Holistic Diet

A holistic diet that is made up of unprocessed, whole holistic food may enhance and improve your overall health. Holistic food can be used as medicine, acting as a natural healing method for various conditions.

A philosophy that focuses on a holistic diet or holistic food acting as medicine is a natural healing approach to overall mind and body wellness. Credit: tbralnina/iStock/GettyImages

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A philosophy that focuses on a holistic diet or holistic food acting as medicine is a natural healing approach to overall mind and body wellness.

A Holistic Approach to Healing

The Mayo Clinic explains that integrative health focuses on a system, rather than just a single practice or remedy, such as the power of nature or the presence of energy in your body. Eating with intention or intuitive eating is also known as holistic eating, which is a key part of leading a healthier, more mindful life.

Knowing the origins of the food you're consuming and how it can positively or negatively affect the immune system, health and other conditions is part of the intuitive eating philosophy which focuses on sustainable nourishment and respecting the body. Both homeopaths and naturopaths share the belief that our bodies are capable of healing themselves when given the proper care and attention by searching for and solving the root cause of illness.

Ancient healing systems include Ayurvedic practices from India and traditional Chinese medicine, as well a naturopathic approach to medicine that concentrates on noninvasive treatments such as massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, exercise and food to allow your body to do its own natural healing.

Read more: Holistic Medicine vs. Western Medicine

Healing With a Holistic Diet

According to the Cleveland Clinic, holistic or integrative medicine practitioners may be able to help improve many medical conditions, including improving cancer care with certain nutritional plans as mind-body medicine. Unprocessed, unrefined foods that are nutrient dense are the primary foundations of holistic nutrition, which is all about eating healthy food as close as possible to its natural state for optimum health.

Holistic practitioners think that food acts as more than just fuel, but also serves as medicine for the body. An Ayurvedic diet, for example, is based around the principle of maintaining and/or bringing the body back to its natural state if it becomes unbalanced. Eating holistic or Ayurvedic foods, including ones that are free of sugars and flour, can help keep your elements in balance.

A March 2016 study published in Frontiers in Public Health explains that "according to Ayurveda, there are three fundamental states of a being such as the physical (including physiological), mental and the spiritual. Health is a balance of all these three states and their relationship with the outside world."

Other research suggests that "traditional knowledge systems like Ayurveda and modern scientific evidence-based medicine should be integrated," according to a November 2014 study published in the EPMA Journal.

Read more: Can the Ayurvedic Diet Actually Help you Lose Weight?

Why Eat Holistic Food?

Eating nutrient-rich foods is the first step to leading a more healthy lifestyle, explains the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The nutrients found naturally in whole foods may offer a protective effect against some medical conditions, as the health of your stomach affects the health of your entire body. The digestive system is where nutrients are absorbed and toxins are expelled.

A nutrient-packed holistic diet includes consuming a vibrant, colorful diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods, low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt or fortified plant-based alternatives, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, soy such as tofu and tempeh, beans, lentils and nuts.

The list of holistic food includes purified water, raw or unprocessed foods that include enriched enzymes and nutrients, whole grains, essential fatty acids, and organic foods free of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.

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