Approximately 7 million years ago, Australopithecus populated the Earth. The wearing patterns on their teeth of this support a largely herbivorous diet, meaning that, while although the meat of small animals gradually made its way into the human diet after this era, the majority of foods eaten for a long time were plant-based.
The first Homo sapiens were hunter-gatherers: hunting, fishing, and gathering were the different methods they used to find food. Their diet, therefore, changed with the cycles of the climate and seasons.
Diet was generally well balanced. Fiber intake was very high and fat consumption relatively low and of good quality (mostly plant-based polyunsaturated fatty acids). Lean protein came from hunting game and gathering wild grains and plants. The only sugars in existence were whole food sugars essentially from fruit.
As lifestyles changed, people became less nomadic, villages grew into towns, towns grew into cities, agriculture was on the rise, the land was cultivated, and traditional agricultural work was soon supplanted by industrialization.
The 20th century saw a true change in the way people ate, especially after the birth of supermarkets, and the rapid increase in industrial processing. Prepared meals and frozen foods became staples of grocery store aisles.
Unfortunately, as the quantity and accessibility of many food products increased, the quality of those food products also decreased. As did the quantity of animal-based foods, unhealthy fats, and refined flours and sugars that were being consumed.
And as the quality of food decreased, we saw a rise in associated pathologies: hypo and hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, an imbalance in the mechanisms that control satiety, as well as obesity. And then insulin resistance, inflammation, diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke, autoimmune disorders, and so on.
Many people understand that what they eat affects their digestive system, and it does.
Poor nutrition contributes to most digestive dis-ease, from indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux, to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulitis, colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
What many people don’t realize is that nutrition also plays a huge role in epigenetics, and can flip the switch on the diseases that they have a genetic predisposition for, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, and heart diseases, diabetes, and many more.
The truth is, what we eat affects absolutely every single function of our entire bodies, inside and out. It affects us physically, mentally, and emotionally, it affects the efficacy of our organs, the lubrication of our joints, the strength of our bones and teeth, the production of our hormones, our fertility, our cognitive capacity and so very much more.
In summary: The food we put into our bodies does only one of two things, helps us or harms us. That’s why food matters.