Who can benefit from Nutritional Therapy?
Anyone can benefit from understanding more about how their diet affects their health, whether they have complex health issues, minor but irritating symptoms, or those who are in good health but want to learn more about how diet can help to prevent disease.
Support for complex or lifelong medical conditions
Dietary and nutritional advice can be of benefit to patients with long-standing or complex medical diagnoses and can be a valuable addition to your medical care, ensuring that you achieve the best health you can within the constraints of your diagnosis. Understanding how your diet and nutritional status can influence your symptoms can allow you to regain some control over your condition and your general quality of life.
Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances
Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances have increased in recent years and can result in a variety of symptoms ranging from anaphylactic shock to skin reactions, changes in mood or gastrointestinal symptoms. Your Nutritional Therapist can help you identify whether you are suffering from a true allergy, a food sensitivity or an intolerance, all of which may have different causes. You can then work together to identify the trigger foods and adapt your diet accordingly. Although food elimination may be helpful at times, the main aim is to identify and support any existing immune dysfunction that has caused the sensitivities to arise.
Disease prevention and the maintenance of good health
For those who are in good health but want to know more about how to maximise their health and reduce their risk of disease, Nutritional Therapy can provide you with the most up-to-date research on what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as identifying your risk factors for disease and how to modify your diet and lifestyle in order to best reduce these risks.
Diet-related conditions that require long-term medication
You may have been diagnosed with a condition that requires long-term medication such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol but feel uncomfortable about taking medication on a long-term basis for something which is known to be related to diet and lifestyle choices. Nutritional Therapy can help you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle that may help improve these conditions. For some people, this can result in your doctor being able to reduce or remove medications*.
*Only your doctor will be able to advise you on the level of medication you require and you will never be advised to reduce or stop medications by your Nutritional Therapist.
Reflux disease can contribute to many symptoms such as throat discomfort, swallowing difficulties, hoarse voice, a sensation of a lump in the throat, post-nasal drip and chronic cough. There are many possible causes for the development of these symptoms and certain tests and dietary changes can help to determine the cause and provide symptomatic relief. For more detailed information on reflux, visit this page.
Management of stress
Many people in the UK have become accustomed to the fast pace of life in our society but are unware of the subtle effects it can have on our general health. Others, are aware that their ability to tolerate stress is not as good as it used to be and are consequently struggling to cope with the everyday demands of life. A Nutritional Therapist can work with you to assess your physiological ability to deal with stressful circumstances and explain how changing your dietary habits can positively influence your ability to cope with stress on a day to day basis.
You may be aware of the negative impact of poor diet and lifestyle choices may be having on your family but you are unsure how to change things. This can be especially difficult if the members of your family all have very different food preferences. A Nutritional Therapist can give you the opportunity to discuss these difficulties and can help you to learn new ways of introducing healthy foods into your daily routine whlst offering tailored advice for specific members of your family who are suffering from ill-health.
Minor or major health conditions that impact your everyday life
There are many health conditions which can have a significant effect on day to day living, whether they are on-going health concerns that you have had for years, or newly developed symptoms which you want to learn to control. Perhaps you suffer from asthma or eczema, skin problems, mood swings, feeling tired, migraine headaches, PMS, anxiety, constipation, bloating or any number of symptoms that interefere with your daily life and you want to learn if there is something more that you can do.
A Nutritional Therapist can help to analyse your diet and lifestyle patterns and identify areas that may be perpetuating your symptoms. Sometimes further investigations may reveal triggers that you had not considered previously, such as an intolerance to certain foods, or maybe there are certain nutrients in which you are deficient, which may be contributing to your symptoms. Often, there are simple changes that can be made to your diet which can bring about relief or give you an increased ability to manage your symptoms .
Health conditions where tests have revealed no abnormalities
Medical conditions that exist despite the fact that medical tests have revealed no abnormalites are often labelled as 'functional' disorders and are usually benign, but nevertheless debilitating. In some cases of functional disease, there may be subtle changes within the physiology of the body which can be positively influenced by a change in diet.
An example of a functional disorder might be abdominal bloating, discomfort or persistent gastrointestinal complaints whereby tests reveal no structural abnormalities or evidence of disease such as coeliac or inflammatory bowel disease. There is increasing evidence to show that more subtle changes in the gastrointestinal environment such as changes in the gut microflora, which are not picked up during routine testing, can account for some gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation and research supports the use of dietary and nutritional intervention as a means of bringing about improvement for some people with these conditions.
Recurrent or persistent infections such as urinary infections, sinusitis, ear infections, throat infections, or conjunctivitis can sometimes indicate an inablility of the immune system to get on top of an infection, which can occur for a variety of reasons. When your body attempts to fight an infection, it requires a variety of essential amino acids ( which are found in dietary proteins) as well as a good supply of certain vitamins and minerals. Poor resistance to infection may sometimes occur as a result of poor dietary choices, resulting in sub-optimal immune function. Dietary or nutritional intervention can often help to provide the body with the resources required to overcome infection more easily.
Chronic mental health conditions can fluctuate over time but it can be difficult to understand what makes a condition better on some days than others. Mood is influenced by the amount and balance of hormones within the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. There is evidence to show that these chemicals can be influenced by our diet and that nutritional intervention can bring about improvement in symptoms for some people (Lakhan and Vieira 2008). Listen to this TED talk for more information on how nutrients are effective in the management of mental health.
Childhood health conditions
Parents usually have a very good instinct for when all is not well with their child, even if medical tests seem to show there are no abnormalities. This may be seen as a change in behaviour, or just that the child seems susceptible to more than their fair share of illnesses. Maybe your child is more prone to headaches, tummy aches or recurrent infections than other children appear to be, or maybe you find it difficult to encourage your child to eat healthily and you are worried about their nutritional status. Your therapist can help you to identify problem areas in your child's diet and give ideas on how to help introduce more healthy foods into their diet.
Achieving an ideal weight can be a complex process for many people and the current research demonstrates that weight control is governed by so much more than just calorie balance. Some of the most recent research links the tendency towards obesity with changes in the gut microflora (Tsai and Coyle 2009) which can be influenced by many things but is primarily influenced by the types of foods we eat, as well as how much we eat.
Nutritional Therapy can help you to identify the key reasons for your inability to lose weight and help you on a path of long-term dietary changes that can help you to lose weight and improve your general health as part of the process.
Fertility and preparation for pregnancy
Preparing for pregnancy is an important time to ensure that you are in good health and that you are able to provide the necessary nutrients for your baby. Nutrient deficiencies and lifestyle choices may also impact your ability to conceive and Nutritional Therapy can help you to understand which nutrients are important for both conception and pregnancy.
Feeling under par
Maybe you can't pinpoint any specific symptoms but you just don't feel as well as you used to. Perhaps you lack energy, suffer from aches and pains or are low in mood but there are no medical reasons to explain your symptoms. Such symptoms may be caused by nutrient deficiencies that make it difficult for your body to function well, and a few dietary or lifestyle changes can make a big difference when you understand a little more about how the foods you eat can affect the various systems in your body.