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What Is Integrative Nutrition?

Integrative nutrition involves the holistic benefits of food, diet and nourishment. Professionals who use integrative nutrition’s best practices aim to help people create healthy prevention habits, improve their lives and find overall satisfaction. This concept considers various elements to understand a person’s well-being: eating, wellness, exercise, spirituality — and so much more.

Downshiftology states that “integrative medicine is a huge step forward that focuses on the patient holistically, making use of all appropriate therapies including traditional pharmaceuticals and alternative or complementary treatments.”

Integrative nutrition goes beyond the conventional method of evaluating an individual through the different foods they eat. Rather, it evaluates the individual as a whole and looks at all the factors contributing to a healthy balance. In other words, “it’s what you can do to stay well. It’s what you can do to stay happy and thriving,” notes Downshiftology.

Integrative nutrition seeks to make the individuals feel at peace with their condition by highlighting the different components that make them who they are. In a sense, the job of this type of nutritionist is similar to that of a counselor or a therapist because they listen to the person through compassion and one’s unique situation.

The Difference Between Functional Nutrition and Integrative Nutrition

The difference between functional and integrative nutrition is that the former focuses solely on calories and the intake of nutrients, while the latter focuses on multiple elements of nutrition. For example, “integrative medicine physicians often use a combination of multiple therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, behavioral therapy, homeopathy and energy work to provide thorough treatment in all areas,” defines Balanced Well-Being Healthcare.

Many integrative nutritionists can help with weight loss and assist the individual in evaluating which diet is best for them, which accounts for one’s body type and prior health concerns.

In contrast, functional nutritionists focus on determining what an individual needs to eat or cut out in order to live a healthy life. They do not consider the factors of the person and their needs. Instead, they have a set weight loss method for everyone under their care.

Additionally, functional nutritionists prescribe medicine in supplement form instead of finding possible natural treatments. They are not as hands-on nor involved in the individual’s life because they aim to find an immediate solution to the problem at hand. Many care for the individual, but not on the same level as an integrative or holistic nutritionist.

Where Does Holistic Nutrition Come From?

Integrative nutrition shares foundational characteristics with its “parent” field: holistic nutrition. For instance, integrative nutritionists actively work with the individual to determine the best healing method that homes in on treating both the person as a whole and the illness.

Expand Your Integrative Nutrition Skills With an M.S. Degree

One way to expand your integrative nutrition skills as a nutritionist is to further your career and earn your Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Those who enroll in the M.S. in Applied Nutrition online program at Lamar University will help others achieve their health and wellness goals.

Students will learn about the role of nutrition in health, including the physiologic, social, cultural and economic factors that contribute to nutrition needs and concerns. This intensive program allows all students to build upon their communication abilities, helping to provide effective nutritional counseling and education to individual clients or groups. With its accelerated structure, students can graduate in as few as 12 months.

Coursework advances integrative nutrition knowledge. For example, the Integrative Nutrition course covers the basic principles of alternative nutrition therapies and non-traditional medical practices. In the Nutrition Education & Counseling course, students focus on communicating effectively with clients for clinical nutrition counseling.

Graduates of Lamar University’s Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Nutrition online program will obtain the knowledge and skills required to enter into influential roles in industries such as sports nutrition, nutrition in pregnancy and infancy, nutrition in aging, eating disorders and more.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online M.S. in Applied Nutrition program.

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