Nutrition has always been one of the most controversial and debatable topics, because everyone wants to find the perfect diet that fits his/ her personal needs. However, people sometimes confuse nutrition with diets.
According to merriam-webster.com, a diet refers to:
1. Foods and drinks that are consumed regularly
2. Habitual nourishment, etc.,
And nutrition means:
1. the act or the process of nourishing or being nourished.
A diet that works well for one individual does not necessarily fit another person’s nutritional profile. Nutrition is so personal that even identical twins would have a different set of requirements based on their lifestyle habits and environmental influences, such as the availability and diversity of foods. Besides, our nutritional needs change according to different stages of life. As we age, we might have to focus on eating high quality protein and supplement with vitamins.
Health Now and In The Future
We would all like to maintain our appearance and functions as we age. Science is beginning to understand the process of aging. Inflammation, oxidation, high blood sugar, low activity levels, falling hormone levels all contribute to loss of functions and the diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. Finding a nutrition (including supplements) and exercise program that is sustainable for you is my goal.
How to Use Nutrition for Healing
As knowledge becomes easily accessible, Google, WebMD and Healthline are probably a few of the most used gateways to learn about nutrition. However, these online resources provide only a glimpse into the concept of nutrition without clear guidelines about how to personalise a nutritional plan that would yield health benefits for individual needs.
In order to thrive and shine at any age, it is crucial to look into what works with and for our body through nutritional testing and screening.
1. Blood Test
Complete Blood Count to look for anaemia and check our immunity.
Cholesterol and its sub-fractions such as LDL which predispose to heart disease and stroke.
Routine tests of the liver and kidneys.
Hormones including thyroid hormones and insulin. Sex hormones especially for pre-, post-, and menopausal women and older men.
Vitamins, including Vitamin D which is so often low in Hong Kong.
CRP test for inflammation.
Fasting glucose and HBA1C for longer term trend in blood sugar levels.
Elements and Ferritin.
a. Element deficiency is easily fixed, but ignored, it can lead to bigger health issues. For instance Zinc and Selenium are key to immunity.
b. Ferritin is a test of iron stores and can sometimes indicate inflammation.
a. It reflects the effectiveness of Vitamins B12, B6 and Folate and is key to many physiological processes including energy production.
2. DNA Test
DNA test is a good reference of what our body is predisposed. Certain genetic expressions can be altered by shifting to a new physical and nutrition environment.
3. Food Intolerance Test
I like to use food intolerance tests as a guideline when assigning meal plan and suggesting enzymes supplementation. Sometimes a ‘healthy’ meal to one might cause GI discomfort in another.
4. GI Map
Last but not least, GI Map, which tests the balance of our gut microbiome, looks for harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites and has several biological markers of gut health and digestion. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, poor digestion and symptoms such as gas and bloating are very common in Hong Kong, and the GI Map can be an important part of finding a solution.
Speak to your health practitioners about your concerns. Practitioners who trained in functional medicine and naturopathy usually provide holistic insights and they would be able to help you find the appropriate testing panel. Once the test results come back, we can begin the process of developing a comprehensive nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle and enhances the ease and enjoyment of life.
While ketogenic nutrition is my principal area of expertise, because of its many health benefits, there are also numerous other approaches that we can take to achieve optimal nutrition. The key is finding a nutrition and exercise program that aligns with your needs and, most important of all, is sustainable.