Nutrition – the things we consume – is arguably the most important modifiable factor in determining the health outcomes you experience, maybe in combination with sleep. The foods we consume determine much of the enjoyment we get from mealtimes and as I’m sure you’re more than aware they also modify your bodyweight, but food is far more than that.
The foods that we eat provide the macronutrients required to build and maintain muscle mass, which enables proper movement and significantly reduces our age-associated physical decline. They provide the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) which support our immune system to fight off disease, to maintain strong hair and nails, and the nutrients needed to maintain skin elasticity long into later life.
Your nutritional choices can even modify certain genes through epigenetics, switching some on and some off to modify your risk of chronic disease, and even affecting your development. Even your hydration status alters your reaction time, performance on cognitive tasks, and ability to properly regulate your core temperature.
But beyond this, the foods you eat are a part of your life and that means that the view of food only as something that supports, promotes (or limits), and generally alters health and body composition is entirely incomplete. Your food choices aren’t dictated by their effect on health (at least not entirely) but on your personal, social, cultural, economic, and situational circumstances. Hunger is regulated not only by physical need but by your sleep quality, your habits, and the subconscious choices of which you’re not aware. The way you interact with food is dictated by the people around you and your day to day stress as much as it is by wanting to stay healthy.
Food is fuel, but it’s also culture, celebration, enjoyment, and an effective method of soothing.
Because of this we at The BTN Academy believe that it’s important that we all know the fundamental principles of good nutrition. Not because this can make us all “better people” who only eat handpicked, local, organic vegetables that were read bedtime stories and watered with the sweat of angels, but because this understanding allows us to juggle the often conflicting intentions of maintaining proper health, and enjoying a pizza with friends or loved ones.
If that sounds good to you, consider our highly engaging AfN Certified Foundation Academy, which right now is FREE to those aged 16-18 who want to take it on. It’s all online and will take roughly 40 hours to complete. There really is no downside, and we hope to see you there.