Nutrition is the process of receiving nourishment to sustain life. It refers to the gut’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from our meals and the body’s capacity to convert those nutrients into fuel, building materials, or medicine.
Most people think of nutrition as the information on a food package: calories, fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. But that is only part of the picture because food also contains substances that are active in the body, but never listed on the label, such as herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics, or flavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidants.
New research has revealed that food is information, information which instructs our genes to turn on or off. Depending which genes are turned on/off, the body can move in the direction of chronic disease or, toward health and vitality.
Another key aspect of food is its impact on the microbiome. The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of microorganisms, which we cannot live without. These bacteria and other organisms protect the gut from pathogens, support the immune response, aid in food digestion, and produce nutrients, like vitamins. The food we eat directs our microbiome to a good balance of commensal organisms, or it allows opportunistic and pathogenic organisms to grow in excess.