Nutrition therapy, sometimes referred to as medical nutrition therapy (MNT), is a method of medical treatment that involves careful assessment and planning of the diet in order to address the root causes and symptoms of certain illnesses. The theory is that if the body is given proper nutrition, it has the capability to heal certain diseases, or to better mitigate symptoms. Often, nutritional therapy is taken as part of a multi-pronged approach to medical treatment that may also include medication. It still falls under the heading of alternative medicine, but many people find it to be quite effective, and also feel more in control of their own treatment.
The first step to nutrition therapy is to start with a thorough assessment of the existing diet, so that practitioners know where changes need to be made. The patient will generally need to keep a food diary for a certain period of time and record everything he or she eats. Then, the doctor or registered dietitian can go over the assessment to make recommendations, and coordinate this to specific foods that can help target certain conditions. The patient will be expected to follow the plan that is set out for him or her for a certain period of time before new changes or adjustments are made.
As part of the nutrition therapy process, the patient begins to learn what foods are healthy, and which ones should be avoided. Many begin to see the immediate effects of food on the body, such as how eating a certain food makes them feel. This is not only instrumental in treating certain conditions, but in preventing future problems. Over time, the doctor or dietitian will continue to monitor the patient's progress, and may make adjustments to the nutrition therapy as needed, in order to meet certain goals.
It is important for anyone considering this alternative treatment method to do so under the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist, and never to stop taking any prescribed medication without express permission of the prescribing doctor. Some people do find that nutrition therapy allows them to reduce or cut back on their medication, depending on their medical condition, but this is certainly not always the case. For many people, nutrition therapy simply allows them to feel better, and have more energy on a daily basis, as well as allowing them to feel more in control of their treatment plan and the choices they make.