This could be nutrition’s golden age, as it has become very apparent in the sciences that there’s an intricate connection between the nutrition in one’s diet and one’s health. Indeed, how could this not be so, as food is basically chemicals. When you eat, digestive enzymes break down the food into vitamins and minerals, which are then available for all the metabolic functions of the body, right down to the level of all the processes of the individual cell. Thus the very commonsense notion that nutrition and health are indisputably linked, and the obvious implication that the richer your nutrition the healthier you are likely to be.
And this golden age is given a boost as foods of all kinds in the developed world are readily available. Even out of season foods are available year round. So there is little in the way of devising a truly nutritionally dense diet that’s superior to any diets of past ages. You just have to have knowledge of nutrition — what’s good for you and what’s not.
But to what extent have the sciences taken this linkage between food and health more seriously with detailed studies about specific foods? For instance, it is a commonplace assumption in the nutrition literature that there are specific foods that are very beneficial to the health of the brain. I can think of three such foods off the top of my head: Omega 3 fats, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, and blueberries. If it were true that these three examples were indeed beneficial to brain health, wouldn’t it be instructive — and potentially rewarding — to determine exactly what chemicals in these foods produce which beneficial effects in the brain?
I think the next advancement in the science of nutrition will be at this level, where it is determined what chemicals in various foods produce what specific benefits in the body.