Nutrition Q&A – Total Body Care

Why do you need a nutritionist?

Nutritional Therapy is a holistic system which uses food in its natural state to provide the nourishment we need to obtain and maintain optimum health. Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition and use their knowledge to give advice on diet to help encourage the body’s natural healing process. Our diets play an essential role in our general health and the way we look and feel, and Nutritionists can help us choose the right things to eat, help us plan menus, and advise on the health effects of certain foods. Nutritionists frequently work closely with individuals who have medical issues, such as those with diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders or those undergoing chemotherapy, to help them find the right foods to eat for their best possible health.

What happens in a session?

What happens in session will vary according to the needs of a patient, but typically the Nutritionist assesses a patient’s current dietary habits and needs (including their health and any symptoms), discusses healthy eating habits and recommends actions to improve or maintain health and/or address areas of concern.  The Nutritionist may also follow up to ensure menus and any other recommended actions are working.  Often the Nutritionist will write reports that document a patient’s progress. Nutritionists help their patients stay focused on their goals by providing regular encouragement and motivation. They discuss the pros and cons of specific diets and food trends, and what impact those have on health. Depending on their qualifications some nutritionists may test for specific food allergies or autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease (gluten intolerance).  

Is it true you need 5 fruits a day?

The 5 a day message was derived by the government when it launched its five-a-day programme in 2003.  The intention was to make healthy eating as easy as counting on the fingers of one hand. The figure of five was adapted from breaking up the World Health Organisation's recommended minimum daily 400g of fruit and veg into a bite-size marketing message. A minimum of 400g (or five 80g portions) of fruit and vegetables a day is said to lower the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, which helps prevent digestion problems. As most fresh fruit and vegetables are low in fat and calories, the five-a-day target can help you maintain a healthy weight and heart. However, the portion of fruit and vegetables that people should consume daily doesn’t necessarily need to be 5 and will differ between individuals – based on variations in weight, height, health and level of activity/exercise.   In general, it is sensible to eat a balanced diet, with a good mix of fruit and vegetables.  Its always best to have fruit and vegetables in their natural forms and not overly processed (such as in smoothies) as this can lead to extra calorie and sugar intake.

How much water should we drink a day?

Water is necessary for carrying nutrients to your cells, flushing bacteria from your system, preventing dehydration, and replacing fluids lost from sweating, but you may not need to drink as much as you thought. Public Health and Fitness experts often suggest drinking six to eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and to lose weight. Unfortunately, there’s little scientific basis to this recommendation. More recent research, such as published in the Harvard Health Letter, recommends drinking 30 to 50 ounces a day, which is equivalent to approximately four to six glasses of water.  Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who engage in a lot of exercise may need more than the standard six glasses, however. Rather than trying to drink a specific number of glasses of water a day, you should consider your overall fluid intake. This includes not only tap and bottled water, but also water found in unprocessed fruits and vegetables, and juices—and yes, even coffee and tea.