The phrase “good nutrition” usually conjures up thoughts of losing weight by eating healthy. Its because eating more vegetables usually lowers the amount of calories you’re consuming. But you can lower your calories, eat junk food, and still lose weight as demonstrated by a K-State professor who lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks. So why eat healthy?
Well, sugary junk foods have serious drawbacks. They’re designed to make you crave more. It takes dedication to eat only small servings to keep yourself at a calorie deficit. Another problem? Nutrients. Our food is the fuel and building blocks for our body.
Building the body
Its no mystery that proper nutrition is vital to a growing child. Without adequate energy or the right vitamins and minerals, growth may be stunted or abnormal. But even after childhood, nutrition is still just as important.
We’re actually building new cells all the time, even in adulthood. If our cells didn’t replace themselves, wear and tear would create holes in our skin and digestive tracts and donating blood would be next to impossible. Where do we get the building blocks for these new cells? The food we eat.
The expression, “You are what you eat.” really holds true when you figure how often most of the tissues of your body are repair or replacing themselves. With the exception of some nerve cells, the lens of the eye, and female reproductive egg cells our bodies are constantly in a cycle of tearing down and rebuilding.
While there are many tissues replacement cycles that have been studied, we’re going to focus on some important ones.
The life span of a red blood cell is approximately 4 months. If our body wasn’t filtering out older red blood cells, our ability to transport oxygen would be gravely effected. Without proper amounts of iron, B12, protein, and some other nutrients, nutritional anemia is possible.
White blood cells are a critical part of our immune system. Without them, we’d be at the mercy of invading bacteria and viruses. These cells last for only a few days. Eosinophils, responsible for fighting parasites, last for about 2 to 5 days.
With just 25% of an original liver, full regeneration can occur. It’s an incredibly resilient organ and that’s a good thing. The liver helps us process and detoxify molecules absorbed in the digestive track as well as numerous other processes in the body. It’s estimated, from experiments with mice, that the liver replaces itself in about 6 months to 1 year.
Skin and epithelium
Our skin, and the linings of our mouth and digestive tract, are constantly subjected to abrasive forces. Without replacing them, we’d be in danger of open sores and ulcers. We’d also be unable to heal cuts. Depending on the area, epithelial tissue turns over around 10 to 20 days.
Good nutrition is for more than just weight loss. It is the very building blocks of our bodies. Eating right for a few days can help the immune cells function at their optimum. A few weeks could result in healthier skin. A few months and you’re on your way to better oxygen transportation in the blood. Imagine what consistently eating healthy could do for you!
For recommendations on how to shop and eat healthier, check out our other post, squeezing whole foods out of a tight budget. Or reach out to us and leave us a comment.