Which health advice should you trust?

Health information is coming at us from everywhere... TV, radio, friends & family, social media… There are more and more health accounts & health articles popping up daily. This isn’t necessarily aaaall bad. I mean, I’m all for helping people to improve their health with a better diet and more physical activity. But what I worry about it the misinformation out there and the one size-fits-all approach to health.

Gluten free...everyone has an opinion on this subject! What's best for your next door neighbour may not be right for you.

Critical thinking, what is it?

Critical thinking means that you don’t always believe what you hear or read. It means thinking about a piece of information that you’ve received and analysing it further. Ask yourself where you got that information and who did you get that information from? I often hear people saying they heard this or read that. Sometimes it’s “…they say X is good for Y…” Oh ok, but who are they??

Most people have good intentions and they share information that they believe to be completely true. But it’s their truth. They're sharing that information in a way that they believe it to be true. The problem is that if they're not qualified or educated in the correct field they might be sharing the information wrong. For example... You know that old fishing story where a person might say they caught a fish that was 'THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS big' when their friend says it was 'THIIS big'. Whereas an expert with a degree in marine biology will say it was 'a 37 cm snapper weighing 1.1 kg.' It was the same fish but three different people explained it in three different ways. Who are you going to believe? The expert!

When it comes to nutrition & herbal medicine, naturopathy and nutrition are currently unregulated professions so you need to check that the person sharing this kind of advice has the appropriate qualification & accreditation with an association in their industry. More recent naturopathy and nutrition graduates will hold a Bachelor of Health Science degree but as these degrees were not available in the past, some practitioners who have been practising for many years will have a Diploma. No matter their education, look for accreditations with ANTA (Australian Natural Therapies Association), NHAA (Naturopaths & Herbalists Association Australia) or NSA (Nutrition Society of Australia).

So, don’t always believe what you read. It’s easy to google information but to know exactly what that information means usually takes years of education. Think critically about the information you receive & if you're after advice & guidance personalised to your needs, find a health professional who specialises in the area that you're looking for help with.