How Holistic Nutrition Can Keep You Healthy and Help Prevent Disease

Holistic NutritionThe holistic approach to medicine or health takes the whole person into account including mind, body, spirit and social interaction to determine the best approach to healing and health. Holistic nutrition uses this approach of taking a person’s whole life into account to create a nutritional plan designed for that specific person to ensure that person’s health and wellbeing. Holistic nutrition is essentially about creating and following a healthy eating plan and if you would like to learn how to prepare delicious healthy meals for yourself and your family, then you should probably take a look at the Healthy Cooking Fundamentals course from Udemy which will teach you how to shop for healthy ingredients and show you how easy it is to prepare healthy delicious meals.

Holistic nutrition sees each person as a biochemically different individual and tries to develop a diet or nutritional plan for that particular person.  A holistic nutritional plan is aimed at creating a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle that will suit the individual’s needs and requirements as well as their lifestyle.

Holistic nutrition is different from most other diets or eating plans because holistic eating plans differ from one person to the next. Average diets assume everyone can benefit from the same diet or nutritional plan. The truth is that none of us are average with the average two point five kids. Our lifestyles, nutritional needs and our strengths and weaknesses, both physically and biochemically, not only differ from one another but differ at different times in our lives.

A toddler has different nutritional requirements from a teenager or a mature adult. We need to recognize that our bodies need different nutrients as we age and as we are exposed to different environments. You nutritional needs even change depending on the time of the year and the activities you are involved in. And we subconsciously know this and adjust our eating habits depending on the seasons, for example, and the amount of energy we need.

A holistic approach to nutrition takes these types of factors into account when creating a basic nutritional plan for an individual. The plan should include strategies to ensure your family eats a healthy balanced diet. Getting a toddler to eat their vegetables for example, can be challenging. If you are struggling with your children, then the Feeding your Little One: Nutrition for Infants & Toddlers course from Udemy offers some unique ideas to ensure your little ones get the nutrients they need.

Holistic nutrition is an integrated approach. In other words, holistic nutritionists work with other professionals in the medical profession to ensure the long term wellbeing of their patients. They work with holistic therapists to help to address any health problems their clients may have by designing diets and lifestyles that include the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help to support their clients or patients.

Lifestyle diseases today account for an alarming number of life threatening conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity for example, have all been linked to dietary causes. Most of the diseases can be prevented, and in some cases even cured, with the correct nutritional program. Holistic nutrition addresses these diseases by ensuring that clients or patients receive the correct nutrients in the correct proportions to help fight these dangerous and often life threatening conditions.

A good example of using a holistic approach to lifestyle disease and the prevention or management of a disease is the Blood Pressure Control- A Map to Medication Freedom course which includes information on minerals and unique lifestyle therapies that help people who suffer from high blood pressure to prevent and improve their condition.

The best way to apply a holistic nutritional approach in your life is to learn the basics of a good healthy diet and lifestyle. Alternatively, you can employ a holistic nutritionist to help you create a healthy diet and lifestyle plan designed specifically for you.

If you would like to apply the holistic approach to your own life, then you should take a look at the 5 Pillars of Optimal Health course from Udemy. It will teach you about healthy eating, sleeping, movements, thinking and it will also show you how to create a healthy environment to ensure your health and well-being.

The Basics of a Holistically Healthy Diet Plan

Holistic nutrition is based on ensuring that your body receives all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins it needs. To ensure that you receive the nutrients you need, you need to understand the basics of what the human body requires in the first place.

In terms of holistic nutrition, the body requires a certain proportion of macronutrients and a certain proportion of micro-nutrients to ensure health and wellbeing. In terms of a holistic approach, macro-nutrients are divided into carbohydrates, proteins and fats whereas micronutrients refer to minerals, vitamins and other supplements that help to keep the body healthy.

A holistic approach also considers the origin of these nutrients and most holistic nutritionists will tell you that it is best to eat organic produce where possible. Buying organic fruit and vegetables can however be expensive unless of course, you grow your own. If you would like to learn how to grow your own organic produce, then the Organic Soil Building for the Backyard Organic Gardener course offers you the keys to growing abundant, nutrient rich foods that you can include in your holistic diet plan.

Understanding Macro Nutrients

As mentioned above, the holistic dietary approach considers proteins, carbohydrates and fats as the macronutrients required by the body. To help you understand and decide on the proportions of the nutrients that you need, you need to understand what these macro nutrients do for you body and what your body needs to be healthy.

