Modern nutrition science likes to pretend that it simplifies the age-old question of what’s for dinner. In reality, most of us are more confused than ever. If you’re sick of struggling to sift through contradictory advice about which diet to follow and optimal eating plans, it’s time to adopt a different framework – functional nutrition.
But what is functional nutrition, and how can you put it into practice? The answer isn’t as complicated as you think.
What is Functional Nutrition?
Both Functional NUTRITION and Functional MEDICINE operate on the same premise – ie looking at the WHOLE person – the big picture of a person’s health by restoring physiological functioning and balance in the body.
Functional nutrition is the practice of considering every aspect of one’s health, diet, and overall lifestyle AND looking at/for the root cause of an issue, when giving nutrition recommendations.
With functional nutrition, symptoms are seen as clues for diagnosing your primary health problems, whether they are related to diet, illnesses, medications, lifestyle factors, exposure to toxins, antibiotic use, or other factors.
While conventional healthcare will try to suppress these symptoms with medication, functional nutrition instead sees them as clues for understanding the underlying issues within your body. By considering the impacts of seemingly unrelated factors on your health, functional nutritionists will put together a holistic health plan that takes every aspect of your health into consideration.
For these reasons, functional nutrition is never one-size-fits-all. Instead, it is a highly customized holistic health perspective that takes your unique specifications into account to trigger healing from the cellular level.
Put another way, functional nutrition practitioners aren’t in place to diagnose, prescribe for, or treat their clients for specific conditions. Instead, their role is to look at all health problems holistically, educate patients about the ways their behavior is impeding their optimal health, and offer suggestions for improvement.
How to Follow a Functional Nutrition Eating Strategy
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no single functional nutrition diet. Instead, the right dietary strategy for you is the one that’s designed to address your specific health concerns. Even so, some general premises hold true for almost everyone seeking to eat right for their body. The following principles are the answer to what is functional nutrition supposed to look like for you on a personal level.
The five main principles of following a functional nutrition plan include:
1. Fill Up on Essential Nutrients
2. Avoid Toxic Growing Conditions
3. Stick with Quality Foods
4. Prioritise Gut Health
5. Tend to Your Microbiome
Starting a Dialogue About Your Diet with Functional Nutrition
What is the secret to the success of functional nutrition? It lets you treat food as medicine to set your body up for better health. By realigning your relationship with food, you can shift your entire mindset on eating to make it easier to make healthy choices and to think through the ways that every aspect of your physical and emotional life is interconnected.
How do Health Coaches & Practitioners determine what is the functional nutrition eating strategy that makes sense for you? Most use a ‘functional medicine matrix’ to examine how your health history, lifestyle choices, and current diet might be contributing to your health concerns.
Generally, it’s stressed how vital it is for you to take in a variety of foods as opposed to a range of food “products.” This means eating a healthy, whole foods diet that contains little in the way of processed ingredients is a typical diet prescribed by a functional nutrition coach.
Keep in mind that a functional nutrition diet isn’t a one-and-done event. Instead, it is a dynamic process where you will continuously experiment with your diet and lifestyle and tweak the variables until you find what works for you. Success comes from having a conversation with your body that keeps you aware of how it responds to different factors so that you can continuously set it up for better success.
This level of ongoing dialogue isn’t always available in the modern health system, which is why seeking out the advice of a functional nutrition expert is so beneficial for your health journey.
Functional Nutrition: The Healthcare of the Future?
Functional nutrition provides answers to some of the most significant health problems today, and its premises of targeting your diet to your individual health concerns can make a world of difference in your quality of life.
By taking time to learn more about this shift in popular dieting, you can start achieving your best health yet.