Food and Cognitive Development - A Growing Problem

in StemSocial2 months ago

I will share in this publication information and my opinion regarding a topic that for me is of transcendence, because it not only affects the individual as a living organism, but also directly influences the results that a society can have at the level of development and even on an entire country, and I am referring to food, and I will not talk about poor nutrition in terms of excesses but on the basis of deficit, something that affects even more.

I have been analyzing this a lot in recent months, especially in light of the current context, where a great world famine is looming, based on what some experts on the subject say, and basically because of the rise in food prices, which will cause that even if there is availability on the shelves people will not have access to them.

Pixabay / Author: lukasbieri

Let's start by defining what food is:

"It is the act of ingesting nutrients mainly through diet"Source

Two basic concepts that we must also be clear about in order to understand the negative impact that a poor diet can have on cognitive development are the following:

  • Macronutrients: basically we refer to what we consume as carbohydrates, lipids or fats, and proteins.

  • Micronutrients: It is the minimum unit to which macronutrients can be degraded, for example: proteins to amino acids, lipids to fatty acids, carbohydrates to glucose. We also have vitamins (fat-soluble and water-soluble) minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium, etc)

I have already spoken about vitamins previously with respect to their function, in the following post: Let's talk about vitamins

Pixabay / Author: stevepb

It is also necessary to know that our body is made up of millions of cells, each of these is made up of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, and that the main source of energy is glucose, but also that to function properly It deserves vitamins and minerals.

With only the lack of one of these elements, it will cause an inadequate functioning of the existing cells, and not only that, but also a poor formation of the new cells, which will necessarily affect the overall functioning of the organism.

Based on the above, we can see a clear relationship between what a poor diet is and how it could affect a person's cognitive development. I will put two "hypothetical" cases of how this can be expressed:

  • Case 1: a mother who becomes pregnant and lives in extreme poverty, where the only thing she eats is rice with butter, the presence of protein in her diet is scarce, therefore she has an extreme lack of it. Considering that for the genesis of a fetus and its correct total development, it will need all the nutrients in sufficient quantity for it to form properly.

But this will not happen, no matter how much the maternal body degrades the muscles to obtain proteins from them, it will not be enough. There will always be a protein deficit that will prevent all organs from forming correctly, including the brain and the entire central nervous system. Which already tells us that it is quite likely that their cognitive and intellectual capacity will be diminished.

Pixabay / Author: Pexels

So let's go to the next case:

  • Case 2: Let's suppose that a mother is well nourished, if the body could do anabolism to take advantage of its own components and provide them to the correct formation of the fetus. But for some reason the mother is in sharp decline economically and cannot maintain a good feeding regimen, however, the baby is born well formed, but during the following months she cannot have a correct diet, which will imply that her body does not will develop properly.

After 6 months, it is already suggested that the feeding is not only breastfeeding, but the food that he receives does not contain what is necessary for the formation of his body, including fats and proteins, this will undoubtedly affect his nervous development, which in the long run will bring a limitation to that child in terms of learning.

These are just hypothetical cases that I share, but unfortunately it is the reality of a large part of the world's population. Of the one that lives in poverty, and that seems to be constantly increasing.

Pixabay / Author:

And what would happen if that is what happens in 60-70% of the population of a country? Is there a chance that that country will evolve satisfactorily in terms of technology, science, education? when most of the child population (future of the country) has limited cognitive conditions...

This is a very strong topic of discussion, I know, but understanding the importance of a well-nourished population is not only a question of the human right that we should all enjoy, but it is necessary to see much further. Unfortunately, food is often used as a "political tool" when it is a matter of public health, of the future of a country. Medicine generally stays out of politics, but health personnel know better than anyone the background of these realities, and how it can affect an entire nation.

I believe that it is necessary to become much more aware of the importance of a correct diet and to see it, in addition to the scientific, as an imminent social need.

I hope I have made an understandable approach at this point. And to have shown that food goes beyond eating or not eating, but eating what is necessary.

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When my wife got pregnant , one doctor recommended her omega 3 for thus purpose!

Surely she was well nourished and did not merit more than continuing her normal daily diet. But there are some women who deserve much more. Thank you for your support

I think this stems from the reason why newborns are asked to be fed well with breast milk in the first 6 months

Breastfeeding is best during this period of time. thanks for your comment

Food is an extremely important part of life, while food is abundant in some areas, it is very scarce in other areas, especially in most African countries, this leads to the production of malnourished kids, which is a very sad reality. For most people over here, the problem is not even knowing the right meals to eat, the problem is being able to afford it.

This is a very sad thing to read. And it is true, there are places in the world where food is so plentiful that they have the luxury of wasting it.
There is a lot of inequality in that aspect. Unfortunately.


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