One thing to bear in mind about being healthy and healthy eating, is that healthy eating is often associated with bland uninteresting food, but healthy eating doesn’t have to mean eating boring meals and raw food all day. If you want to learn how to cook healthy, delicious food then you might want to take a look at The Everyday Gourmet: Making Healthy Food Taste Great course from Udemy. This course not only teaches you about the nutrients in food but also includes information on how to create delicious meals using these foods.

Let’s examine the macronutrients your body needs and why your body needs these nutrients.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates include food groups we normally refer to as sugars and starches. Foods like potatoes, sugar and rice are all high in carbohydrates. It is important to realize that foods often contain one two or three of the macro-nutrients so although we often associate rice as being a “carbohydrate” one cup of rice actually contains 1.2g of fat, 13g of protein and 147g of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates supply the body with energy. During the digestive process, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is used as energy or stored by the body as fat for future energy needs. You need a certain number or proportion of carbohydrates to create enough energy for you to live, laugh, love and do the other things that make us human.

Foods that are high in carbohydrates are generally processed foods. Sugar is the most refined form of carbohydrate. Although the body needs carbohydrates for energy, the western diet has been shown to be far too high in simple carbohydrates and sugars. The result is that the body has too much glucose and a lot of it is stored as fat. This is one of the major reasons why obesity rates are soaring in most first world countries. It is also one of the reasons why diets like the Atkins and Ketogenic diets are often beneficial for those who need or want to lose a few pounds. The Atkins and ketogenic diets severely restricts carbohydrate intake thus ensuring the body uses its carbohydrate reserves, in the form of stored fat, to provide the body with the energy it needs.

Carbohydrates are generally divided into complex and simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates consist of simple molecules that are easy for the body to break down and use for energy. Simple carbohydrates include refined sugar and sugars like the fructose and glucose found in fruits. Complex carbohydrates consist of more complex molecules and are harder for the body to break down. Complex carbohydrates are healthier for the body and include foods like whole grain rice and various vegetables.

Simple carbohydrates are easily digested and this makes them readily available to the body in the form of glucose and energy. But this is also what makes them more dangerous to your health. Simple carbohydrates like sugar cause the blood glucose levels within your body to spike and they are also the main reason why people develop insulin resistance which in turn causes diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

For those wanting to lose weight eating healthy and avoiding simple carbohydrates and sugars, forms part of most healthy balanced diets. But cutting down on sugar does not mean cutting down on delicious foods like dessert. To learn to cook delicious, healthy desserts and to learn to use natural foods to aid your weight loss effort, sign up for the Weight Loss Natures Way course from Udemy.

  • Proteins

One of the macronutrients that the body requires includes proteins. Proteins form the building blocks of the body. During the digestive process, proteins are broken down into amino acids. The body uses these amino acids to repair cells, produce new cells, to produce enzymes and to transport the other nutrients around the body.

 Proteins are an essential element of a healthy diet. Protein rich foods include meat, pork, chicken, fish and dairy products as well as various vegetables and nuts. Most people associate vegetarianism with the elimination of protein from the diet but that is far from the truth. Based on the functions of the body, elimination of proteins from the diet is downright dangerous. Foods like whole grains, peanuts, beans, lentils, kale, soya and soya based products offer protein sources that are not animal based and vegetarians should make sure they are getting sufficient protein from other sources.

If you are interested in switching to a vegetarian lifestyle, then a course like Vegetarian Done Right will teach you how to ensure that you get sufficient protein from your diet and that you can make delicious meals that will keep you healthy and help you prevent disease.

Under certain circumstances, the body can also convert proteins to energy. When the body runs out of carbohydrates stores, the body can convert proteins into glucose for energy. This is however not good for body as the body converts muscle and tissues to energy. This process is very rare since the body often has copious sources of stored glucose and available carbohydrates to convert into energy.

  • Fats

Contrary to the popular myth, fats do not make you fat, sugar makes you fat. Fats can be found in a lot of foods including meat and vegetables. Fats are generally divided into two main groups namely saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Foods high in fats include coconuts, butter, cheese, and other oils.

Fats are essential for a healthy body. Fats provide insulation for the various organs of the body. Fats are also used to build cell membranes. The brain is composed of a large proportion of fats including cholesterol. Fats and cholesterol are essential for healthy brain function.

Fats are also used to create the myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells, so fats are essential for a healthy central nervous system. Fats are also responsible to transporting various vitamins and nutrients around the body. Certain vitamins like Vitamin A,D and K are fat soluble vitamins and fat is essential for making these vitamins available to the body.

Finally, fats also act as long term energy storage for the body. When the body has burned the carbohydrates you have consumed and also the stored carbohydrates, then the body begins to burn stored fats for energy.

