Meet Carissa Mason, a nutritionist based at the Jessica Cox Nutritionist (JCN) clinic in sunny Brisbane, Australia. Knowing that Carissa had a passion for whole foods and digestive health I asked her 5 questions about gut health:
1. as a nutritionist why are you so passionate about gut health?
Gut health is everything when it comes to overall health. It's one thing to know this yourself, but when you actually help someone facilitate a positive change in their health stemming from working on and/or healing the gut and improving its function - it's a pretty amazing thing. As a nutritionist I see so many varied heath presentations in the clinic - and nearly all of these in one way or another, stem from GIT (gastrointestinal tract) disturbances
2. what is the most common digestive issue that you see in your clinic?
Most commonly are all the symptoms that fall under the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) umbrella. People with IBS (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea, cramping) have generally been told that this is something that they just have to 'live with' so when they come to see us at the clinic they are mostly seeking answers as to 'why' they are experiencing these symptoms and what can be done to alleviate them.
At the JCN clinic, not only do we assess each person on an individual basis to help determine possible causes, we offer a wide range of functional testing options such as food intolerance and allergy testing, coeliac sensitivity testing and functional bowel testing. These types of tests help identify the underlying causes and/or triggers for digestive dysfunction and therefore makes treatment protocols more specific.
3. when should someone see a nutritionist about their gut health?
When you feel that something is amiss or you've got any of the aforementioned symptoms or if you're just curious as to what constitutes 'healthy gut function'. Even if you feel that your gut function is ok - a nutritional 'check-in' never goes astray to help assess macro and micro-nutrient intake and to ensure individual nutritional needs are being met by dietary intake.
What many people don't realise is that mental and hormonal heath complications and inflammatory conditions (eczema, psoriasis, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, allergies, arthritis) can also be caused and/or exacerbated by compromised gut function.
4. if someone wanted to improve their gut health, what is the first thing they should do?
Generally speaking eat healthy, real food. Seasonal fruit, quality proteins, lots of veggies, starchy carbs, good fats and fermented foods. Beyond that, seek professional advice from an accredited nutritionist and discuss your individual health-care options. There is an abundance of 'health and wellness' information out there and sometimes it's hard to sort fact from fiction and 'diets' are not a 'one size fits all' approach.
5. where can readers go to find out more about you and the work you do?
You can pop on our clinic website http://www.jessicacox.com.au/nutritional-services/