Therapy Focus

‘Eat Well for Mental Health’ - Nutritional Therapy with Samantha Bloom

“Health is the expression of a harmonious balance between various components of man’s nature, the environment and ways of life” Hippocrates

How we understand food and what we eat can be incredibly confusing and only becomes more so with the increasing amounts of options and opportunities to pay someone to make us “well”. Nutritional Therapist Samantha Bloom explains her approach to eating well and how what we eat can affect our mood and mental health.

My approach is to support people is based on the Functional Medicine approach to health.

It is guided by the principle from the Chinese proverb “The physician treats disease before it occurs”.

As a Buddhist and a practitioner I believe that everything in life is interconnected. So my approach is to look at the whole person – emphasising diet, lifestyle and supplements and often un-related symptoms will improve as part of the process.

My Slogan is “Eat Well for Mental Health”.

What we eat and how we eat affects our mood. And there is growing evidence to prove the link between what we eat and how we feel. Studies show that Complex Carbohydrates and other food components such as Selenium, Folic Acid, Omega 3 and Tryptophan have been linked to reducing signs of depression.

Problems in Mental Health have been increasing with depression predicted to become the second highest cause of the global disease burden within the next 20 years.

Latest figures also show that Worldwide, 450 million people suffer from mental health problems including depressive disorders, bipolar affective disorder (“manic depression”) schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Mental illnesses represent four of the ten leading causes of disability worldwide and affect more than 25% of people at some point in their lives.

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers in the brain that are made up of amino acids and are often derived from food. For example, Serotonin which is essential for our feeling of well being is made up of Tryptophan – this can be found in Turkey, Banana’s, Nuts and Seeds. We need our neurotransmitters to be in balance to promote homeostasis.

The main neurotransmitters that have an affect on our thoughts and feelings are: GABA, SEROTONIN, ACETYLECHOLINE and ADRENALINE, NORADRENALINE and DOPAMINE. When these are out of sync there are often feelings of anxiety, depression, lack of motivation or sleep issues.

My approach is integrative, so it combines allopathic and alternative therapies. If a client presents with symptoms that are a red flag, I will recommend seeing a General Practitioner or can recommend a psychotherapist or other alternative therapists if needed. However my first port of call will be Naturopathic – involving nutrition, lifestyle, flower essences, supplements, functional testing and herbs.

Rather than thinking of a client as a set of symptoms with a one size fits all approach to their well-being, the emphasis is more on working with the individual and their particular set of circumstances, and looking into how their symptoms affects their life.

When I explain to a client what it is that I do, I often use the analogy of a detective. What we are doing is investigating you – the client. By looking further than a set of symptoms and delving into what is causing these symptoms. This way of working leads to profound and long lasting results.

For example two people coming to see me for a Thyroid complaint (my other special area of interest being autoimmune) will get a different treatment depending on the aetiology of their complaint and how it is experienced for them in different systems of the body.

I look at the root causes and drivers and see what is triggering the condition. Once we have identified the drivers and triggers the next step is to disable them and put in place what the body does need –nutrients, mindfulness and movement.

Rather than suggesting drugs to mask what is happening, I will take a more holistic approach and look to the underlying cause. And I encourage my clients to play an active role in their treatment and the healing process.

Aside from offering a comprehensive plan of eating for the client I also want to support and educate them to optimum health. In doing so, I also help the individual with compliance and empower them to feel invested in their wellbeing.

In my own experience in dealing with an autoimmune condition I realised that dieting didn’t work and when I began to understand the medicinal capacities of food and its power to cure, not only was I empowered I also felt well.

“Functional Medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. Practitioners don’t, intact, treat disease. We treat your bodies ecosystem. We get rid of the bad stuff, put back in the good stuff, and because your body is an intelligent system – it does the rest” Dr Mark Hyman MD

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