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Personalized Nutrition for Improved Health

personalized nutrition has many layers

Personalized nutrition defined

Today, we have many nutrition styles – from plant-based to carnivore and everything in between, but what is right for you?  Personalized nutrition refers to creating an eating plan tailored to the individual to prevent or address chronic conditions and move that individual toward improved and sustained health (1).

Research shows that a one-size-fits-all nutrition plan may not be the best way to achieve and maintain optimal health, rather a more personalized nutrition plan may be better as it provides dietary recommendations specific to the individual’s body and lifestyle (1).

Personalized nutrition has many layers, including the individual’s current nutritional and medical status, food preferences and dislikes, and genetic predispositions (2).

The term “personalized nutrition” can also overlap other terms, like precision nutrition, nutrigenomics, and nutrigenetics (3).  This article has further definitions of the terminology.

Benefits of personalized nutrition

Research shows a few ways that personalized nutrition can be beneficial:

First, achieving a healthy, sustainable weight (4) (5).  Responses to various eating patterns (diets) are variable, and no one diet is appropriate for every individual at every stage of life (6).  Each individual has varying genetic, epigenetic, and microbiome factors that will play a role in which foods may be best for them (6).  Personalized nutrition can be an important tool in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight which supports a healthier body overall.

Second, improving the gut microbiome for improved health (7).  Gut microbes are modifiable through the foods we choose to eat each day (7).  Consuming foods that support beneficial bacteria as opposed to pathogenic microbes is a strategy that can improve one’s overall health because the microbiome plays a large role in supporting a healthy body (7).

Finally, a personalized nutrition plan can be a motivating factor to maintain a healthier eating pattern (8).  The creation of an eating pattern tailored to the individual can address food intolerances and dislikes, as well as include foods that are enjoyed to help the individual maintain the eating pattern best for them (8).

What does personalized nutrition look like

As mentioned earlier, personalized nutrition has many layers. 

Individually, each person can begin by creating a meal plan that meets their nutritional needs, focusing first and foremost on consuming a variety of clean, whole foods at each meal, while avoiding or eliminating highly processed food and beverages from the daily diet (4) (9).

Today, many tools can be used to help develop an eating plan.  Using an app like Cronometer can help with tracking nutrient intake to help determine where adjustments should be made to ensure that the essential nutrients needed to be healthy are being consumed (10).

Further, addressing nutritional insufficiencies or deficiencies will help to restore proper body function (11).  Testing can provide helpful information to determine nutrient status, and your healthcare provider or nutritionist can provide more information about testing.

Some important considerations to be mindful of when creating a personalized nutrition plan include:
·       Current health conditions, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or depression
·       Food intolerances or allergies
·       Food preferences, likes and dislikes
·       Food budget
·       Time for preparing meals

If you would like help creating a more detailed personalized nutrition plan, please get in touch here.

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