not even know what blood type they are. Find out and then consider reading about the blood type diet for your blood type. There are foods based on each blood type that are labeled beneficial, neutral, or foods to avoid. Eat more of the beneficial and neutral foods, and begin staying away from the foods to avoid. Document your own findings and watch as you become your own health expert!
You could also conduct your own elimination diet, which will greatly eliminate inflammation out of your body. And the bonus is that after you eliminate all potentially problematic foods for approximately 30 days, you will be able to self-test foods to see whether or not you experience food sensitivities, now that they have been out of your system for an extended period of time.
It must be noted that regardless of blood type, fitness level, or even shoe size, greatly reducing (or eliminating) packaged and processed foods and simple carbs (cookies, crackers, chips, etc.) will be beneficial for anyone wanting to enjoy better health and wellness.
4. Be your own health advocate
You have many resources to take your health into your own hands. We live in a country where we absolutely must be our own health advocate and in some cases, our own health experts. Learn about which foods nourish you and which ones don’t. If you have the resources to hire a nutrition expert to help you along the way, then I think that is one of the best investments you can make.