What is functional health and how does the food I eat impact it?
Functional health is much more than 'do I have a disease' and 'do I need treatment'. The body has an amazing ability to remain in dynamic balance, however 21st century living, inclusive of; processed, toxic foods of the wrong type and wrong balance, a toxic lifestyle, toxic air and toxic water as well as high stress and over use of pharmaceutical medication is preventing re-balance from occurring. This leads to many systems in the body functionally being out of balance. This can include the balance of gut flora in the gut, the body’s ability to detoxify, balance of our autonomic nervous system, hormonal imbalance, chronic inflammation and mitochondrial damage to name just a few.
What might this look like in me?
It could be low energy, lack of vitality, a mirage of un-diagnosed symptoms, unexplained infertility, an inability to loose weight, lowered immunity and recurrent infections.
So what is functional medicine?
It is understanding the underlying imbalances in your body that could be the cause of these symptoms, working from the roots of your tree as opposed to just treating your symptoms (the leaves)
What can I expect from working with a functional medicine practitioner?
A functional medicine practitioner will implement dietary modifications, lifestyle interventions, functional testing and supplements to support the systems indicated as in need of support.
Some hints and tips from our Functional medicine practitioner
Swap refined carbohydrates (white bread, rice, potatoes, pasta) for more complex traditional grains such as; sweet potato, brown and wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet. These will give you a much slower surge in blood glucose that causes, central fat storage and ultimate low energy.
Avoid western breakfasts of cereal and toast, swap for: omelette, scrambled egg with grilled tomatoes, scrambled tofu, chia pudding, quinoa porridge.
Plan food in advance particularly when out and about, this is to reduce food choices governed by your belly and not your head. Carry a protein rich snack such as a Bounce ball or some nuts (avoid peanuts)
Aim for 2 litres of hydrating fluids each day. Coffee and tea are dehydrating. Herbal tea and water are most effective ways to remain hydrated.
Aim to finish eating a minimum of 2 hours before bed, this is to support the body’s ability to switch from sympathetic nervous system (on the go) to para-sympathetic (rest and digest)
Jo Gamble is a nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner whose passion is to support her client’s on their journey to wellness.