About Nutritional Therapy
What is Nutritional Therapy?
Nutritional Therapy is the application of nutrition science in the promotion of health, peak performance and individual care. Nutritional therapy practitioners use a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns. This approach allows them to work with individuals to address nutritional imbalance and help support the body towards maintaining health. Nutritional therapy is recognised as a complementary medicine and is relevant for individuals with chronic conditions, as well as those looking for support to enhance their health and wellbeing.
Practitioners consider each individual to be unique and recommend personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Practitioners never recommend nutritional therapy as a replacement for medical advice and always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. They will also frequently work alongside a medical professional and will communicate with other healthcare professionals involved in the client’s care to explain any nutritional therapy programme that has been provided.
Why use Nutritional Therapy?
Some people simply want to check that they are on the right track with regard to healthy eating. Others may want to lose weight or get help with their symptoms.
Nutrition and lifestyle approaches to healthcare have been shown to support the health of all the major systems of the body (skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, excretory, endocrine, immune, reproductive and integumentary (skin, hair, nails). Typical priorities in nutritional therapy consultations are support to achieve optimum energy levels, healthy blood sugar balance, emotional and psychological wellbeing, optimum gastrointestinal health and tolerance to a broad range of food groups.
Nutritional Therapists are trained in the assessment of food and lifestyle practices and, amongst other things, how they impact on both short and long‐term weight gain, and also recognise and understand that specific dietary and other lifestyle behaviours may affect the success of the simplest, yet not always successful, “eat less and exercise more” strategy for preventing long‐term weight gain. Specific dietary and lifestyle factors are independently associated with long‐term optimal weight maintenance.
Nutritional Therapy consultations
Typical priorities in nutritional therapy consultations are support to achieve optimum energy levels, healthy blood‐sugar balance, emotional and psychological wellbeing, optimum gastrointestinal health, tolerance to a broad range of food groups.
Assessment includes the use of appropriate tests and observations, such as case history, physical signs, laboratory tests, and nutrition/lifestyle analysis to determine an educational nutrition programme.
Assessment also provides the basis for referral to a licensed physician, or other healthcare professional if necessary.
Recommended educational protocols may include, among other information, nutrition /lifestyle modification, nutritive supplementation, understanding of physiological / biochemical pathways, and evoking of regenerative processes.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A NUTRITIONAL THERAPY CONSULTATION?
Before the first consultation, the practitioner usually provides a health and nutrition questionnaire for the client to complete. An initial consultation typically lasts 60 to 90 minutes, and in this time the practitioner asks detailed questions about current health concerns, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, medical history, family history, lifestyle, levels of physical activity, use of medication, supplements and diet. The practitioner then evaluates individual needs and uses the extensive evidence base for nutritional science to develop a personalised, safe and effective nutrition and lifestyle programme.
Follow up consultations are generally after four weeks in order to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments. Further follow-ups may be required depending on each individual situation.
Nutrition and optimal levels of health
The use of food and lifestyle changes is recognised as a principle component of achieving and maintaining optimal levels of health. Research is increasingly recognising that foods have nutritive value beyond simply caloric or macronutrient quantity and quality. A qualified nutritional therapist will work with you to achieve the best food selection for your personal needs.
Severe deficiency of the vitamins and minerals required for life is relatively uncommon in developed nations, whilst modest deficiency is very common and is often either not recognised or not taken seriously. Increasing scientific evidence, however, may change this thinking.
Nutritional therapy can help to identify areas of nutritional imbalance and create an individual nutrition programme to optimise your health and wellness. Finding your optimum nutrition will not only taste fabulous, you may also feel more fabulous.
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