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Kristina Zalnieraite

The Future of Nutrition

May 19 · 10
Health news

Did you know that about half of the cells in your body are actually bacteria? We didn’t until Kristina Žalnieraitė told us.

Kristina was the first-ever nutritionist to join Kilo Health. Over the years, she has grown her team into 17 experts and created a state-of-the-art personalized meal planning platform. 

Today we sat down with her to talk about the future of food, longevity, and tips on sorting through unhelpful health advice.

How will technology impact nutrition science in the upcoming years?

I envision that the future of nutrition and dietetics will become even more technology-based. Nutrition management with the help of AI-driven individualized nutritional therapy will enable us to optimize the nutrient intake for each individual. 

The ability to generate practical and personalized recommendations are essential for clinically-precise nutrition. 

Technology will drive this change. This may include mobile apps for tracking diet intake, wearable technologies to collect supportive data on how each food impacts your health, or telehealth for remote assessment. We could even use blockchain to track the sources of the foods on your table and make sure all of them are ethically sourced. 

What is the future of nutrition science?

Our bodies are intricate mechanisms. What works for one doesn’t for others, so we must personalize our food intake. It’s not only about food allergies – it’s about everything we put into our bodies. For instance, each of us has a different reaction to carbs or other nutrients. Low-carb diets might not be the right choice for some, while they would be perfect for others.

Data analysis and personalization will power the next generation of nutrition innovation. Digital technologies will improve your health through daily personalized nutrition and small-scale habit change.

Scientists have also made progress linking gut health to brain health. Better diets improve gut health, which leads to improved mental health and all the physical benefits. The more people become educated about the nutritional effects, the greater the outcome. Bacteria in our bodies influence our mental well-being, emotions, and nutrient deficiency. It’s about time we learn to take care of them.

Mental health also plays an important role. It will help identify and create healthier eating habits, increasing mindful eating. Everything in our bodies is interconnected. Our mental health impacts our physical health. So diet can also improve our cognitive function and mental performance. 

Food and behavioral change can also help prevent and manage chronic disease. Eating the right types of foods can boost your athletic performance and skin, hair, or nail health. It can also aid in treating specific ailments such as IBS or high blood pressure.

One of the reasons why people want to start eating healthier is longevity. How many years can poor habits cost you?

Over the past few decades, the average life expectancy increased. At the same time, we can see a growing interest in treating chronic diseases and longevity management. 

The ever-increasing scientific evidence shows that dietary modifications can slow down aging. That includes caloric restriction, nutrient intake modifications, and intervals of fasting. Genetic and pharmacological interventions can have a pronounced impact on longevity, too. 

Smoking, inactivity, poor diet, and heavy alcohol consumption contribute to up to 60% of premature deaths and 7.4–17.9 years’ loss in life expectancy.

How is healthy nutrition connected with life expectancy?

Recent findings indicate that meal timing and the composition of foods greatly impact your health. Nutrients in foods have a high impact on our metabolic functions, longevity, gut health, and microbiota diversity. 

Determining the optimal overall intake and dietary carbohydrate, fat, and protein ratios can be hard. The data strongly indicates that nutrition is critical for promoting health and preventing age-associated chronic diseases. 

What should a healthy diet contain? 

A healthy and balanced diet provides plenty of fiber-rich plant foods, whole grains, fruits, and fresh vegetables. It reduces the intake of saturated fatty acids and plays a prominent role in longevity. 

Moreover, recent scientific findings show that the traditional Mediterranean diet incorporates a wide range of minimally processed fiber-rich plant foods unlike the typical European and North American diet. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are highly beneficial to human health and have anti-aging properties.

A healthy diet must contain gut-healthy ingredients. Our gut microbiome processes many plant foods that are packed with fiber. It also helps absorb a wide range of vitamins and phytochemicals that promote metabolic and molecular health. 

How exactly does gut microbiota impact our health?

One more vital point regarding longevity and disease management is our gut microbiota. Due to their small size, these organisms take up only about 1–3% of our body mass but might make up more than 43% of cells. 

One study analyzed a typical 20-30-year-old man and defined that he might have about 39 trillion bacterial cells living among 30 trillion human cells. The rest come from trillions of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Studies indicate that the food you eat profoundly affects gut microbiota structure and function. It also impacts inflammation and improves metabolic health. 

Poor diets can make you develop cardiovascular disease, obesity-associated metabolic abnormalities, some types of cancer, and autoimmune or allergic diseases.

Should people follow nutrition trends or stick to the healthy eating basics instead?

We often overcomplicate healthy eating due to new food trends popping up online regularly. With so much ever-changing advice floating around, it can be easy to get confused about eating the right foods. The nutrition information portrayed on mass media often is not backed up by credible scientific sources. 

We should choose the foods we eat to achieve our health goals. It is essential to evaluate what best works for you and how you feel while following the nutrition plan. It should be easy, enjoyable, provide required nutrients, and be easily applicable to your daily routine. 

Most people will generally benefit from eating Mediterranean or DASH diets and 12-hour fasting. For some, this might not be applicable. Each of us is unique, and personalized nutrition that fits us is critical here. 

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