Nutritional medicine is a holistic approach to the interactions of both nutrition and environment on human health. Nutrients are the building blocks of our physical body. When the body is supplied with the correct balance of foods, vitamins and minerals, we remain healthy. All humans are unique in terms of biochemistry, metabolism, anatomy and genetics. Our internal environment differs in gut flora, integrity of the intestinal wall and the immune system. All of these affect our ability to process foods, absorb nutrients and detoxify and expel wastes.
When assessing nutritional status we need to include the impact of the external environmental factors. These include exposure to toxicity from heavy metals, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic chemicals including pharmaceutical and recreational drugs. In addition, food additives, flavorings and colorings or particular foods may lead to sensitivities, allergies and intolerances. Chronic parasitic, fungal, bacterial and viral infections can disturb our internal environment. Poor sleep and psycho¬ social stresses also affect our ability to cope effectively, and impact our health.
Living an optimally healthy lifestyle provides the best conditions for the body to both prevent and heal from disease states. Improving our diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and drinking plenty of filtered water is a good start. Foods may be depleted in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as a result of depletion in our soils, green harvesting and cold storage, and, all too often, we consume foods that are highly processed and overcooked or of poor quality and little nutritional value. Our bodies are then affronted daily by excessive production of free radicals caused by our polluted environment and stressful lifestyles. As a result, oxidative stress has now been shown to be the root cause of over 70 chronic degenerative diseases.
Nutrition plays an important role in virtually every medical condition. It follows that correcting nutritional imbalances is fundamental to the prevention and treatment of many common conditions.