USING FOOD TO NOURISH AND HEAL

ACUTE AND CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS

The ancient Greeks were among the first to recognise the value of food as medicine, with fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices playing a vital role in supplying the body with healing nutrients. Today, 21st century tenets still adhere to the notion of a relationship between what we consume and our subsequent state of health. Food is a powerful first-line defense against infection and disease, and can provide symptomatic relief for acute ailments such as fever and the flu, or more curative protection against genetic and lifestyle-driven problems such as diabetes, insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. In the correct proportions, certain types of food and targeted lifestyle interventions can form a unique therapeutic prescription designed to help you recapture your good health.

PREGNANCY and PRE-CONCEPTION

Pregnancy is one of the most important times healthwise in a woman's life, when dietary changes determine not only the developmental needs of her unborn child but her own wellbeing too. At this time, a mum-to-be's nutritional needs are both intricate and complex, and should be tailored to meet her increased calorific needs as well as specific micronutrient requirements during each trimester of pregnancy. Fertility is highly dependent on proper nutritional status, as deficiencies in folic acid, iron, iodine, zinc and other important nutrients may adversely affect foetal health and prevent successful conception. Getting enough physical activity and adequate sleep can also influence fertility outcomes significantly, as can abstaining from stress, alcohol and smoking before conception and during pregnancy.

WOMEN'S HEALTH

From puberty to menopause, a woman's hormones are the driving gauge of her fertility and reproductive health. Common symptoms of hormonal disequilibrium include irregular periods, painful menstruation, diminished sex drive, inability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy, weight gain, mood swings, and hair loss. Three in four women worldwide suffer one or a combination of these symptoms, making hormonal imbalance and hormonally-driven diseases synonymous with the travails of 21st century living. The relationship between stress, poor nutrition and increased incidence of diseases such as endometriosis, adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism are well documented, and require careful recalibration of diet and lifestyle factors to manage both acute and chronic symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH

In Ayurveda, the digestive system is regarded as the seat of good health, with all disease stemming from an imbalance of humours within the gastrointestinal tract. Stress, poor eating habits and certain medications can upset the gut's delicate environment, leading to an imbalance of gut bacteria and subsequent problems such as gas, bloating, constipation and food intolerances. Because the gut is home to the enteric nervous system, also known as the body's 'second brain', poor gut health is associated with lowered psychological vitality and increased risk of mood disorders, depression and anxiety. The human digestive system is also home to an intricate network of immunological compounds that comprises approximately 80 percent of the body's immune tissue, making proper gut health one of the body's most important defenses against disease and infection.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Obesity is a growing healthcare burden worldwide, and is associated with a multitude of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, gout and high blood pressure. The benefits of proper weight management are multifold, and is associated with improved self-confidence, better metabolic control, and enhanced resilience against disease. Though weight-gain is largely the domain of poor nutritional habits, other common causes include diminished physical activity, a genetic predisposition towards weight-gain, and underlying influences such as thyroid dysfunction, insulin resistance and adrenal hypofunction. Because the causes of weight-gain are often multifactorial, a multi-pronged approach involving both diet and lifestyle modifications is required for effective, sustainable and long-term weight-loss. 

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Good nutrition can be a game-changer. Eating well is one half of the equation for good health - living well is the other. Modern lifestyles often make little allowance for the luxury of home-cooked meals, planning your family's menu in advance, or satisfying your tastebuds while simultaneously balancing your checkbook.

 

The truth is that eating while eating well can be expensive, it doesn't have to be. Optimal nutrition means eating in tandem with the seasons, and focusing on fresh produce farmed and harvested in an ecologically sustainable manner. Though maintaining a diet abundant in organic fruits, vegetables and meat is desirable, there's no denying that organic produce can be significantly more expensive. However, it's important to know that whether organically farmed or not, oranges are still an excellent source of vitamin C, and non-organic spinach is just as abundant in iron, magnesium, copper and other health-promoting minerals as its organic counterpart. So rest assured that eating a daily diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole-grains makes you every bit as nutritionally-savvy as someone who eats organic versions of the same.  

Good nutrition also involves eating foods that complement your constitution. Each of us is born with a unique palate and set of genes that determine our preference for certain foods and our bodies' capacity to absorb optimal nutrition from what we eat. Discovering your unique constitution is paramount to optimal health, and sets the foundation for radiant skin, boundless energy, restful sleep, and the perfect synergy of physical health and psychospiritual wellbeing.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD NUTRITION

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Copyright 2018 by Apples and Unicorns Consultancy.