I recently wrote and published my first book, “To Feel Well: Improve Your Digestive System”. In last week’s column we discussed the second chapter of the book entitled, “How the Digestive System Works”. In this week’s column I’d like to discuss the purpose of nutrition, which is the title of the third chapter in the book.
Nutrition is more than just obtaining nutrients and calories from food. It’s more than just eating the healthy stuff. It’s more than just following the most recent fad diet. Nutrition, the food we eat and the way we eat it, is an integral part of life. Nutrition is an experience. It evokes memories, helps us celebrate good times, and is there for us in times of grief. I believe the purpose of nutrition is to nourish the body and soul.
Nourishment is about moderation and balance. A large part of the book, including the treatment recommendations embraces moderation and balance. I believe in the 80:20 rule. This rule states that eating the healthy foods 80% of the time allows us to eat some of the less healthy treats about 20% of the time. The body is well equipped to handle small amounts of less healthy nutrients like sugar if we primarily provide it with the essential nutrients 80% or more of the time.
From a biochemical perspective one of the purposes of nutrition is to provide the building blocks for the body. There are 2 main categories of building blocks, macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients are the things we need in relatively large amounts like protein, fat, carbohydrates. Micro-nutrients are ingredients we need in relatively microscopic amounts like vitamins and minerals. An optimal dietary plan encourages proper consumption and ratios of macro and micro-nutrients.
The way we eat is almost as important as what we eat. One of the main reasons for writing the book was to bring attention to the digestive system. There are a number of great books on nutrition that help people create a healthy diet. However, there is less information for supporting and enhancing the digestive system. One of the purposes of nutrition is to keep the digestive system healthy. By reducing stress during meals, chewing food properly, and avoiding eating on the run, the digestive system can function better with the foods provided.
In next week’s column we will discuss the things that cause damage to the digestive system.
If you would like to order a copy of the book or schedule a consultation with Dr. Barlow contact his office at 250-448-5610 or visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com.