What is functional nutrition?
Glad you asked! This article will walk you through the basics of functional nutrition and how it has the potential to change your health forever!
Most of us know what it’s like to be stuck in a dieting cycle that never seems to end. Maybe the goal is to lose weight, or have more energy, or even to reduce gastrointestinal issues. Whatever your reason, the constant adjusting and readjusting of one’s diet can be exhausting.
It’s time to put an end to the dieting cycle and start eating for health and wellbeing.
So stop with the one size fits all such as fasting and the low-carb and the no-dairy nonsense. Try something that will actually make you feel better—functional nutrition.
What Is Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition was developed based on the ideas of functional medicine. Functional medicine is a unique way of treating and preventing illness. This method addresses the whole self, not just the apparent symptoms.
For example, say you went to visit your doctor because you were experiencing flu-like symptoms. They might send you home with a prescription and check in with you after a few days.
But with functional medicine, the doctor would try to address why you developed these symptoms in the first place. Was it stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, or some combination of those things? The doctor would then try to address those underlying issues from all body systems.
The goal of functional medicine is not only to cure any existing issues but to prevent future ones.
These same principles can be applied to nutrition. Functional nutrition is a highly personalized plan of eating for health. Functional nutrition is all about using food as medicine, mainly to help a person increase their health and wellness.
How Does It Work?
Now you know the basics—functional nutrition is based on functional medicine, aiming to treat all body systems. It does this by addressing the root cause of the symptoms rather than the symptoms themselves.
So now, let’s review how functional nutrition works in practice.
A person visits their doctor complaining of abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and bloating. While a standard diet or nutrition expert may suggest a particular meal plan, a functional medicine dietician would likely run more tests.
They may try food sensitivity testing or other labs to learn more about your individual system. Then they can use the tests to see how your body responds to certain foods. These types of tests can narrow down which foods or additives are causing the body to react negatively.
Additionally, a functional medicine dietician can test for specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could contribute to your symptoms.
A functional medicine dietician many recommend an elimination diet. An elimination diet is when you cut out certain foods to determine whether they may be the culprit of your health issues.
Then, the functional medicine practitioner might suggest certain supplements or foods that will replenish levels of vitamins or minerals that may have been missing from your diet.
Once your functional medicine dietician has established the right diet for you, they may want to dive deeper into other lifestyle conditions.
Sleep, stress, activity level, and other factors can make have an effect on how and when you experience certain symptoms. Therefore, functional nutrition aims to address these factors, as well.
Increasing sleep and activity level while reducing stress may have just as big of an impact on symptoms as the foods you consume.
How Is This Approach To Nutrtion Unique?
Maybe you have already sought help from a professional for your gastrointestinal or other gut health issues. How would seeing a functional nutrition expert be any different from that?
Treating the Whole Person-
A functional nutrition practitioner’s ultimate goal is to help you alleviate your symptoms. But more than that, they want to make sure you are holistically well. They believe that each of the body systems is interconnected. So, in order to promote optimal wellness, functional nutrition advises on diet and lifestyle conditions.
A Personalized Approach –
Functional nutrition is all about personalized care. No two people are exactly alike—even if their symptoms are the same. Functional nutrition diet plans take into consideration everything that makes you unique.
This approach increases the likelihood that you can find a sustainable, long-term solution to your health issues.
Different Models For Care-
Functional nutrition practitioners use unique systems and models in practice -for example, the functional medicine matrix. The matrix is made up of various sections, each of which addresses factors that contribute to your health.
The 5-R protocol is another common tool used by functional nutritional practitioners. This protocol is defined by the following steps: remove, replace, repopulate, repair, and rebalance. It describes the way in which a functional nutrition practitioner would study and treat a person with gastrointestinal issues.
Where Can I Get Personalized Nutritional Services?
If you are interested in getting a consult with a functional nutrition practitioner, there a few places you can look. There are independent dieticians that are experts in functional nutrition as well as groups that use functional medicine, including functional nutrition.
Centers for wellness may be another good place to look. When you are looking for functional nutrition services, check out testimonials from other patients to see what you can expect.
When you meet with a functional nutrition practitioner, feel free to ask any questions you may have. They can walk you through the testing and treatment processes.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you have consistently struggled with diet, GI issues, or nutrition-related illnesses, it is time to try functional nutrition.
Now that you can answer the question, what is functional nutrition, it is time to experience the benefits for yourself. Find a functional nutrition expert in your area and contact them today!
If you want more information on functional nutrition and overall wellness promotion, check out our other blogs!