The foods we eat can have a key role in how well we feel emotionally

Leading psychiatrists suggest that nutrition should become part of mainstream psychiatry

Emotional/psychological wellbeing/eating issues

There is increasing awareness of how improving our diet can bring about lasting benefits to our mental and emotional wellbeing and excitingly research studies are now confirming this link.

As well as our mind being able to influence our body, our body can also influence the mind. There is a growing understanding about the mind gut link – this link is bidirectional – the gut can both send signals to and receive signals from the brain. It’s now becoming clear that having a healthy digestion and the right balance of gut bacteria (through a diet that supports the growth of good bacteria) may have important benefits for preventing low mood.

The prestigious scientific journal The Lancet recently published an article that suggested nutrition should be part of mainstream psychiatry which I whole heartedly believe too. I am now working with two psychiatrists to help enable this to become a reality.

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How nutrition and Functional Medicine can improve emotional wellbeing symptoms and eating issues:

The right dietary approach can significantly improve emotional health and challenging eating issues. Together we will work through the steps below with the aim of helping you regain optimal wellbeing and restore healthy, enjoyable eating patterns.

  • Step 1: Exploring the root cause: A comprehensive case history will be taken during our initial consultation which will enable me to detect possible clues about what is contributing to your problems. It will be helpful for me to understand a little more about your lifestyle, eating patterns and if stress might be contributing to your problems. We may discuss carrying out functional testing to help detect underlying imbalances such as vitamin deficiencies, adrenal or thyroid issues.
  • Step 2: Create a plan: Shortly after our consultation you will be sent a personalised nutrition plan based on the information gathered to include relevant diet/lifestyle and supplement recommendations.
  • Step 3: Monitor progress/make adaptations: We will regularly review progress and tweak your nutrition plan as necessary. Follow up testing may be needed, but not always – if symptoms have improved this will be enough for us to know we are on the right track!

**If you have been prescribed medication for low mood/anxiety I will always communicate with your GP (with your permission) before introducing supplements that might enable you to reduce the dosage of your prescription medication.

‘More than Meds: For brighter mental health’ course

You may also wish to consider attending a  ‘More than Meds’ course. This will be co-led by myself and a Bristol based psychiatrist – Dr Shirley Gracias. The course will include natural approaches to emotional wellbeing and include practical tips about how food can support your mood. We will also be teaching calming stress-reduction exercises. Advice will also be given about natural ways to cut down on anti-depressant medication (in communication with your medical team). This course will enable you to talk an active role to positively improve your emotional wellbeing. See blog for further details or call Helen FFI

Why seek support from Helen?
I have completed a significant amount of additional training in this area – most recently completing an integrative therapies for depression course run by Dr James Greenblatt. I have worked with people with both mental health and eating issues for 30 years. I have regular referrals from a Bristol psychiatrist who has a specific interest in eating disorders and is equally passionate to equip people with knowledge about how good nutrition can support mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

I have considerable experience in working with people to improve the symptoms of: stress, low mood, anxiety and eating issues (anorexia and bulimia nervosa, binge and other restrictive eating disorders).

** If you have been diagnosed or suspect you may have one of the medical conditions stated in this section, you should consult your GP for advice, diagnosis and treatment and always inform your health professional before starting any alternative or additional therapies, treatments or making any major changes in your diet or exercise programme**

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Helen has been an incredible support to me. Having existed with an eating disorder for many years, it was refreshing to find someone who really cared about me and my needs, and was able to work gently through my issues. In Helen, I have found someone with whom I can be completely open and honest with, and who I trust to give me advice that is healthy and tailored to my life.Alison, aged 36.

I believe that the work I did with Helen helped me to avoid needing to go back on medication. I feel stronger emotionally than I have for a very long time Joe, aged 48