Coping with COVID: Nutrition Therapy for Better Mood and Grounding
There are so many ways that you can fight depression and feelings of hardship, but did you know that your diet plays into your mood a lot?
That’s right! The food that you eat acts as the “fuel” for your brain and affects how you feel. And, those effects don’t just last in the moment but well into the next day as well.
The foods that you put into your body can change your mood and the way that you feel and can have a huge impact on your mood and thought patterns. That’s why, at My LA Therapy, we believe in providing nutrition therapy to patients to help them get their moods and feelings under control naturally.
What is Nutrition Therapy
Before we dive into the many benefits and types of nutrition therapy, let’s take a look at what nutrition therapy actually is.
Nutrition therapy, also known as MNT or medical nutrition therapy, is a medical treatment based on nutrition and diet. It involves looking at the nutrients that a person has and where they may be lacking and giving foods, vitamins, or nutrients that may help treat conditions such as heart disease or depression. It’s based on a completely individualized process so that it can help a person based on his or her unique needs.
Sometimes, nutrition therapy involves simple lifestyle and diet changes to take effect. Other times, they may require intravenous feeding or supplementation to ensure that a person is receiving all of the vitamins and minerals that their body needs.
MNT was first introduced in 1994 by an organization called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This organization contains the most registered dietitian nutritionists and food nutrition professionals in the United States, and is a group that devotes its time to helping people take charge of their health through nutrition.
When MNT was developed it was designed so that an RDN gains approval from a patient’s doctor to recommend and implement a diet or food plan which can help treat a patient’s conditions or concerns. It can be completed through a telehealth program, in a hospital, or in an outpatient center or clinic.
What Nutrition Therapy Treats
Since nutrition is a major part of your daily life and the way that your body functions, there are many different diseases and conditions that nutrition therapy can help with.
A few different conditions that may be treated using nutrition therapy include:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Digestive Conditions
These are just a few of the many examples of what nutrition therapy can help you to overcome or cope with. Consulting with your doctor or with a nutritional therapist can help you to get symptoms and conditions under control with simple lifestyle and diet changes.
How Nutrition Therapy Works
As you get started with nutrition therapy it can be easy to get confused with nutrition therapy and nutrition education. Nutrition education is simply providing general information on nutrition and is not used to treat medical conditions.
In contrast, MNT teaches people to use their diet to support healthy living and optimal body and mind functions. It can also mitigate future medical conditions as well as treat current issues or struggles. Vastly different from nutrition education, which provides basic nutrition information to the general public and isn’t intended to treat medical conditions.
What to Expect
Nutrition therapy begins with an RDN, or a registered dietician nutritionist, completing a nutrition evaluation for an individual. This evaluation is comprehensive and evaluates a person’s current diet and nutritional status.
Next, the RDN develops a diagnosis based upon the results of the evaluation. From there, they create a nutritional goal and care plan to help treat the individual and begin to help them make the changes needed to treat or mitigate conditions. The RDN may also come up with nutritional interventions which will help the person to manage their illnesses or conditions better.
Once the initial consultation and nutrition plan has been created, a person’s RDN creates follow up visits with the patient to check-in with them and to monitor and evaluate progress. They will note the person’s behavioral, livestyle, health, and medication changes and will support any adaptations needed to the nutrition program.
MNT doesn’t follow any set of guidelines; it is crafted uniquely for each individual who undergoes the therapy. Sometimes it could be an extremely complex diet plan involving high protein to help heal burn wounds on patients. Other times it could be a reduced calorie diet to assist with issues such as obesity. Still other instances could require IV or tube feeding treatments to combat malnutrition.
Remember, Medical Nutrition Therapy can only be completed by a registered and qualified dietician. As mentioned earlier, it can take place in a variety of settings. Sometimes, treatment may begin in a hospital and later move to telehealth visits or to outpatient clinical visits.
There is no set length of time that MNT is conducted for. Instead, nutrition therapy is carried out until the individual either achieves the goal set for them in their nutrition assessment or resolves the nutritional diagnosis. And, as the process continues it can be adjusted and altered as needed to ensure that the patient receives the treatment needed.
How to Get Started
Getting started with nutrition therapy is simple. First, pay attention to the foods that you eat and how they make you feel. Look at how they affect your body both as you eat them and over time.
Try altering the foods that you eat and analyze how those foods make you feel as well; notice changes in your body and thought patterns as you do so.
At My LA Therapy, we provide nutrition therapy to help you get started in the right way and to help you take care of your body to the best of your ability. Give us a call and get started changing your mindset through nutrition today!
Brooke Sprowl, LCSW is the clinical director and founder of My LA Therapy. She is passionate about working with and writing or speaking about purpose and personal transformation, radical responsibility and the reflection principle, anxiety, authentic spirituality, and relationship issues with couples and singles such as codependency.