The current strain of the stay-at-home lifestyle has already led to poor dietary choices for many. Whether you’re finding it hard to source healthy foods or reaching for junk food to offset stress, eating poorly can impair your cells. What are the cellular effects of poor diet, and how can we best counteract the harm caused by unhealthy foods?
Poor food choices can lead to malnutrition.
We all know eating well generally leads to feeling well. But coping with additional stress during this unprecedented time makes it more tempting than ever to select foods that satisfy in the short term, and damage our health in the long term.
When we keep our diets balanced and full of whole, natural foods, we equip our cells to thrive. Our metabolism hums right along, and we give ourselves an energy source that burns evenly over time. But when we eat poorly, immunosuppression and lowered NAD+ levels follow.
A study published in Nutrition Journal demonstrated that malnutrition can cause immunosuppression.
Malnutrition happens when we don’t eat enough foods that provide the vitamins, minerals, and sustenance we need to function normally day-to-day. And when our immune function becomes suppressed, our cells become more susceptible to infection and less protected against various types of disease.
Malnutrition is generally caused by either not eating enough in general, or eating too many foods devoid of nutritional value.
Understand the consequences of overeating.
But not all of us have fallen victim to this type of nutrition deficiency during these trying times. Some overeat foods that are generally considered healthy in order to offset the stress and lack of control they’re confronted with.
Overnutrition occurs when our nutrient intake becomes oversupplied. While it might seem logical to pile on the fruits, veggies, vitamins, and supplements right now, our cells suffer when the amount of nutrients we’re ingesting exceeds the amount necessary for normal growth, development, and metabolism.
If you’re overcompensating for current health worries by overdoing it in this area, consider changing your approach. Overnutrition can cause low-grade, chronic inflammation that compromises protective immunity, and increases the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.
In a study published in Frontiers in Immunology, one team of scientists found that malnutrition decreased cellular leptin levels, while overnutrition induced the opposite effect.
Leptin is a hormone our fat cells secrete in order to help regulate body weight. We count on leptin to regulate our appetite and control our energy expenditure over time.
When our leptin levels climb too high, our body’s ability to dictate appetite based on current fat stores gets scrambled, and we end up ingesting food we don’t actually need to run efficiently.
When leptin levels drop too low, our body responds by over-stimulating our appetite in order to build more fat and the rate at which we burn calories in a resting state decreases.
Poor diet affects our NAD+ levels.
Poor diet has a profoundly negative effect on our cells whether we’re eating too much or too little. When nutritious eating habits fall by the wayside, so do our NAD+ levels.
NAD+, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a vital coenzyme that supports cellular repair, energy, and metabolism. When we eat poorly, our NAD+ levels and the cellular processes supported by steady NAD+ production suffer.
However, NAD+ supplements can supply your cells with the necessary nutrition to support your NAD+. When environmental factors out of our control make it difficult to regularly consume healthy foods, NAD+ supporting supplements can make a difference by working symbiotically with the body to curb cellular strain.
You have control.
You have control over what you choose to consume, and it doesn’t take an extensive knowledge of nutrition or a big budget to be mindful about dietary choices. To maintain a healthy diet, do your research, shop thoughtfully, and listen to your body. Your cellular well-being depends on it.