Biochemical Individuality. Have you heard of this concept? It's a term that refers to the unique nutritional needs of a person, based on factors specific to their lives - such as genetics, lifestyle and environment. Most of us know that everyone has different DNA strands. This is why we rely on fingerprints as a security precaution and as an invaluable way of identifying an individual, but how many of us have acknowledged that this concept applies to our nutritional requirements?
As a nutrition consultant, I am quite often asked for general nutrition advice. While I do think there is some overlap on food recommendations for people, such as including veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds into their diet, there is a lot of 'non-overlap'. For example, we all know that veggies are 'good for us', right? But how many of us know that if we are dealing with a thyroid issue (such as hypothyroidism) that cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, and kale) can actually aggravate this medical condition and slow the thyroid function even further? These common goitrogenic foods can cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland and possibly interfere with its function.*
Another example for the need for individual nutritional assessments is our environments. How many of us live in hot, sunny climates or cold, wet and rainy climates or perhaps a mixture of both? The requirements for Vitamin D supplements will vary based upon your primary and secondary living locations. Vitamin D can be naturally obtained through sun sources, but even living in a sunny climate, you may be unaware that you are Vitamin D deficient. You may work in an office and not get nearly as much sun exposure just by walking out your front door to your place of employment as you may think. You may temporarily need a supplement to elevate your levels, until you can absorb more sun exposure naturally. Or perhaps making a change in your diet, such as including fresh, wild salmon or fresh shiitake mushrooms (high sources of Vitamin D) makes sense for you.
In terms of sports nutrition, we all have unique needs. A few ways in which we differ include:
Sweat Rates/Hydration Needs
Metabolization of Macronutrients
Sitting down with someone who understands and can research your needs is incredibly important. Depending on your resources, there are a myriad of options. You can hire someone to review your diet and help to make suggestions for healthier diet or you can do your own research, review your food journal and search for the missing links. You may then be able to take this to a nutrition professional or your doctor for a quick review. Finding a solution that fits your life, and not someone else's is the best way to address your nutritional needs.
Comment below or Email me with any questions. I am happy to answer!
*It’s important to note that it is possible to prepare these foods to reduce the effect on thyroid health.