Nutrition is at the core of health. A body that is improperly fueled, or overweight but undernourished, cannot sustain health over the long term. Macro- and micro-nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, all affect cellular nutrition; cellular nutrition affects the entire body. Some foods like sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates can actually damage health, especially when taken in excess. Nutritional counseling can help correct all of these problems.
All chiropractors receive training in nutrition and have the option to go on for advanced nutritional training. In fact, chiropractors receive more training in nutrition than the average medical doctor --about 100 hours over the course of several years. The training focuses on nutritional science and how diet can help promote health or contribute to disease. In addition, the training includes information about nutritional supplements, botanicals (herbs and plants) and nutraceuticals (foods that have specific health-giving properties).
Nutritional counseling begins with a dietary assessment. The patient may be asked to do a food recall for a certain period or keep a food diary for a few days. These assessments help the doctor pinpoint eating habits, dietary preferences, cooking habits and potential problems like snacking on refined carbohydrates or skipping meals. A lifestyle assessment is also included, to identify potential problems like sleep disorders (which affect weight), energy levels, exercise habits and gastrointestinal problems like heartburn or food allergies. This information helps the doctor develop a nutritional plan.
Many Americans can benefit from nutritional counseling. Food choices affect health and can contribute to disease. Even when a patient is outwardly healthy, problems like low energy levels or sleep disturbances indicate nutrition could be an issue. Anyone who is overweight or obese, or has heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, can benefit from nutritional counseling. Nutritional counseling can also be helpful for those with food allergies or intolerance, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome, or to promote healthy eating during pregnancy.
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