Food is the fuel of the human body. When we complete any action, whether that is a hard session at the gym or resting in front of the TV, our bodies expend energy. The food we eat is used by the body to create more energy, storing it as fat and also in muscles and other organs. Our systems are delicately balanced. It doesn’t take much to ‘knock out’ our normal rhythm. Even a short period of ill-health can leave us feeling and looking drained. We are given information on which are the best foods to eat from various sources. A message we have all come to know and understand is the need to include five portions of fruit or veg in our diet daily. These should be different types as well as being the right amount, or at least meet the minimum portion as laid out by the guidelines.
There are many other messages given to us about the food we eat too. For example, we should also be eating less red meat and more oily fish. There is the thorny issue of where our food comes from, how it is treated, additives added and processed before it reaches the supermarket shelves. These are ‘blanket messages’. In other words, the advice is based on research that is based on ‘averages’. What it doesn’t take into account is our individuality. We know that we should consume less red meat but that still implies we should be eating it. Oily fish is high in good fat but it doesn’t take into account that your digestive system may be unable to process some of the minerals and fats it contains, leading to your feeling sluggish or bloated.
We are all truly unique. Our genetic maps are different and that means how our body reacts to certain stimuli in the environment is different. That’s why you may have an allergy to certain foods but your sibling can eat anything. The role and the depth of the effects foods can have on us individually remain largely unanswered but research and science are starting to give us answers. This means we are now beginning to understand why some people need more of some kind of minerals than others.
We are also beginning to understand the significant role that diet and nutrition plays in managing chronic conditions. Referred to as “personalised nutrition” this looks at someone’s likes and dislikes, as well as identifying food sensitivities. When we know what these are, we can change our diet accordingly, something that can have amazing results to energy levels as well as our we feel about ourselves too.
The first thing to make clear is that consulting a nutritional therapist is not just about losing weight although, with a change in diet, this may be a happy result as well as feeling more energised. If you want a personalised approach to nutrition, consulting with a nutritional therapist is key. There is evidence to support that take a nutrition and lifestyle approach to healthcare is far more beneficial to a one-size-fits-all approach. The latter can prove to be detrimental to anyone seeking or needing to make a significant change to their diet.
Nutritional therapy supports the health of all major systems in the body including the skeleton, muscles, the nervous system, respiratory systems as well as cardiovascular health. It also supports the immune system as well as integumentary systems, that is hair, skin and nails. Essentially, nutritional therapy seeks to balance these systems with our psychological well-being, optimising our health across all these systems and do so by working on a client-by-client basis. In other words, nutritional therapy is all about you.