The "eat healthier" message is getting through to people. But they are struggling with it. What's healthy and what's not? How balanced is balanced? What exactly does 5-a-day mean?
Take water for instance. As we are made up of at least 60% water, it's no surprise that water is important to us. But do you know just how important it is to your body? Making sure that we drink enough water better helps your body to achieve many things such as:
1. Balanced body fluids: Too little water can reduce the effectiveness of many of the body's functions such as digestion, nutrient distribution and even body temperature.
2. Calorie reduction: Water has no calories and drinking water in place of alternatives can reduce a person's calorie intake. Drinking extra water can also make you feel full and may reduce the urge to eat the treat you had been thinking of.
3. Improve the appearance of your skin: Your skin contains a surprising amount of water. If you are dehydrated, your skin can look dry and wrinkled.
4. More energy: Dehydrated muscles can cause muscle fatigue which is why it is really important to drink water before and during exercise.
5. Keeps you "regular": Good hydration keeps your bowels functioning well and prevents constipation.
6. Improved kidney function: Your kidneys need a good supply of water to effectively clear waste through your systems
I am sure that you will not have been surprised to read that drinking enough water is important. However, there are many other aspects of healthy eating that might surprise you. For instance:
1. Artificial sweeteners may not be so good for you after all: Research has suggested that artificial sweeteners can clog the liver to the extent that it causes damage. As the liver helps in burning fat and losing weight, artificial sweeteners may actually be producing the opposite effect.
2. Potatoes are a vegetable that provide a great source of vitamins and fibre. In fact they are such a good source of nutrition for the body that it has been suggested that you could live off of just potatoes and water. However, did you know that potatoes do not form part of the recommended 5-a-day?
3. Cereal may not be a healthy start to the day after all. A study by Which? found that only one of the 100 leading brands of cereals had healthy levels of fat, sugar and salt and 22 of the cereals contained more sugar per serving than a jam doughnut.
Understanding how to eat healthily is surprisingly complex. So much so, that to practise professionally as a Nutritional Therapist you have to undertake a minimum 3 year degree programme.
Nevertheless, many people are looking for answers and for guidance about how that can eat better. And the people most likely to be looking for this help are the people who are already doing things to improve their health and wellbeing. They take regular massages, they use Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage,... They're your clients.
If you want to help your clients better understand nutrition and healthy eating then there is an alternative to a 3-year degree course - the ITEC Award in Healthy Eating & Wellbeing for Complementary Therapy Clients. This short course gives you the qualification you need to join any of the leading professional associations and be registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council. You will be able to provide information on the maintenance of health and wellbeing for clients as well considering the nutrients required for a healthy diet plus deficiencies, disorders and key illnesses associated with diet.