Complementary Therapists > Dietary Therapy
Dietary Therapy - Ireland
The purpose of dietary therapy is to optimise our health through our diet. Dietary therapists analyse your current diet and then draw up a dietary plan of what you should be eating to improve your overall health. Foods and liquids that may have had a degenerative effect on your health will be eliminated and more healthy foods will be added to the diet.
There are a lot of diet plans, based on many different principles, that have been designed to improve health and well-being that claim to be effective in alleviating some illnesses and conditions. Amongst others they include the mono diet, the Hay diet, the Gerson diet and the macrobiotic diet.
Particular dietary recommendations have also been matched to particular conditions, such as asthma, migraine and arthritis. Sufferers from these and others conditions must track their pain history and their diet carefully and possible reveal a helpful dietary regime.
All diets should be examined carefully to see that it includes all necessary nutrients and minerals.
Diet and Nutritional Therapy
Dietary and nutritional therapies are not the same. Dietary therapy focusses on the right eating and drinking for health. Nutritional therapy is deals with the use of
nutritional or food supplements to deal with existing illnesses and conditions. Dietary therapists advise on what you should or should not eat however nutritional therapists recommend particular levels of vitamins and minerals for healing purposes. Although there is an increasing convergence of the two therapies, and it is quite likely that they will become a single discipline at some point in the future, important divergences continue to exist.
Dieticians generally do not tend to recommend large doses of vitamins and minerals for the reasons of treating illnesses and health-related conditions. Few dieticians accept the requirement for additional nutrients if a healthy and balanced diet is followed. While nutritionists do support the idea of a healthy diet they also believe that the current Western diet does not have all the nutrients the body requires. The put this down to modern types of food production which create foods low in nutrients or indeed lacking nutrients altogether. Nutritionists recommend that any missing nutrients should be made up by the intake of vitamin, mineral and other food supplements.
Advocates of mono diets, or single- food diets, believe that such diets help promote the cleansing of the digestive system via the consumption of only one type of fruit or vegetable for a couple of days or more. The food is usually puréed or turned in to juice. Some common foods that are used in mono diets include apples, beetroot, grapes, carrots and cabbage.
Food Combining Diet or the Hay Diet
The food combining diet was created by Dr. William Hay, a surgeon from the USA. It involves avoiding starchy foods such as bread, pasta, and potatoes at the same time as protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and dairy foods.
Hay believed that starch and proteins combine in the gut through chemical processes and that eating in the same meal means that neither food group is converted properly for use by the body.
The food combining diet plan is reputed to be effective in treating pain caused by conditions such as arthritis and by digestive problems.
The macrobiotic or yin-yang diet tries to bring the body to its perfect yin-yang energy balance with food types that contain yin and yang energies. Yang is the active hot side of people's nature; yin is our cool and peaceful aspect. Yang-type foods include cereals, root vegetables and pulses such as beans and peas. Yin-type foods include leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage, nuts, seeds, and fruit. Macrobiotics also emphasises that our food should be produced organically and locally and eaten in their proper season.
The Gerson diet was created by Max Gerson, another American doctor. Proponents of the Gerson diet claim that it helps to prevent cancer. This diet incorporates fruit and vegetables grown organically, specifically brassica vegetables such as cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli, that contain chemicals called indoles. Indoles are organic compounds that deactivate oestrogen. It is believed that oestrogen may be implicated in causing certain types of cancer and therefore there may some basis for the Gerson diet.
Though not all doctors are in agreement however a total fast of not more than 24 hours, when carried out under proper medical advice, can be and effective way of cleansing toxins from the body. It is not recommended that to undergo total fasts too frequently.
Diets for Specific Illnesses
Some chronic conditions and sicknesses may be helped by attention to your diet. This will work differently for different sufferers but in general it appears that a low-fat and low-protein diet can ease pain from rheumatoid arthritis. It is widely accepted that sufferers of migraine should avoid cheese, chocolate and wine. Asthma sufferers should try to establish which foods they react badly to and avoid these foods - especially anything that contains sulfites, such as wine and beer.
Hair Mineral Analysis
Nutritional therapists may use samples of your hair to pick up on mineral deficiencies within the body. This is a technique that involves having a hair sample analysed in a laboratory. Pieces of the hair sample are analysed for the presence or the absence of various substances. The laboratory will suggest specific mineral supplement products that should be taken to redress any imbalances. It should be noted that hair mineral content may not be a totally accurate reflection of the condition of the body and indeed different laboratories have been shown to produce results on the same samples of hair that are at odds with each other. In addition the condition of hair is affected by the shampoos and other hair products. It is for this reason that we should not rely on hair analysis alone to determine the mineral content of the body.
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