Top Stories

The gun is loaded. Don’t pull the trigger, act now to avoid chronic disease.

By Heather Richards
Posted: 18th March 2015 09:40
We live in a fast changing world.  Diabetes UK report that over 18 years to 2014, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes increased from 1.4 million to 3.2 million(1)  They predict that in 10 years’ time 5 million people will have the disease.  According to Cancer Research UK it is predicted there will be 23.6 million new cancer cases worldwide each year by 2030, an increase of 68% more incidences than 2012(2).  When new iPhone 6 models were launched in September 2014 Apple announced it sold over 10 million just three days after the launch(3).
Everything is faster and based on convenience, we live in a ‘need it now’ culture, the working week is 24/7 and we are bombarded by data but not necessarily with much relevant insight.  The significant rise in chronic diseases and the availability of information via the Internet is driving an explosive interest in health and lifestyle. 
Conflicting information overload.  There is so much information available, and often conflicting, from so many sources.  Constantly there seems to be a headline contradicting some long standing belief in relation to health and nutrition.  The current debate in relation to dietary fats is a classic example.  Research performed 50 years ago in the US by Ancel Keys drew a correlation between dietary saturated fats and cardiovascular disease.  However Key’s results showing the correlation only used the data from seven countries(4) rather than the 22 countries in his study.  There are now many observers citing that if all the data had been incorporated into the results, little correlation between heart disease and fats would have been shown.  Recently a review of randomised controlled trials that were available when dietary guidance on fat was introduced in the UK in 1983 concludes that the trials did not support the guidance(5). 
How do we know what is best for our health? The most important point to remember is that our bodies are complex and good health stems from the understanding that we are all unique and have different genetics, different physical, environmental, and emotional stressors, our own personal preferences in relation to food and varying financial circumstances determining our weekly spend on food.  All of these make our dietary needs personal to us.  Even throughout our own lives, as circumstances change, our diets need to adapt and evolve.  Our overall aim should be to eat a varied and unprocessed diet based on whole fresh foods that we enjoy.  If only we followed these very basic guidelines our general health would undoubtedly improve. 
Be proactive.  With the benefit of availability of more information we are empowered to take control and be proactive instead of reactive about our health but we often need professional guidance.  Historically there certainly has been an attitude of seeking medical help when a disease has developed.  We do not wait until there is a major fault with our cars before having them serviced – we generally have them serviced annually and if something major does go wrong it costs us dearly.  Our health is no different.  We need to treat our bodies with respect, give them the right fuel and look after them on an ongoing basis. 
My approach.  As a Naturopathic Nutritionist and Naturopath I recognise that the body operates as a whole to maintain homeostasis (maintains the stability of the human body's internal environment i.e. blood pressure, temperature, pH etc.) and consequently health.  The human body is amazing -there is a constant monitoring and correcting of parameters within narrow specific limits.  However, if body systems are stressed over long periods of time their return to homeostasis becomes more challenging and we may need to provide support whether that be through drugs, nutrition or other healing methods.  Symptoms are often connected, and whereas traditional healthcare treats the individual disease, I aim to accelerate healing by identifying the root cause of symptoms and provide nutritional support engaging the natural healing process. 
Using my in depth knowledge of human anatomy and the effect of food and individual nutrients on its function, I provide clients with a unique bespoke service.  I work alongside clients’ GP’s, consultants and other healthcare providers to provide the very best healthcare solutions for the 21st Century.  I help clients preventatively to enhance health and wellbeing as well as those with existing conditions. 
I seek to understand the whole person, body, mind and spirit not only assessing food intake but also considering among other things, family history, lifestyle, environment, personal circumstances and preferences.  Food has an enormous effect on our wellbeing and it is not only what we eat that is important but how it is prepared, the quality of the food sources, when we eat and how we eat.  My aim is to educate my clients by providing them with the best nutritional and lifestyle plan which is unique to them and fits in with their lifestyle and preferences yet at the same time will take them on the journey to ultimate health so that they feel great! Nutritional support with supplements may be recommended short-term while diet is improved, or long-term where a nutrient is hard for an individual to obtain in another way. 
Utilising powerful technology.  Within my practice I utilise powerful technology to bridge the gap between energetic and conventional diagnostic methods.  The technology is based on the principle that a disease process first alters the body’s energetic field and if left unchecked, eventually leads to disease.  Often patients experience symptoms yet no specific tissue or organ damage can be identified by conventional laboratory testing.  Used in conjunction with traditional case taking methods, insight gained in the evaluation assists decision making about specific nutrients requiring focus in the diet and helps re-establish balance to the energetic pathways restoring and maintaining optimum health.
The future.  With modern day nutritional experts and technology there is no excuse not to be proactive and take control of our health.  The quantity of information available is time consuming to disseminate and often confusing and an individual consultation provides the opportunity for specific personalised education and guidance.  However I recognise that there is also a general need for quality, highly relevant and actionable insight, in respect of nutrition, enabling people to learn as a group or self-educate and act in a preventative mindset.  I therefore am researching how this could effectively be brought to individuals and practitioners in a cost effective manner.
The great headline ‘We Are Only Human’ drives my passion about what I do.  I am not the paragon of virtuous healthy living but I am on my own health journey, as we all are.  I feel great but continue to make refinements as my circumstances change and as I continuously learn more in the information explosion age.  Whatever stage in their journey, I help my clients tackle their health and nutrition challenges with confidence giving them stronger mental and physical assurance in their daily lives.
Heather Richards
+44 7545 678652
Heather Richardsis a Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath.  She studied at the College Of Naturopathic Medicine where she was presented with the ‘Award for Overall Academic & Clinic Results in Nutrition’.  Heather is a member of The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and is registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).  In addition she is a Senior Associate Member of The Royal Society Of Medicine.  Heather runs a busy clinic with a client base from London and the Home Counties.

(1)Diabetes UK (2015). Available at: 21/2/15).
(2)Cancer Research UK (2015). Available at: 21/2/15).
(4)Websites for Scientists (2014). ‘The Seven Countries Study’. Available at: 21/2/15).
(5)Harcombe, Z. Baker, J.S. Cooper, S.M. et al. (2015). ‘Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, Open Heart 2015;2: doi:10.1136/openhrt-2014-000196.

Related articles