Profesional Footballer Hal Robson-Kanu tells Healthista why functional nutrition is beneficial to our health and well-being
Are you tired of sifting through contradictory advice about which nutrition plan is right for you?
While modern medicine has come a long way, traditional solutions still have a genuine impact on improving your health.
Ingredients like turmeric, ginger and ashwagandha have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, so it’s no surprise that they can make such significant improvements to the wellbeing of your body and mind.
Modern science continues to back up these ancient remedies
Modern science continues to back up these ancient remedies with proven explanations of how each ingredient influences particular healing processes and eases symptoms of everything from muscle swelling to Alzheimer’s.
So, whether you’re trying to recover from a sports injury, improve your focus or simply live a healthier lifestyle, preventing and treating issues by focusing on nutrition is every bit as important as curing ailments with physical treatments or medicine.
Looking after your body and your general well-being is something Premier League footballer Kanu-Robson values highly, that’s why Healthista spoke to him about what functional nutrition is, how we can change our diet and benefit our body and mind.
West Brom striker, Hal Robson-Kanu, has 45 international caps under his belt
At 31-years-old, West Brom striker, Hal Robson-Kanu, has 45 international caps under his belt and is still at the top of his game. Not only that, but Robson-Kanu is also the founder of The Tumeric Co – a company that produces a wide range of turmeric shots to help enhance health and energy levels.
Here’s what Robson-Kanu suggests about functional nutrition and its benefits…
Functional nutrition vs standard nutrition
While, standard nutrition suggests food groups or items that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you, functional nutrition is about tailoring a diet to a person’s specific needs.
Functional nutrition considers every aspect of one’s health, diet, and overall lifestyle and not just what foods are healthy or not healthy.
We are all built differently and food tolerances vary from person to person, so it makes sense that this should be taken into account when transitioning into a different nutritional diet.
functional nutrition is about tailoring a diet to a person’s specific needs
Sticking to standard nutrition (‘good’ or ‘bad’ method) is simply not a viable option for many peoples’ dietary goals.
Plus, variables such as environment, activity levels and even genetics can have an effect on which food groups can be problematic for an individual.
That’s why looking into a nutrition plan that’s specific for you is key to a successful diet that promotes a healthier body and mind.
How to transition into functional nutrition
Whenever you begin a new diet, regardless of how simple or harmless it may seem, you should always consult either your GP or a dietitian.
Nutritionists can also help by identifying which foods you react positively and negatively with. They are also able recommend certain foods that may suit your type of lifestyle.
Functional nutrition, like the majority of diets, revolves around minimising processed foods and eating more nutritionally rich, real and healthy whole foods.
Past studies have shown that whole foods ‘serve as a concentrated source of components with beneficial health benefits’, whereas, processed foods ‘negatively affect the bioactive components of functional foods.’
Nutritionists can also help by identifying which foods you react positively and negatively with
Examples of whole foods that you need to be able to function can easily be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, quality proteins and healthy fats.
When transitioning from standard nutrition to functional nutrition, it is also important to consume plenty of fibre. This will help to support your gut, a microbiome that contains a large percentage of your body’s immune system and stop you from getting sick easily.
You can increase your fibre intake by adding vegetables such as broccoli and carrots and adding nuts and seeds, to name a few examples.
As well as eating nutritionally rich foods and upping your fibre intake, you must also stay physically active, hydrated, focus on reducing stress levels and maintain a consistent sleep pattern (try to get eight hours of sleep per night).
Benefits Of Functional Nutrition
There are innumerable ways in which functional nutrition can have a positive impact on your overall well being.
Here are a few of the benefits you’ll experience when switching from standard nutrition to functional nutrition:
Benefit #1 Weight control
Studies suggest that over half of the world’s population will be obese by 2030 – this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
A functional nutrition diet plays an important role in weight control as we become more highly acute to the nutritional value of the foods we put into our bodies.
Knowing which foods or foods groups your body doesn’t react positively with is imperative to reaching your weight goals, whether that’s losing weight, gaining or maintaining it.
we become more highly acute to the nutritional value of the foods we put into our bodies
On the whole, weight loss is about being in a calorie deficit, so finding the balance between the types of food that your body needs and the calories and energy that your food supplies is important to controlling your weight levels long term.
Benefit #2 Improved focus
Lacking certain nutrients can have a devastating effect on your mental health, and this stems beyond anxiety and depression.
The discipline of nutritional neuroscience sheds light on the fact that nutrition is intertwined with mental health.
Indeed, studies have shown that the top causes of brain fog are poor dietary choices, allergies and food intolerances.
top causes of brain fog are poor dietary choices
Functional nutrition and learning what foods your body and brain react well to, will help improve your focus and mental health as you are becoming more actively aware of the foods being put into your body and their impact.
There are many foods that reduce brain fog and promote focus, such as fruit and vegetables like blueberries and broccoli, fatty fish that are high in omega-3, and seeds like pumpkin seeds that are high in zinc, magnesium, iron and copper.
In fact, research shows that consumption of blueberries can have a positive impact on focus up to five hours after they’ve been eaten.
Benefit #3 Stronger immune system
There’s no better way to support your immune system than giving it all the high-quality nutrients and minerals it craves so that it can continue to work as intended.
Functional nutrition makes you listen to your body, ensuring your providing yourself with the correct nutrients that will help to strengthen your immune system.
In fact, studies have shown a direct correlation between your nutritional diet and your immune system.
Functional nutrition makes you listen to your body
However, although getting your five-a-day is a great way to keep your immune system functioning properly, that doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up to keep your diet exciting.
Garlic, ginger, spinach, natural yoghurt, citrus fruits that are high in vitamin c, and turmeric are all superfoods that have the power to protect and heal when it comes to anything from common illnesses to deadly diseases.
Benefit #4 Better sleep
Studies show functional foods play an important role in the prevention of insomnia.
There are a variety of foods that can help you get to sleep and improve the quality of said sleep, such as chamomile, fatty fish, kiwis and almonds that are rich in melatonin to name a few.
While coffee can be good for your daily focus, we’re all aware of the adverse effects it can have on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Like most things, you should enjoy coffee in moderation.
If you’re looking to improve your wellbeing, mental health and general lifestyle through the means of functional nutrition, Robson-Kanu suggests trying an energy-refuelling, brain fog eliminating, health-boosting Raw Turmeric Shot from The Turmeric Co.