Why the foods you choose are the key to good health
By Merril Bowater, Naturopathic Nutritionist from Getting Well Naturally
When you start working in the field of natural health and nutrition, you’ll never look at foods the same way again. Nutrition becomes more than can a career, it’s a way of life!
The quest to find the least processed food products is never ending. Once you have knowledge about nutrition, it becomes impossible to put something into your mouth without being fully informed of its nutritional value. Grocery shopping trips become crusades to find the most wholesome ingredients to make the healthiest dishes to feed your family.
Processed foods should be scrutinised to ensure they’re not full of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, excess salt, excess sugar, sweeteners and in many cases free of dairy and gluten. (The ingredients list is an essential place to start to access the nutritional value of any packaged food item.)
It is also helpful to check out the nutrition panel which answers questions about how much fibre the product contains as well as the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
We make daily food choices based on emotions, energy levels, convenience, finances and availability. When buying food for our children the choices often become even more complex as we often have to consider if the child will eat these foods and keep them happy?
Without a working knowledge of healthy eating and food as medicine, it can be very easy to fall into bad food habits and unknowingly create potential health issues.
My clients are often unaware of the links between diet and overall health. Nutritional deficiencies can produce a vast array of problems ranging from digestive disorders to skin problems, mental and behavioural issues, low energy, low immunity, food allergies and intolerances.
Almost every health condition you can think of can be improved with a supportive and targeted diet.
In order to address these concerns we first need to understand our client’s typical diet and marry this with their current health concern. From there we can identify nutritional deficiencies and identify problematic foods and eliminate or reduce these, while incorporating foods that can positively affect a specific health issue and can be incorporated into their diet.
Making dietary changes can be challenging at first but the rewards can be amazing. From a client perspective, understanding that certain foods can exacerbate their current health concerns gives them a very practical and empowering path forward to improve their health.
From a natural healthcare point of view, there are numerous of ways to reduce blood pressure. Regular exercise for 30 minutes a day, reducing stress, getting good quality sleep, meditation and drinking more water can help, as can changing their diet. For example, someone wanting to reduce their blood pressure can gain immediate benefit from reducing their caffeine intake and eating a diet lower in salt. They can also incorporate more magnesium rich foods into their diet and consider and taking a magnesium supplement.
Nutritional education is one way of helping people to gain control of their health so they are not at the mercy of prescription medication for life.
It is important to be aware that nobody should go off their prescription medications without first discussing it with their GP, but by enabling people to take a proactive approach to their healthcare, optimal health can be achieved.
About the Author
Merril Bowater ND
Twitter – https://twitter.com/naturallymerril
Merril has been a clinical practitioner since 2007 and currently sees clients in Melbourne’s western suburbs and Northcote. She empowers her clients to make the connection between how their diet is affecting their health and through the use of food as medicine, a healthy outcome can be achieved.