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The six foundations of Nutritional therapy

Diet

It all starts with diet. I agree with Michael Pollan’s maxim, “Do not eat anything your great-grandmother would not recognize as food.”

For some people it is hard to give up processed convenience food. But when we realize that unrefined carbohydrates can taste great, that good fats are essential to our mood, energy and hormone balance and that appropriate amounts of protein from clean sources builds muscle and supports the nervous system, healthy eating becomes part of our self care. We need to eat well to support a healthy metabolism. It is not just about calories in and calories out. It is about the type of calories we consume and having the right balance in both our macro and micro nutrients.

Digestion

It is not important only what we eat, but also what we absorb from what we eat.

Every cell in every organ depends on your body’s digestive system to provide the nutrients needed for optimal function. It is easy to ignore symptoms such as occasional heartburn, bloating and constipation and assume that they are normal. But these symptoms are actually your body’s signal that something is out of balance.

Many people do not know that more than 70% of our immune system is located in or around our digestive tracts and when digestion is compromised by dysbiosis or leaky gut syndrome not only does our nutrient status suffer, but our immune system is tremendously overburdened.

Having a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in our digestive systems is very important for overall health. Digestive imbalances can contribute to other health issues including migraine headaches, autoimmune diseases, autism, depression, eczema, food intolerances just to name a few. 

Blood sugar regulation

Controlling insulin levels is important in maintaining health and preventing disease. Empty carbohydrates deplete our body’s reserves of minerals, vitamins and enzymes, but they create a state of blood sugar imbalance in our bodies that can contribute to hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are required by humans and must be ingesed because the body needs them for good health but cannot synthesize them. Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linoleic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).

They affect hormonal balance, mood, behavior, inflammation and many other processes in the body.

We all need the proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids for prostaglandins to manage inflammation in the body. Many people have 20 times as many omega 6 fatty acids in their diets as omega 3’s as a result of eating processed foods and not eating real nourishing unprocesed foods. This creates an essential fatty acids deficiency that creates chronic inflamation in the body, depression, hormonal imbalances. 

Minerals

Minerals are essential for nerve conduction, transfer of nutrients across the cell membranes, tissue growth and proper ph balance in the blood. Every organ in the body has a mineral on which it is dependant. Nowadays, due to depleted soils, consumption of processed foods, systemic malfunctions and malabsorbtion we are not getting all of the key minerals needed for optimal function.

Often even if we consume minerals in our diets they cannot be absorbed due to missing co-factors necessary for their absorbtion like healthy fats, other minerals and vitamins. 

Hydration

Water is the body’s most important nutrient. 92 percent of water must be ingested, it can not be stored and we can not live long without it. Water transports nutrients, flushes toxins, removes waste, lubricates joints and cushions organs. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar containing drinks as well as not drinking enough water can cause levels of dehydration that have an effect at the cellular level. Early signs of dehydration can manifest as fatigue, anxiety, irritability and depression with more advanced dehydration causing joint pain, back pain or heartburn.

As a Nutritional therapy practitioner I use this foundational approach and through assessment process I can highlight potential imbalances in all body systems and processes. The assessment process will assist me in linking your symptoms to potential nutrient deficiencies and imbalances in body chemistry. 

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