‘Nutrition is coming to the fore as a major modifiable determinant of chronic disease, with scientific evidence increasingly supporting the view that alterations in diet have strong effects, both positive and negative, on health throughout life. Most importantly, dietary adjustments may not only influence present health, but may determine whether or not an individual will develop such diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes much later in life.’
The World Health Organisation
Nutrition along with behaviour and lifestyle interventions is an extremelypowerful tool in supporting you towards achieving and maintaining long term health.
Every time we eat, our bodies biochemical and physiological processes work in an intricate and complex series of biochemical reactions. This complex mechanism affects how we metabolise foods, how we absorb nutrients and substances from our foods, how these nutrients and substances go on to perform the myriad of functions within our bodies that affect our overall health.
So many ‘diets’ are not designed for health or the individual. They are not designed for our differences, our ages, our genders or the different periods in our lives or our different motivations (eg. such as hormonal and emotional changes when a women enters menopause, or a young women needing to physically and emotional prepared for her wedding, or a child diagnosed with diabetes type II) or our genetics! We are all different and our relationship with food is different, and how our bodies work are different.
Health in balance
Our bodies work very hard to keep the chemicals in our bodies, from foods and other sources such as the air we breath in complete balance which is known inbiology as ‘homeostasis’. This process is natures clever design to keep us well. When this balance is upset, it can lead to imbalances in health and weight as it disrupts the intricate functions going on within our bodies.
Your personal metabolism
The unique way our body processes what goes into it
Nutrition is not just about diet. How we live our lives, what’s happened to us along the way, our physical health, how we respond to stress, our genetic tendencies, our environmental exposure to chemicals, pesticides, pathogens and pollution, our emotions (trauma, grief), beliefs, attitudes and feelings are all significant factors that influence our complex metabolism and can serve to deplete us of valuable, much needed nutrients.
We are all different and we are all different on a cellular and biochemical level. This means that the way I digest food is different to the way you digest food, the way my hormones work is different to the way your hormones work and these factors will influence different nutrient requirements at different times. By understanding different requirements needed we can correct imbalances via nutrition. That is why ‘a one size fits all’ kind of diet will not work for most people most of the time.
For example, when we are ‘stressed’ we have an increased requirement for certain nutrients such as vitamin C. By increasing dietary or supplemental forms of vitamin C we can make sure the body has what it needs in times of stress and counteract any negative effects.
Our bodies need these nutrients to not only produce stress hormones such as cortisol but also to break them down and remove from the body when they have served their purpose and are no longer needed. Cortisol when increased can cause us to gain weight by affecting hormones such as insulin, involved in energy metabolism and fat tissue storage. Cortisol can also disrupt hormones that affect appetite such as as ghrelin which again is involved in our bodies weight control mechanism. So if we are ‘chronically’ stressed (which may of us are and often don’t realise) it can have a huge impact over time on our bodies ability to sustain health and manage weight.
As you can see all the bodies systems and pathways are interconnected like a big web within which everything affects everything else and nothing is truly isolated. This is why I look at you as a whole person and not just your symptoms.
Preventing illness and staying well
Nutrition is a powerful tool for also preventing illness and staying well. By really looking at your health story and applying the relevant biochemical, functional and genetic testing I can see what is going on with you, before you are potentially diagnosed with a serious condition.
It takes many years for diabetes type 2 to occur, heart disease or even cancer so there is always time to put things right. Even after a diagnosis by your GP nutrition can help support your recovery back to health.
Because everyday living is such an ongoing challenge, to keep healthy the body needs ‘an energy backup ’ known as an ‘organ reserve’, to deal with times of acute stress; project going wrong at work, a family crisis, illness such as a bad cold and flu, or overdoing it at the gym. Nutrition can help your body keep an ‘organ reserve’ in times such as these and make you more resilient. It will better equip you for staying in control of your health and staying healthy throughout the whole of your life.