Balancing Macro-nutrients

As you can see from the above, the body needs a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to be healthy. But it is important that the body receives these nutrients in the correct proportions. Too much carbohydrate will cause the body to store fat, gain weight and suffer from diseases like obesity and diabetes. Too much protein can cause ammonia build-up in the body that can affect brain function. Too much cholesterol from protein may lead to heart disease, but too little cholesterol can lead to impaired brain function. Too much fat or the wrong fats can contribute to heart disease and other lifestyle diseases.

There are many sites that will provide you with the proportions required for a healthy balanced diet, but consulting a nutritionist may be the best way to find out what proportions of these nutrients you currently require.

Micro-nutrients

Micro-nutrients are nutrients that the body requires in small quantities to ensure the body remains healthy. These nutrients perform various functions in the body including supporting various chemical processes, ensuring strong teeth and bones and supporting the various organs and their functions. Deficiencies in these nutrients result in various different diseases. Micro-nutrients include vitamins and minerals and can be found in most food sources in varying amounts.

Fruits, vegetables and meat are all good sources of the vitamins and minerals that we need to survive and stay healthy. Different foods offer different levels of the nutrients we need.

Herbs and spices also contain some vitamins and minerals we need. To learn how to cook with Ayurvedic herbs and spices, take a look at the Healing Foods with Ayurveda Cooking course and learn how to create delicious dishes using these powerful and beneficial herbs and spices.

  • Vitamins

Vitamins are compounds that the body needs in small amounts, but that the body cannot produce on its own. Vitamins are generally referred to by letters of the alphabet like for example Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Vitamins are classified according to what they what they do in the body. Vitamins often contain a number of essential nutrients required by the body for certain processes. Vitamin A for example contains retinol, retinal and carotenoids. Vitamin A is essential for vision and for a healthy respiratory system. Vitamin C is essential for healthy immune system.

It is important to ensure that you get sufficient vitamins in your diet. One of the ways to ensure you get sufficient vitamins is to take a vitamin supplement. Vitamin supplements are designed to ensure that a person receives the right amount of vitamins in the right proportions on a daily basis.

  • Minerals

Dietary minerals are minerals that the body needs to help it remain healthy. Dietary minerals include iron, zinc, cobalt, copper, selenium, iodine, potassium and much more.

Once again, different foods are high in different minerals that the body requires. Different minerals serve different functions within the body. Potassium for example is essential for regulating systemic electrolyte balance and foods that are high in potassium include legumes, bananas and tomatoes. Calcium is essential for a healthy heart, as well as being essential for healthy muscle function and for a healthy digestive system. Sources of food rich in calcium include dairy products like milk and cheese.

Holistic Nutrition as a Career Path

If healthy eating is more than a passion for you, then you may be interested in a career as a holistic nutritionist. A Bachelor’s degree in holistic nutrition will qualify you for various careers paths as a holistic nutritionist.

You could practice as a community dietician. A community dietitian works with the public and teaches people about foods and nutrition. Community dieticians are generally employed by the government or by non-profit organizations promoting good nutrition. You may need a license to work as a community dietician and licensing requirements may vary from state to state.

You could also work as a clinical dietician. Clinical dieticians generally work in hospitals, long term care facilities or other healthcare facilities. Clinical dietitians work with patients to ensure their nutritional and dietary requirements are met. Clinical nutritionists need to register with the relevant licensing authorities depending on state licensing requirements.

A Bachelor degree in nutrition would qualify you to work as a management nutritionist. Management dieticians are responsible for food purchases as well as meal plans for large corporations, schools and hospitals.

Finally, you could work as a nutritional consultant or trainer. Consultants work with people directly to help them design a holistic eating plan that suits their needs and their lifestyle.

Apply Holistic Nutritional Principles to Your Diet

You body needs a healthy balance of macronutrients and micronutrients to function properly. It may seem like a mammoth task to try to create a meal plan or a healthy diet based on all of the above, but luckily Mother Nature has provided a simple effective way to ensure you get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need. Foods are seasonal and ensuring you incorporate a good variety of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet, will go a long way to ensuring you get the required vitamins and minerals you need. You should also make sure that your meals include all the nutritional elements you need including carbohydrates, proteins and fats but make sure the carbohydrates you consume are complex and not refined carbohydrates.

The best way to start applying holistic principles to your diet is by consulting a holistic nutritionist. They will be able to give you a meal plan to start with and also teach you about the proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that you should include in your specific diet. A holistic nutritionist will also be able to give you advice on any conditions or diseases you may be suffering from. Food is often the best way to fight or prevent disease.

If you are battling with lifestyle conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity then a course like Food is Your Best Medicine, may offer some information on which foods you can use to help you regain your health and vitality.