The Naturopathic Approach to Good Health
Author: ANCP Date Posted:26 May 2016
Naturopathic medicine focuses on maximising health, helping to prevent disease, and working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself. It’s an approach to health that empowers you to support your wellbeing by adopting a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle, backed up by herbal medicines and nutritional supplements when appropriate.
Having a balanced diet with a wide variety of foods is essential. Try to have organic, seasonal and fresh food that’s as close to its natural state as possible.
These foods should form the basis of your daily diet:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables: Aim to consume at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day, choosing a wide variety with a range of colours, but limiting your consumption of starchy vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato and sugary fruits such as mango and pineapple.
- Wholegrains: Enjoy a wide variety of wholegrain products, including wholegrain breads, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, polenta, oats, and quinoa.
- Low-fat proteins: Avoid fatty cuts of meat, and instead choose lean cuts of chicken, turkey and game meats, preferably from organic sources. Legumes such as lentils, beans, peas are also valuable sources of protein to include in your diet and are naturally low in fat and high in fibre. Other options include tofu, tempeh and free range eggs.
- Fish: Fish are our major dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids and it’s recommended that you eat them several times a week. Oily deep sea fish are the ideal sources of omega-3s, but if you’re vegetarian, flaxseed oil is the best alternative.
- Nuts, seeds and their oils: Include moderate quantities of nuts, seeds and oils in your diet. Good options include Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil. Avocados are also a good source of healthy fats.
- Drink: Drink at least two litres of filtered water daily, preferably away from mealtimes. Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, green tea and dandelion root can also be consumed liberally, while freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are best consumed less frequently. Some people like to start the day by drinking a cup of warm water containing either a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar or the juice of half a lemon.
Steer Clear of Dietary Nasties
Foods to avoid when following a naturopathic diet include most processed foods, such as:
- Refined or processed carbohydrates and sugar: For example, white bread, pasta and rice, biscuits, pastries, sweets, lollies, cakes, chips.
- Take away foods, prepared packaged meals and foods: Avoid pre-prepared foods such as take away, ready-made meals, and ‘just add water’ packaged foods as these are often high in salt, fats and sugars.
- Unhealthy sources of fat: Particularly poor choices of fats include deli meats, sausages, burgers patties, margarine and deep-fried foods.
- Drinks to avoid: Avoid soft drinks and cordials, anything containing caffeine (including coffee and energy drinks), and consume alcohol in limited quantities, if at all.
- Artificial additives: Artificial sweeteners, colourings, preservatives and additives are best avoided.
Natural Home and Body Care
Many hair care, body care and cleaning products also contain chemicals which our bodies may struggle to process. Where possible, choosing use aluminium-free deodorants, fluoride- and sodium lauryl sulphate-free toothpaste, natural hair care products and mineral makeup.
Get regular rest and recreation
Look after your body with regular exercise, aiming for at least half an hour of moderate activity on most days of the week. If you exercise outdoors, this can be a great time to top up your vitamin D levels! Incorporate plenty of incidental exercise into your day too, for example by taking the stairs rather than the lift. You also need to recuperate, so make sure you get adequate sleep, with most adults needing at least eight hours per night and take time out to meditate, stretch, go to yoga or listen to soft relaxing music.
Choose appropriate supplements
Following a naturopathic diet will help keep your body healthy, but sometimes you might like to support your individual health needs by taking nutritional supplements or herbal medicines. If so, make sure you choose high quality products that are made according to the Code of Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), as required by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.
If you’re not sure which supplements are appropriate for you, please call our team of fully qualified naturopaths on 1300 365 020 for free, confidential advice.