Our Five Elements
As a Nutritional Therapist, my focus is on food but working from a Functional Medicine systems biology approach, achieving optimal health needs to also consider more diverse aspects including movement, lifestyle, mindset and relaxation. These all provide a framework for how we support our clients.
Nutrition is our foundation; the essential fuelling we need. But food is so much more than that. Food really is medicine and every mouthful we take is giving our body a message – of healing or hurting.
Food can nurture and nourish but can also contribute to immune reactions and inflammation. We want to help you better understand what diet works for you – as an individual.
Nutrition is not only about what we eat, but also what we digest and absorb. The assimilation is dependent on the terrain.
We also acknowledge that it’s not only about what we eat, but when, how and why we eat too. These are important discussions too.
Nutrition includes hydration which plays an underrated role in both cognitive and physical health. The right balance of water is vital as every cell in our body depends on hydration to function optimally.
We were made to move and many of us don’t move enough – to our detriment. Movement really is life and there is no pill or potion that can replace it. Just like food, exercise is medicine.
Quite apart from physical benefits, movement has positive effects on our mental health. The release of endorphins improves mood and well-being. It’s a natural antidepressant and is free!
Exercise stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that regulate mood including dopamine and serotonin, and exercise can reduce stress by regulating hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Exercise helps to release BDNF (brain deprived neurotropic factor) which is a bit like fertiliser for the brain as it helps to stimulate brain cell regeneration and growth.
Movement helps to improve the quality of our sleep too.
Exercise stimulates our metabolism, helping to burn more calories, enhance lean body mass and reduce fat tissue and maintain optimal weight.
Bone health is improved by resistance training and daily movement
Exercising in nature can provide additional benefits.
Think about movement as ‘exercise snacking – little bite-sized, doable activities all through the day.
Optimal sleep and stress management are key components of life and longevity.
Research has shown the shorter our sleep, the shorter our lifespan. Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day. There isn’t a single organ or brain process that isn't optimally enhanced by it.
Conversely sleep deprivation can contribute to increased levels of DNA damage, can adversely affect blood pressure, heart rate, mental status, hormones, and immune function. Adults who are short sleepers (less than seven hours) are more likely to report chronic health conditions, including depression, arthritis, diabetes, and asthma.
We support reclaiming your full night of sleep without guilt or any stigma of laziness. It is a powerful elixir of wellness and vitality dispensed through every conceivable biological pathway.
There has been much talk about the importance of mind health over the last few years.
Mind Health starts with providing our brain with the nutrients it needs – at a very biological level.
But it is also about our relationship with ourselves and the importance being part of a nourishing community, building close ties with those around us.
The mind is affected by the health and function of many organs within the body and vice versa.
We consider the spiritual, psychological and social elements that all influence our health.
Recovery and Relaxation
This arguably is part of lifestyle, but we consider it a separate element because of its importance to overall health.
Recovery and relaxation are crucial for healthy longevity and very often get squeezed out of our schedules for work, family needs, activity and more.
Even with the best nutrients on the market we can’t out-supplement stress. To support restorative sleep, optimal energy, responsive immunity, effective digestion, balanced hormones and prime cognitive health, we need to calm our nervous system.
Often this means doing less, which can be difficult.
Can you carve out time in your day (every day) to take a break, and perhaps just breathe, deeply?
What are other tools or actions that you use to help you decompress?