If you’ve arrived at my website there’s a good chance you already understand that the food we eat is fundamentally linked to the way we feel. Most of us accept that’s how it works. We know that broccoli and mackerel are good for us.
But how can we use food to actively fight disease?
That’s a much more personal equation. In reality it’s a complex interplay of the food we eat, the chemicals in our environment, the set of DNA we inherited and the lifestyle habits we think of as normal. The individual combination of these factors can affect every pathway in your body: setting off unregulated inflammation; reducing the reception of neurotransmitters; inhibiting the release of digestive enzymes; changing the activity of hormones; impairing detoxification pathways; clogging important blood vessels, and/or blocking the production of energy.
But it’s not just about eating the perfect diet and never straying from the path, it’s about finding the particular combination of foods that suits you, that works with your individual biochemical setup, and helps you to function at your best. The average diet may be OK for the average person – government dietary advice is designed to keep 95% of people reasonably fit and well most of the time – but some of us don’t sit within that majority. Some of us have to work a little harder to stay well and the average diet just isn’t good enough.
Which is why I spent most of 2016 studying for a masters level postgraduate qualification in Personalised Nutrition. It’s the way ahead, and not just for complementary medicine. Many of the people on my course were qualified doctors seeking to add a powerful new therapy to their toolkit.
Nutritional Therapy is all about finding out what your individual dietary needs are. It concerns itself with every step of the food process: choosing and cooking food; chewing and digestion; breakdown and absorption; elimination and detoxification; transport around the body and the employment of nutrients in our cells. The right diet can change the way your genes are expressed, reducing risk factors and supporting optimal function. Changing your diet can literally change your destiny. I like to think that, one day, our acceptance of the link between lifestyle, diet and genes will make radiotherapy, chemotherapy and double mastectomies seem as archaic as bloodletting.
The more information we can pull together, the more accurate our work can be. If we map your genome, we can pin down individual nutrient pathways. Urinary analysis can tell us how your body is using key nutrients. Finger prick tests can give us information about key chemicals in the blood. And we can adjust your diet accordingly.
Of course, for most people that’s too much information, but if you, like me, have one of those bodies that just doesn’t seem to obey the rules, working out the details of your own personalised nutritional strategy may just be a life saver.
If you like the sound of that, please get in touch. I’d love to help.