What is Functional Nutrition?

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Functional nutrition is the holistic approach to diet, taking into consideration a person’s lifestyle factors that could affect their food choices, such as activity levels, environment or the presence of chronic disease. Based on the belief that food is medicine, functional nutrition is rooted in research indicating that disease prevention and surgical recovery are improved when supported by proper nutrition. With chronic diseases accounting for the majority of health concerns in middle-aged and older populations, nutritional interventions are important. Risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease are strongly linked to lifestyle and dietary choices.

Functional Nutrition vs. Standard Nutrition

Functional nutrition honors a person’s bio-individuality—the unique qualities a person has that determine their nutritional needs during different phases of life. Standard nutrition focuses more on nutritional facts, such as a food or food group’s ability to support or damage health. Functional nutrition considers these facts too but views them in the context of a person’s physiological makeup and how they live. A person’s activity levels, relationships, mental health, stress levels and other environmental factors are all considered by a functional nutritionist when making nutritional recommendations.

Foundations of Functional Nutrition

At RevitaLife, functional nutrition begins with a lifestyle consultation, blood work and sometimes other diagnostic tools. Depending on your concerns, you may be tested for food sensitivities. Any chronic conditions you currently experience or are at risk of developing will be considered when developing your eating strategy. Ultimately, functional nutrition will seek to restore balance, replete nutrient deficiencies, heal the gut and reduce stress on your metabolism and your digestive system. Reducing inflammatory biomarkers is another goal of functional nutrition to reduce risks of developing chronic diseases.

How Functional Nutrition Uses Food as Medicine

Functional nutrition takes the whole body into account. For example, a person who suffers from chronic muscle cramps may be suffering from an unknown mineral deficiency. Rather than treating muscle cramps as they arise, functional nutrition seeks to prevent muscle cramps from occurring in the first place by properly nourishing the body. Food is not only fuel—it is an extremely useful tool for addressing underlying causes of various conditions. Even though a whole food diet rich in fruits, vegetables and organic grass-fed meats is a great nutritional foundation, a functional nutritionist can recommend more targeted interventions with specific foods to treat individual health issues.

Functional Nutrition Encompasses More Than Food

Functional nutrition focuses on more than just the foods you consume. Your functional medicine nutritionist will inquire about your stress levels, sleeping patterns, drinking habits and other external influences. These factors matter because they indirectly impact your nutrition. For example, chronic stress can worsen irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, dehydration can lead to bladder or urinary tract infections and sleep deprivation can exacerbate high blood pressure and diabetes while also increasing risks of heart attack or stroke. Functional nutrition will help you identify foods, eating habits and lifestyle factors that can remedy issues like these while promoting total body wellness.

Taking Charge of Your Health and Nutrition

Taking charge of your nutrition requires a spirit of personal responsibility. To truly transform your health, commitment is required. Rather than reacting to symptoms and masking them, functional nutrition addresses the root causes of problems. While transitioning to a healthier way of eating may feel unpleasant for a short period of time, keep in mind that Western medicine’s approach to treating illnesses with pharmaceuticals can also cause unpleasant side effects and dangerous imbalances in the body. At RevitaLife, your long-term wellness and total body health are our passion and supporting you in achieving a better quality of life is our top priority.

To request a functional nutrition consultation, call us today at 850.436.4444.

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