An interest in eating well naturally led to taking some courses in nutrition. The following is a look into nutrition from the perspective of the microbiome:
The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the coexistence of malnutrition in overwieght/obese persons and individuals stunted or wasted (due to undernourishment) as a double burden*. This double burden includes individuals suffering from non-communicable diet related diseases, and the inclusion of these forms of undernourishment at an individual, family, or population level.
In a family unit, members can experience varying forms of this double burden. One family member’s food access might be insufficient for growth, resulting in low weight for height or low height for weight. Later in life, and upon increased access to food sources, this individual may suffer from obesity due to an over abundance of nutrient deficient foods and the body’s compromised ability to process a diet of highly processed, high fat foods. Another family member may experience diet related auto-immune disorders, like allergies. These varying experiences, even among individuals with similar genetic makeup, can be investigated from the perspective of the gut microbiome. Early life plays a major role in the composition of microbiota of the digestive system, from type of delivery (vaginal or caesarian section) to breastfeeding to the use of antibiotics. The composition of an individual’s gut microbiome is continually evolving throughout life- being affected by diet, lifestyle, and environmental influences.
In an effort to promote health, policy makers have enacted taxes on sugary drinks to discourage consumption of certain nutrient deficient foods. These efforts are met with mixed feelings- some are supportive of regulation and others are concerned with increased regulation. WHO, and any health organization with influence, has an opportunity to share information for possible health related diet and lifestyle choices. It is credible organizations sharing data and research as it becomes available, which keeps the public well informed. Because of the transfer of gut microbiota from mother to child during childbirth and through breastfeeding, the education of prospective parents is key to giving children a diverse microbial start in life. Aside from education, possible strides toward the reduction of malnutrition might include making nutrient dense foods accessible and commonplace.
Accessibility and promotion of nutrient dense foods is the ongoing focus at Penelope Jane Farm.