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Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Neli Petkova, DipNMC, (Germany).
Health is something, which we take for granted, unless we have lost it. The same applies to our clients; they very often raise questions about health, when problems have already appeared. Nowadays, health and disease prevention are topics of great interest and this is the reason why health coaching is gaining in popularity.
Nutrition is one very important aspect of health, in addition to sport and physical activities, positive mindset, and other healthy choices. Nutrients ease our bodies to function in the best possible way, bringing molecules for all the biochemical reactions and processes, which happen normally there every day. On the other hand, molecules, which enter inappropriately our body during nutrition, can stop the healthy reactions or trigger other biochemical reactions, which can cause diseases in the future. Therefore, getting the right nutrients and balanced nutrition will help our body to function at full capacity and this will enable us to keep away from diseases.
How to recognise malnutrition for micro and macronutrients? At the very first stage it is really hard to find, and even the blood test cannot be always a good indicator. Nutrients can be measured at a normal level in the blood flow, but not enough to the sites of the body, where they are much necessary. Increased lack will cause that cells and tissues become depleted of nutrients, and the metabolism at this rate/in this case slows down. The deficiency syndrome is still not recognized as a disease, but it can be felt as fatigue, lost of memory, and slowed processes in the body. These processes can start damaging cells and tissues. The next stages can cause functional and pathological disorders, the second of which are irreversible. It is essential that we go to the doctor during these two stages because the conditions will need to be treated.
Most common problems, related to nutrition
Immune system is a complex group of cells and processes, which fight against infectious microorganisms in the environment. Weak immune system can be recognised easily, when somebody gets sick often and easily, just by having a contact with viruses or bacteria. The immune system, especially cells called T-lymphocytes, fight against cancer cells, which could randomly appear on different places in the body/ parts of the body.
Immune system generates oxidative molecules (ROS or free radicals) as one of its ways to fight microorganisms, which is the reason why eating citruses can ease the immune response and protect the body against these molecules, which the body has produced. Moreover, the white blood cells store vitamin C.
Without the right nutrients and balanced nutrition, the immune system lacks the required components, which are used to generate an effective immune response.
Foods which are important for the immune system are proteins (for the production of antibodies), micronutrients as vitamin A, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, iron, zinc, selenium, dietary lipids like omega 3 and omega 6, and antioxidants.
It is known that immune system protects our organisms, but when it recognises food or other external molecules and allergens and when it reacts too strong against them, it is a disease. Nowadays many allergies are known and more and more people suffer from them. Autoimmune diseases are other malfunction of the immune system, in which the system fights against the body.
The best way of fighting allergies and autoimmune disease on the long run is to build up a strong and balanced immune system.
Very often, digestion gets wrong, when there are personal or nutritional problems. When any digestion problem occurs, the demand of nutrients is higher, as the nutrients intake in the digestive track is lower.
Maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal barrier is essential for the optimal immune function. There is also evidence that allergies can arise when the gastrointestinal epithelial layer is destroyed and food enters the layers beneath the epithelial cells freely.
The bacteria, which reside into our intestine are something individual and differ from person to person. The bacterial strains, which live there, survive preferably on the food we eat. In other words, our food choices selectively help some bacteria to live better. If the good strains survive and feel well, the body can enjoy being healthy. They help digestion and absorption and they also produce vitamins, primarily the vitamins K, B12, and folic acid. Bad strains, however, can cause many inconveniences and diseases. Bad strains have been associated with obesity and autoimmune diseases.
Foods, which promote growth of good bacteria, are prebiotics. These are oligosaccharides residues from digested dietary fibres, for example, saccharides, inulins, and others. Selecting digestive dietary fibres in the diets therefore, is important for the microflora growth.
Our brain is a network of neurons, which conduct physically our thought, feelings, and our memory. The signals between these cells are made through neurotransmitters, which are built by amino acids. On the other hand, in the metabolic reactions, which occur to secrete neurotransmitters, vitamins B participate in the enzyme activation. It comes as no surprise that vitamin B deficiency has been recently discovered to be a reason for depression, as serotonin synthesis needs this group of vitamins to happen. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter of the good mood.
Different foods are also important for the brain to function well. For example, omega 3 and omega 6 are vital lipids in the structure of the neuronal tissue. Omega 3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA and the richest dietary source is fish. Other important nutrient for the brain is choline, which is transformed into phosphatidylcholine in the body. Very important sources are lecithin and DMAE. Lecithin can be found in animal products such as eggs, milk, and meat, as well as in soy and soy products. DMAE is produced by the body but it can also be found naturally in fishes such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines.
What to consider
Something that is very important in health coaching is to have an integrative approach and to overview all aspects, connected to health. In order to balance between all the factors, the wheel of life can be used in the following topics: immunity, digestion, sleep, energy, physical activities, mental activities, weight, stress, sleep, and nutrition.
When it comes to nutrition, variety and synergy are the most important factors. Synergy means that nutrients support the body in the best way, when they work together and all the nutrients should be supplied on a daily basis. Nutrition therefore, is one of the aspects to have the best of ourselves.
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