Nutrition and disease management
According to WHO, nutrition is a critical part of health and development across human lifespans. Bettering nutrition through healthy eating is associated with improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases, and longevity. Nutritional needs are determined by the supply of nutrients to meet the demand for nutrients in the body. The supply-demand balance can vary from person to person as it is dependent on age, gender, body size, level of physical activity, level of health etc. Older adults may require more protein and nutrient-dense foods, for instance.
There is a strong body of evidence that shows that diet can play a role in the development of chronic diseases. For example, a diet high in saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. A diet low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
Enteral nutrition plays an important role in both the prevention and management of many diseases. Healthcare professionals, through their health science expertise and training, can help their patients meet their nutritional demands through their diet. In addition to receiving nutrients through food, patients can boost their nutrient intake with nutritional supplements. With such a significant impact on health outcomes, healthcare practitioners are recognising that a personalised approach to nutrition can significantly augment traditional medical interventions.
Good nutrition can support and improve the recovery of patients as it equips their bodies with the required nutrients needed to repair and maintain key functions, during and after periods of being unwell. Additionally, by managing illnesses through nutrition, there is a reduction in further complications due to a holistic nutritional approach. To achieve optimal health and prevent diseases, it is important to have a well-rounded and balanced diet that incorporates various dietary components. These components include proteins for tissue building and repairing bones, muscle and skin, carbohydrates for energy, fibre for digestion, healthy fats for energy and help your vitamin absorption, and water for hydration. It is also crucial to limit the intake of substances such as salt, added sugars, alcohol, and saturated fats that can negatively impact health.
The field of nutrition research is constantly evolving. Nestlé offers healthcare professionals resources and nutritional courses that promote nutrition-based approaches for disease prevention and management. Our resources support a wide range of conditions including infectious diseases, chronic diseases of lifestyle, and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as post-surgery critical care support.
One of the most important roles of healthcare practitioners is to educate patients about the relationship between nutrition and their disease. Through our resources and nutritional courses, healthcare practitioners can explain how certain nutrients impact patients well-being and or condition. Through education, practitioners empower patients to make informed dietary choices in their daily lives.
Healthcare practitioners should track patients' progress to evaluate the impact of dietary changes on their patient’s health outcomes. Regular follow-up appointments allow practitioners to identify challenges and fine-tune recommendations, enhancing the effectiveness of disease management strategies through nutrition for the desired outcomes.