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Nutritional Counseling

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.Hippocrates, 460 B.C.

Nutritional CounselingWhat is Nutritional Counseling?

The phrase, “You are what you eat,” contains a lot of truth. Of course, diseases have many causes, but chief among them is diet. That’s why nutritional counseling is an integral therapy at the Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine and we place a great deal of emphasis on nutrition education.

Americans have the dubious distinction of being the fattest country in the world. Two-thirds of us are overweight and one-third clinically obese. Poor diet is a primary contributor to our epidemic of obesity—and the surest solution to weight loss and maintenance is a proper diet, coupled with regular exercise.

Overwhelming scientific evidence confirms that vitamin deficiencies are associated with disease processes and the overall condition of one’s health. Vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies have been shown to suppress immune function and contribute to chronic degenerative processes such as arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This body of research has been reaffirmed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (June 19, 2002-Vol 287, No 23). Suboptimal vitamin status is more common in the United States than one would think.

Who Needs Nutritional Counseling?

Perhaps the question should be who doesn’t need nutritional counseling. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s latest survey, Americans eat an average of only one serving of whole grains, three servings of vegetables, and one and a half servings of fruit (most of it juice) a day. We eat too much sugar (an average of 20 teaspoons a day), salt, saturated fat, and way too many calories.

Yet you need only to look at all the best-selling books on diet to know that people are looking for help and guidance. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of contradictory advice out there. This is terribly confusing for people who are serious about utilizing nutrition as a therapeutic tool.

NutritionOur Integrative Approach

We place a great deal of emphasis on nutrition education and counseling. Our approach makes the transition to healthy eating an empowering and positive experience. Our team at the Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine help you understand the difference between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that enhance health and those that harm. You’ll learn how to scrutinize food labels and how to eat right when dining out. Field trips on how to shop can be arranged and we share recipes for many delicious meals.

The Center offers a blood micronutrient test- an innovative assessment of a patient’s nutritional status. Over 31 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants are evaluated. By testing for vitamins, minerals and antioxidant levels we are able to identify deficiencies and supplementation can help in the management of chronic and immune diseases as well as provide valuable information for early detection and prevention for the proactive patient.

Refined Carbohydrates Raise Blood Sugar

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and millions more, unless they can get a handle on their weight, are heading towards it. Many diabetics are able to return their blood sugars to normal without drugs simply by

  • Changing the diet
  • Avoiding refined carbohydrates
  • Cutting back on excess calories
  • Losing weight

What Conditions Benefit from Nutritional Counseling?

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Obesity
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancer and immune dysfunction

NutritionDiet and Cardiovascular Disease

There is no question that a poor diet increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Dietary changes can reverse disease markers. Blood pressure declines when you eat more potassium-rich fruits and vegetables and less sodium. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels fall with adequate fiber and fewer saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.

Plant Foods Protect Against Cancer

It has been clearly established that excess dietary fat is associated with increased risk of cancer, while diets high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are protective against cancer.

How About a Little TLC

If you need a little more help, our therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) program may be just what you’re looking for. In addition to helping you learn about the power of nutrition, our TLC educators will help you clarify past mistakes, uncover problematic foods, and design a personalized diet for your specific problems and tastes. We will also provide support to help you stay on track as you settle into your new way of eating.

Nutritional Counseling for Women

The nutritional needs of women are quite different than those of men, due in large part to all the different stages of their reproductive life. Menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause each have unique nutritional demands that must be met to ensure longevity and good health. Nutritional deficiencies occur quite commonly in young women that are striving to be thin or physically fit. A healthy, balanced diet is necessary at all ages, and women should be aware of their body’s changing needs as they progress through all the stages of womanhood.

Common Types of Nutritional Deficiencies in Women During Menstruation

One of the major concerns for women during menopause is the development of osteoporosis. The loss of estrogen can lead to a significant loss of bone mass, leaving the bones brittle. Habits for maintaining healthy bones can begin even earlier in life. Diets that are low in salt, alcohol, and caffeine can also help improve calcium retention. Maintaining a healthy body composition and exercising regularly can also help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis after menopause.

Vitamin D can increase absorption of calcium, so its inclusion in the diet can also help decrease the risk of developing a calcium deficiency. Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin in response to sunlight and also found in foods such as fatty fish (sardines and mackerel), liver, and eggs.

Because of the hormonal changes that occur during menstruation, the metabolism shifts to begin burning more energy, often causing food cravings. It is generally good to avoid carbohydrates and instead focus on protein-rich snacks, which can help curb too much snacking.

The hormones may also cause bloating. The amount of fluid retained is related to the body’s levels of sodium, so lowering salt intake can decrease these discomforts.

Because of the blood loss that occurs during menstruation, iron levels may also dip to lower levels, causing mild anemia. This can be circumvented by including red meat, legumes, nuts, eggs, fortified cereals, and dark leafy vegetables in the diet. Iron supplements may also help with the symptoms of anemia, which may include tiredness, weakness, and malaise.

During Pregnancy

A woman’s blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy to help nourish the baby and keep her own body healthy, as well. The increase in red blood cell creation can cause an overall drop in iron levels if it is not supplemented, so it is critically important for pregnant women to add iron rich foods to their diets and take prenatal vitamins that include iron.

Because iron supplements may interfere with the absorption of zinc, zinc supplements are also commonly recommended. Leavened whole grain products, liver, eggs, red meat, and seafood are all good sources of zinc.

Much of the calcium needed for a developing baby can be drawn from the mother’s body, though pregnant women should be sure to replace this through supplements to ensure that they do not experience bone loss. Although it is quickly replaced after the baby is weaned, a well balanced diet can help keep mother and baby healthier throughout the pregnancy and early months.

Folic acid plays a crucial role in the proper development of a baby’s nervous system. In fact, folic acid supplements are normally recommended even before pregnancy occurs to ensure that there is plenty available during early embryonic development. In addition to taking folic acid supplements, this vitamin can be found in red meat, liver, egg yolks, and green leafy vegetables.

During Breastfeeding

Breast milk is extraordinarily concentrated with nutrients, and given that all the nutrients come from the mother, she must be certain to restore these regularly to avoid developing deficiencies. It is particularly important to continue to supplement calcium, iron, folic acid, and all the vitamins recommended during pregnancy. Magnesium and vitamin B6 are also crucial during breastfeeding. To make sure that the breast milk is ample and nutritious, it is also important to include protein in the diet and remain very well-hydrated.

Supplements for Nutritional Deficiencies in Women

We also recommend that women of all ages consider taking phytoestrogens for their health. These natural substances are derived from plants and offer a wide range of health benefits:

  • Flaxseed
  • Sesame seeds
  • Herbal teas, such as sage and aniseed
  • Whole grains, such as barley and cracked wheat
  • Nuts (particularly almonds)
  • Soy, chickpeas, and other legumes
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Extra virgin olive oil

A complete evaluation and comprehensive review is completed for each patient. Together we will explore your goals and discuss your treatment plan options. Our team at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine will regularly monitor your progress and track the effectiveness of your program making adjustments if necessary. Our goal is to support you and advise you every step of the way. We work in conjunction with your existing doctors to ensure the best possible care.

Contact Us

Call now  407 355 9246 or request an appointment online and receive expert counseling and advice from our integrative team of Internists, Naturopathic Physicians and Clinical Nutritionists.