Since Integrative Medicine takes a holistic approach to improving and maintaining health for the mind, body and soul, it would be appropriate to explore the role of nutrition in the whole body approach. Learning how to eat and for what types of health conditions nutrition can treat, it is essential to make the most of an Integrative Medicine approach to becoming and staying well. No matter what you are using Integrative Medicine to treat your body for your overall health, to manage inflammation, to support your body’s ability to manage its diabetes, to maintain heart health, and to promote a stable mood, through an Integrative Medicine approach, can have real results.
Eating for your overall health, perhaps the most important principle of Integrative Medicine, can be accomplished quite easily with some easy to follow principles. No matter what type of fruits and vegetables you eat, make sure they are in season, fresh and are grown without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other industrial agents. Eating as many colors and types of fruits and vegetables will ensure you are well protected against acute and chronic diseases. Whether fruits and vegetable are fresh or frozen, as long as you eat 8 to 10 servings per day, you will be served well.[i]
According to research, inflammation is becoming more widespread and is the culprit that causes many chronic and debilitating diseases. However, Integrative Medicine can help people reduce and manage their levels of inflammation, thereby reducing their chances of developing such serious diseases. Eating a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats is recommended. Variety really is the spice in your diet and is great to manage inflammation. Along with eating a wide variety of naturally colored fruits and vegetables and minimizing exposure to processed foods and toxins on and in foods, eating oily fish or taking fish oil supplements helps combat inflammation.[ii]
Integrative medicine, through its holistic approach, has a nutritional approach, along with medication, to help your body naturally manage its diabetes. With a 40-30-30 ratio of non-starch vegetables, lean protein and high fiber fruits and low-glycemic fruits respectively, the Integrative Medicine approach to supporting and not-stressing out your body while have a condition such as diabetes is very effective.[iii]
Eating to maintain your heart’s health is very essential because it provides blood which provides oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Along with the theme of eating naturally through fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, nuts and oil (organic, when always possible), it is essential to make healthier choices when it comes to drinks, snacks and basic staples. Some examples of replacing poor heart healthy choices for better food choices includes: using flavorful herbs and spices instead of salt; replacing beer and spirits with red wine (in moderation of course); and replacing white bread and bagels with pita or sprouted bread.[iv]
Along with eating properly to maintain and support one’s organs and cardiovascular system, Integrative Medicine has not left out nutrition when it comes to supporting ideal mental health. Building on eating well through natural, organic and minimally processed foods, there are some specific recommendations to promote an even and healthy mood through nutrition. Specific suggestions include not skipping meals, eating foods to stabilize and minimize swings of blood sugar levels, increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, stay away from caffeine, minimize or avoid alcohol and ensure you have normal levels of necessary vitamins and minerals.[v]
As you can see, nutrition in the Integrative Medicine approach, is very integral to supporting both the physical body and the mind. Taking a serious approach to your nutrition will enable you to support your overall health. With advice from your Integrative Medicine practitioner, you will be able to maximize your health by becoming and staying well.
[i] The University of Arizona. Resources: Top Ten Tips For a Healthy Diet. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html Accessed November 15, 2012.
[ii] The University of Arizona. Resources: Anti-inflammatory Diet. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html Accessed November 15, 2012.
[iii] The University of Arizona. Resources: Healthy Meals for Diabetics. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html Accessed November 15, 2012.
[iv] The University of Arizona. Resources: Choosing Foods for Heart Health. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html Accessed November 15, 2012.
[v] The University of Arizona. Resources: Dietary Tips for Better Mental Health. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html Accessed November 15, 2012.
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