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The Role of Functional Nutrition in Mental Health

As we have moved into the 21st century, the role and importance of nutrition has drastically shifted over the past 100 years. From carb-heavy meals of meat, potatoes, and bread in the past, to the “nutrition pyramid”, to juicing, health-fads, and entire industries created around providing nutritional supplements, the understanding and attention regarding nutrition has only increased.

In the same time frame, the understanding of mental health has slowly but surely increased, and the stigma regarding counseling for mental health issues has reduced. All of these factors in combination have led to a new connection and understanding, between the role of functional nutrition and its effects on mental health. Keep reading to learn a little more about this connection, and what Thrive Services is doing to help.

“Functional Nutrition”

While you may have heard of the term “functional nutrition”, you may not know exactly what it is. In practice, functional nutrition utilizes scientific evidence about organ health and nutrition, and applies it within the broader aspect of an individual’s specific lifestyle and health. With the plethora of misinformation, and even predatory nutrition plans that exist out there, functional nutrition attempts to apply trusted scientific data in a customized way; the approach is designed to improve your body and your personal nutrition specifically, rather than blanket nutritional “fix-alls” that might benefit some, but could potentially harm others.

However, historically, trends in nutrition are a result of pseudoscience, or less-than-reputable studies. The issues commonly found in these studies can range from an incorrect implementation of results, to a lack of effective peer-review, to even industry-funded studies that lead to bias study designs. Luckily, at Thrive Counseling, our functional medicine dietician Kelly Sieberg vigorously combs through research on a daily basis. She makes nutritional recommendations to our clients based on studies that use trustworthy and reliable designs, and combines that knowledge with the particular lifestyle of each client. This ensures that any scientific data used can be relied on, and that no blanket pieces of advice will be given out haphazardly.

Nutrition and Mental Health

Now that you understand a bit more about what functional nutrition is, you might still be wondering how nutrition applies to mental health. There are a variety of studies that show important links between nutrition and well-being, but even without scientific studies, there is a certain surface level connection between nutrition and mental health that is fairly important to understand. Nutrition is a vital part of maintaining a physically healthy body, as are a variety of other lifestyle aspects like sleep patterns, digestion, hydration, medications, physical activity, energy levels, etc.

While we may not make the connection in the moment, in reality, a lack of consistent balance regarding any of these aspects can affect our mental health for the worse. Think about it; when you get a poor night of sleep, miss a workout because of a busy schedule, or wake up feeling a bit dehydrated, you are much more susceptible to feeling irritable, low-energy, and stressed out. This process is no different for nutritional lifestyle aspects either. When you skip a meal or two because of your schedule, or pig out on a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream, your body generally feels it, and so does your mind. Whether it’s the lack of fuel, or the lack of the right fuel, these minor nutritional deficiencies can lead to some majorly debilitating mental health effects.

Functional Medicine from Thrive Counseling

With all of these factors in mind, you can see how important nutrition is to your body and your mind — and how important it is to take your own nutrition seriously. That’s why Thrive Counseling is proud to provide effective functional nutrition services for folks in Vandalia and the surrounding areas. Our functional medicine nutritionists are trained in the cause and effect nutrition on mental health, and are committed to understanding your own personal lifestyle and nutritional habits, and working with you to bring about balance in both your mind, and your stomach. Give us a call today to learn more, and see how Thrive Services can support you!