There is functional training and functional medicine. Lately, there is also a growing field called functional nutrition. Functional nutrition might sound like another fad diet but it’s so much more than that. In this blog, we introduce you to the concept of functional nutrition coaching – what functional nutrition is, what a functional nutrition coach does, who it’s for and its benefits.
So, what does a functional nutrition coach do? A functional nutrition coach works with clients to improve their overall health and wellbeing. This approach focuses on helping the whole person, rather than one specific problem via tailored nutrition, supplementation, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Read on to learn more about what functional nutrition health coaches do, as well as how functional nutrition works its benefits.
What is Functional Nutrition Health Coaching?
Functional nutrition is a holistic approach to medicine that focuses on helping the whole person, rather than one specific problem. Functional nutrition coaches prioritise whole, high quality food, supplements, exercise and mental health to improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing.
Whilst functional nutrition takes a holistic approach, it’s important to recognise that holistic nutrition is a different approach – this seeks to treat individual concerns and symptoms. Functional nutrition, on the other hand, optimises how the body functions as a whole. It is an evidence-based approach that assesses the underlying causes of health concerns.
Examples of Functional Nutrition Coaching
During the first session with a new client, a functional nutrition coach will spend time understanding their health goals before creating a tailored plan to support those goals. Examples of such goals include:
A functional nutrition health coach can work with people struggling to lose or maintain weight. They will evaluate the person’s current nutrition and lifestyle before making recommendations that optimise nutrient intake, balance hormones and improve gut health.
Functional nutrition coaches can work with those experiencing gut health issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhoea. They will evaluate current nutrition and lifestyle before recommending a tailored plan to improve gut health. This may involve increasing fibre, reducing processed foods and incorporating probiotics.
Functional nutrition coaches can work with those wanting to boost athletic performance, whether that’s speed, strength or building muscle. With client goals in mind, coaches will draw up a plan featuring tailored nutrition and supplements that support these goals.
Management of Chronic Diseases
Functional nutrition can help to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or autoimmune disorder. Recommendations will be made to improve nutrient intake, balance hormones and reduce inflammation. This, in turn, can help to manage and relieve symptoms.
How Does Functional Nutrition Work?
Different functional nutrition coaches will work slightly differently. However, coaching will generally work like this:
Functional nutrition coaches will typically begin with an initial assessment that covers their client’s current health, nutrition and lifestyle. They will also determine their goals and desired outcomes.
After the assessment session, the functional nutritionist will go away and create a plan that contains foods, nutrients and supplements needed to support the client’s goals.
- Analysis & Results
The functional nutrition coach will keep an eye on how their client’s plan is progressing to see if anything needs to be tweaked for optimal results.
Learn more about functional nutrition and how it works here
What Does a Functional Nutrition Assessment Include?
Arguably, the assessment is the most important part of a person’s functional nutrition journey as it allows the coach to understand the person’s issues, lifestyle and goals. A successful plan cannot be put together without this information.
At Human Health Hub, we ask clients to fill out a pre-assessment health questionnaire to help us understand what may be affecting their health and wellbeing. This will also allow us to identify the specific foods, supplements and lifestyle changes that will support their goals.
Some of the factors that we take into consideration in this initial assessment include:
- Medical conditions
Some of these will be more obviously useful than others, but they all provide valuable insight into your current health and what we can achieve together.
Benefits of Functional Nutrition
The main aim of functional nutrition is to improve cellular function in order to optimise overall health and wellbeing. Your cells are fuelled by the nutrients you consume. In fact, if you’ve ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”, the more accurate version of this would be “you become what you eat”.
Other benefits of functional nutrition include:
- Managing inflammation
- Improving recovery time after injury
- Gut health
- Weight loss or management
- Improving athletic performance
- Building strength
- Improving mental health
Functional Nutrition Coaching with Human Strength Hub
At Human Health Hub, we see ourselves as partners in health. Our founder, Roan Heming, is a certified functional nutrition practitioner and will work with you towards a common goal of improving your overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. Learn more about our services online or get in touch today for a free consultation.
What is Functional Nutrition?
The term functional is defined as “something that is of function “. Nutrition is defined as “the sum of the processes by which one takes in and utilises food substances “. When put together, this means that functional nutrition is eating for a particular purpose. And this purpose can vary broadly.
In the sense of functional sports nutrition, one can eat for hypertrophy goals, to get stronger or to lose body fat faster. In general functional nutrition, the goals can vary:
- Eating to decrease food intolerances
- Increasing intestinal health
- Improving hepatic biotransformation
- Improving epigenetics
- Managing inflammation and autoimmunity
- Optimising neurochemistry
What are the Benefits of Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition aims to improve certain cellular functions to optimise health and well-being in sports. Specifically, the training progress and sports performance. “we are what we eat “, or more precisely “we become what we eat “, is true in every sense. Our cells are built from and fuelled by the nutrients we eat. Poor material and fuel will never lead to a high-performance race car. So high-quality food counts.
Yet, food doesn’t equal food. Food is made of different macro- and micronutrients. And all these affect our cells differently. In the context of functional nutrition, we need to choose foods and nutrients specifically to target our specific goals. For example, suppose our goal is to use functional nutrition to optimise neurochemistry by reducing inflammation. In that case, we will use specific foods that lower inflammation, such as salmon, broccoli, red cabbage and ginger, while avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as vegetable oils, sugar, dairy and peanuts.