Holistic Nutrition

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian
A healthy offering
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Holistic nutritionists treat the whole individual with natural remedies. These practitioners can alleviate symptoms of and prevent disease by using natural remedies such as diet and exercise. Modern medicine sets out to treat symptoms of disease as doctors often do not understand a cause. Many disorders and diseases such as ADD and diabetes are caused by poor diet. Many holistic nutritionists believe that many of today’s diseases are being caused by undiagnosed nutritional imbalances. Holistic practitioners attempt to heal people by giving the body what it needs to heal itself and by correcting any nutrient deficiencies. Holistic nutrition is often used in conjunction with modern medicine. This multifaceted approach to health care that incorporates mainstream medicine with natural treatments is called integrative medicine. Many practitioners of all walks, believe that integrative medicine is the future of health care.

How Nutrition Works

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Natural treatments like holistic nutrition attempt to stimulate the body’s natural defenses and immune system in order for the body to heal itself. Many people in our society now have a poor diet due to the consumption of highly processed, refined foods. Nutritional imbalances can often be at the root of many of today’s diseases as a result. Holistic nutrition therapy can often cure many of today’s health problems by evaluating the diet and nutrient balance in the body. Holistic nutritionists work with the client to alter their food and drink intake and exercise to adjust nutrient balance and put the body into a more balanced, nourished and whole state.

Types of Holistic Practitioners

Integrated medicine: A team approach to health
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There are many natural practitioners in addition to holistic nutritionists that can often benefit health by using a holistic, or whole approach. Examples of holistic practitioners include acupuncturists, general holistic medical, chiropractors and herbalists. In integrated medicine, all of these practitioners work together in a team approach to treat the patient by using all available therapies. As in mainstream Western medicine, in integrated medicine a primary-care physician would recommend the treatment and could include many of these complementary therapies. Holistic nutrition and other natural practitioners along with Western medicine can be a powerful team approach to healing.

Health Literacy

Many people do not have a basic knowledge about health, and this includes nutrition. According to the 2003 study, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that millions of people in the United States lack basic health literacy. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Lack of Information Leads to the Need for More Natural Healing

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The people who lack basic health knowledge have misinformation about the body and disease and then often don’t make the connection between lifestyle choices like diet and disease. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy study, only 11 percent of those studied had a proficient health literacy. Proficient in health literacy includes skills like calculating cholesterol and blood-sugar levels and understanding nutrition labels. With so many people lacking in nutrition knowledge, there is an even greater need for holistic nutritionists that can teach them about proper nutrition and their health.

Better than Drugs or Surgery

No more pills!
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Natural remedies like holistic nutrition do not cause dramatic side effects like pharmaceutical solutions do. Surgery removes body parts after they have broken down. Since natural solutions can prevent disease and alleviate symptoms without side effects, they are therefore preferable to drugs or surgery. Nutrition has a regenerative and healing effect on the body and its organs and can often make drugs and surgery unnecessary.

Finding a Good Provider

There are many credential programs that certify these alternative practitioners. When seeking the advice of a holistic nutritionist or other alternative practitioner you should ask for their credentials and verify them and that the institution that gave them to them is a credible one. Many nutritionists are registered dietitians. This means that they completed a four-year bachelor’s degree program, completed an internship, passed the exam and have been registered with the American Dietetic Association. You can also call them for a referral.

Keyword
  • holistic nutrition
  • integrated medicine
  • healing
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