Nutritional Therapy is based on the idea that a diet of properly prepared nutrient-dense, whole foods can facilitate optimal health. Even the perfect diet, however, will be useless if you cannot access and assimilate the nutrients being provided. Using the NTP tools of discovery and recovery, Nutritional Therapy focuses on the quality of your Digestion, Blood Sugar Handling, Fatty Acid Balance, Hydration and Mineral Balance, to better understand your body’s nutrient needs and the status of your systems’ function.
Every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies relies on the quality of our digestion to function properly. As a north to south process, if any part of the digestive system is in a state of dysfunction, the rest of the sequence is in jeopardy. The process starts in the brain with sight and smell before you have even tasted your food, so don’t underestimate the nuances of this powerful and important system. Digestion is a parasympathetic process, so it is important to be in a calm, relaxed state when you sit down to enjoy your food. Rest and digest!
Blood Sugar Handling
Today, our culture’s food is largely devoid of nutrients. Not only is the soil that is used to grow our crops and the grasses that feed our ruminant animals depleted of essential minerals, but crops are then stripped further of any nutrients that may be present by industrialized refining processes. This means that digesting these food items causes the nutrients required for the breaking-down and assimilation of these foods to be leached from our bodies rather than being supplied by the whole food as nature intended. It also means that these items that were once valuable sources of B Vitamins, phytonutrients, bioflavonoids and fiber, are now empty calorie sugar bombs. Sugars in these nutrient-depleted foods are immediately dumped into the bloodstream rather than slowly through the longer digestion process of breaking down the bran, fiber, fat and protein. The body’s reaction to a spike in blood sugar results in a steep drop that sends the body into emergency mode resulting in intense cravings for more sugar – and the whole cycle starts again. This reactive hypoglycemia is the first step toward insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes. Proper Blood Sugar Handling is imperative to brain, tissue, liver, heart and endocrine health – the body’s systems cannot function properly when blood sugar handling is in dysfunction.
Fatty Acid Balance
Fat is good for us! Fats don’t only make our food taste good, they also protect our organs, build cell membranes and hormones, and are a source of concentrated energy. In fact, fat is our heart’s favorite fuel source. Blood Sugar Handling dysfunction and the resulting glycation of proteins in the body is what leads to plaque build-up in the arteries and elevated LDL. It is also elevated blood sugar that makes a body switch from being a fat-burner to a sugar-burner; and sugar-burning is what leads to stubborn weight gain, insulin resistance, hormone issues, etc.
Essential fatty acids derived from high-quality fat sources are critical to our bodies’ inflammatory response, a function that is critical to healing. These fatty acids can only be sourced from food. Not all fats are created equal, however; hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated, trans and rancid fats are toxic to our bodies. The use of these fats disrupts biliary function, increases toxic burden and increases LDL. Therefore, it is important that you choose wisely when picking cooking fats. In addition, animals store toxins in their fat; this is why it is important to strive for organic, grass-fed sources of animal protein and fat.
There are many vital nutrients that our bodies can produce when we are providing them with properly prepared, nutrient-dense diets: most fatty acids, glucose, vitamins, amino acids. Water, however, must be ingested. It is both fundamental and essential. Water houses the minerals that conduct energy throughout our bodies, it lubricates our joints and transports nutrients to our cells. While hydration needs can be affected by climate, activity level and bio-individuality, a helpful equation for determining the minimum amount of water you should drink per day is:
Although they make up less than 4% of the human body, minerals are vital to our bodies’ proper function. As the spark-plugs for every metabolic process that takes place in our body, they are responsible for maintaining the body’s pH, our cells’ osmotic pressure, hydration, electrical current and cellular communication. Heavy metal toxicity and nutrient deficiencies can cause these minerals to get out of balance resulting in detrimental system dysfunctions. In addition, our bodies cannot make these minerals, so it is imperative that we maintain a balanced diet of properly prepared, nutrient-dense foods.