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Understand the Role of Nutrition in Functional Medicine
Functional medicine is an evidence-based healthcare system that focuses on treating the underlying causes and effects of diseases and chronic medical conditions, as opposed to just treating the symptoms. Nutrition plays an important role in functional medicine, and it is recommended by practitioners of traditional medicine to patients.
The goal of functional medicine is to create a detailed, individualized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s healthcare needs. It is the practitioner’s role to take comprehensive information into consideration when creating the plan, including lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity and stress levels. By working with the patient to identify, address and modify lifestyle factors, practitioners of functional medicine believe they can achieve optimum health and wellbeing.
The Role of Nutrition in Functional Medicine
Nutrition is a critical component of any functional medicine plan. By making positive dietary changes, practitioners believe that they can positively influence a patient’s health and wellbeing. Furthermore, by creating a diet that is specifically tailored to the individual, practitioners of functional medicine can address the nutritional deficiencies that are often hidden in the standard American diet.
Benefits of Adopting a Functional Medicine Diet
Making dietary changes for improved health is not easy, but the potential benefits are great. Adopting a functional medicine diet may:
- Support overall health and wellbeing
- Aid weight loss
- Reduce symptoms of chronic medical conditions
- Maximize energy levels
- Help the body fight sickness and infections
The main idea behind functional medicine nutrition is that food is medicine. By accurately identifying the medical condition, individual nutrient deficiencies, and lifestyle factors, a functional medicine practitioner can create a personalized dietary plan that has the potential to be life-changing.
How to Incorporate a Functional Medicine Diet into Your Life
A functional medicine diet may involve “eating clean”. This means focusing on whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and legumes whenever possible. Eating clean also means limiting processed foods, sweets and saturated fats.
While a functional medicine diet is health promoting, it is important to ensure that nutrient needs are being met. Although conflicting, research indicates that certain supplements may be beneficial when it comes to improving chronic medical conditions. Professional guidance is important as different supplements may have different effects on different individuals.
When transitioning to a functional medicine diet, it is important to make small changes and build healthy habits over time. Start with small goals, such as replacing sugary snacks with fruits and vegetables, or using animal sources of protein instead of processed meats. As new healthy habits become established, the individual’s body will become acclimatized to the new foods and begin to naturally crave the healthier food choices.
Nutrition plays a vital role in functional medicine and its success. By taking an individual’s nutrient deficiencies into consideration, practitioners of functional medicine have the ability to create an effective treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs. The goal of functional medicine is to create lasting health and well-being, and this is only achievable if a functional medicine diet is adopted. With professional guidance, making the switch to functional medicine nutrition can be achievable and ultimately rewarding.