There is functional training. And there is functional medicine. And lately there has been the growing field of Functional Nutrition.
What is Functional Nutrition?
The term functional is defined as "something that is of function". And nutrition is defined as "the sum of the processes by which one takes in and utilizes food substances". It basically means that functional nutrition is eating for a certain purpose. And this purpose may vary largely. In the sense of Functional Sports Nutrition one can eat for hypertrophy goals, or to get stronger or to loose body fat faster. In the context of general Functional Nutrition the goals can vary from eating to decrease food intolerances, to increase the intestinal health, to improve hepatic biotransformation the so-called "detoxification", to improve epigenetics, to manage inflammation and autoimmunity, to optimize neurochemistry and more.
What are the benefits of Functional Nutrition?
The goal of Functional Nutrition is to improve certain cellular functions. With the overall goal of optimizing health, wellbeing and in the context of sports specifically the training progress and sports performance. "We are what we eat" or more precisely "we become what we eat" is true in every sense. Our cells are build from the nutrients we eat. And our cells are fueled by the nutrients we eat. Poor material and poor fuel will never lead to a high performance race car. So high quality food counts. Yet, food doesn't equal food. Food is made of different macro- and micronutrients. And all these affect our cells differently. In the context of Functional Nutrition we need to choose foods and nutrients specifically to target the specific goals we have. For example, if our goal is to use Functional Nutrition to optimize neurochemistry through reducing inflammation, we will use specific foods that lower inflammation such as salmon, broccoli, celery and ginger while avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as vegetable oils, sugar, dairy and peanuts. This way Functional Nutrition aids in managing inflammation in body which not only influences neurochemistry, it also improves recovery from training, detoxification, good health and fat loss.
How does eating look with Functional Nutrition?
That's a complex question with a simple answer. With Functional Nutrition food looks great. In any specific case, food needs to be tailored to the individual and the individual goals. For some autoimmunity is the main culprit, for others its all about improving neurochemistry for better sleep, for the next person its about improving the MTHFR and COMT genes to maximize resilience in daily life, and for an athlete the prime focus is often on managing inflammation to recover faster.
The topic of Functional Nutrition has many different facets and aspects. Thats why we started the series of the YPSI Functional Nutrition Seminars in the summer of 2017. After we started with Dr. Robert Rakowski speaking on Functional Sports Nutrition at the YPSI, Wolfgang Unsoeld held a YPSI Functional Nutrition Seminar in Hongkong as well as a YPSI Functional Nutrition for Bodybuilding & Strengthtraining Seminar at the YPSI again. This September dr Tom O'Bryan will come to Stuttgart to teach the YPSI Functional Nutrition Seminar on Gluten Sensitivity & Autoimmunity. And we will continue to host further seminars on this topic to gather and teach expert knowledge on the various aspects of the very broad field of Functional Nutrition.
For a full overview of the upcoming YPSI Functional Nutrition Seminars click here.
Picture: An anti-inflammatory meal: White Miso Salmon with Cauliflower Rice, Spinach & Ginger. Click here for the recipe .