What is Naturopathic Nutrition
Modern Naturopathic Nutrition
Sometimes known as naturopathic nutritional therapy or holistic nutrition, naturopathic nutrition is traditionally viewed as a therapy which uses a fresh, natural diet as a treatment for disease.
There is no doubt that this approach can be very successful, especially for individuals whose habitual diet is unhealthy. In fact public health advisors now recommend that we eat at least five (preferably 5-9) daily portions of fresh fruit and vegetables – a policy of which the early naturopaths would have very much approved.
However not all health problems can be resolved simply by eating a better diet. The modern western diet, together with pollution and the excessive use of antibiotics has led to epidemics of long-term health problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome which, while still being curable using natural methods, need a more complex approach.
Modern naturopathic nutritionists are trained in the detailed workings of the body and its metabolism. This enables them not only to explain to individuals how their illness may have started but also to design a tailor-made nutrition and health program, explain how it works, and guide the client through it, adapting it as necessary and working through any problems that may arise.
Naturopathic nutritionists are also trained in the use of specialized lab tests which can help them to tailor a nutritional supplement program.
Naturopathic nutrition & science
A large volume of research which goes back for many decades is not included in the curriculum of most colleges, medical schools and universities. This research consistently demonstrates that methods based on naturopathic nutrition can be very successful in reversing a chronic (long-term) health condition.
In addition to diet and supplements, naturopathic nutritionists also use safe herbal products and are trained to guide individuals through procedures designed to find out whether any specific staple foods are aggravating their condition.
Surely healthy eating is the same for everyone?
Conventional wisdom dictates this, but in fact once symptoms develop people’s needs can be very different according to what is causing them. Analysing these symptoms can provide clues. The naturopathic nutritionist does this in great detail. Condition of skin, hair, eyes, digestion, bowel habits, energy, nerves and menstruation can all give clues.
If the client suffers from painful menstrual periods and also has a very dry skin and flaking fingernails, we might suspect a magnesium and essential fatty acid deficiency. If this client also has, say, a heart condition, we would expect that by providing a magnesium-rich diet we could also begin to correct some of the abnormal body chemistry which may have made the client vulnerable to the heart problem.
Bloating accompanied by migraines or skin rashes might suggest a food intolerance (‘allergy’). If the client also suffers from arthritis, we would expect that the inflammatory state produced by this allergy may be affecting his or her joints too.
Some people have problems digesting or handling certain foods. Sinusitis, for instance, can come and go at random if we are regularly eating one of these foods. To identify problem foods, naturopathic nutritionists use a special diet which is very low in foods which are liable to cause symptoms. This diet is used just for diagnostic purposes for a few weeks and allows the therapist to monitor the effects of different foods on the body.
Naturopaths also uses a variety of special diets, including rotation diets, diets to make the body more alkaline, diets to reduce bacterial or yeast infestations within the intestines, and so on.
Can naturopathy cure anything?
Naturopathic medicine has excellent success rates for many problems for which your doctor has no cure: Irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual and premenstrual problems, migraine, children’s ailments like glue ear and ADHD, skin problems, low energy levels or digestive problems.
Some people have described their recovery as miraculous. Cures have also been achieved for more serious problems like arthritis, high blood pressure and asthma, although the response is more variable.
A man with angina so severe that he could not walk more than a few yards without pain was able to start climbing mountains in his spare time after less than a year of following a naturopathic health program.
Even if a problem cannot be entirely stopped, its progress can be slowed down by giving optimum nutritional support to functions like the immune system.
Differences between naturopaths and dieticians
Naturopathic nutritionists are very different from dieticians. We normally say that naturopathic nutrition starts where dietetics stops. The dietician is trained to be primarily concerned with whether or not you are meeting the Government’s minimum guidelines. Some dieticians are trained in tube feeding and other hospital procedures, but naturopathic nutritionists are not.
Naturopaths hope that people will consult them before such drastic measures are required.