A health food store or health food shop is a type of grocery store that primarily sells health foods, organic foods, local produce, and often nutritional supplements. Health food stores typically offer a wider or more specialized selection of foods than conventional grocery stores for their customers, for example athletes and bodybuilders, people with special dietary needs, such as people who are allergic to the gluten in wheat or some other substance, or have diabetes mellitus, and for people who observe vegetarian, vegan, raw food, organic, or other alternative diets.
The term health food has been used since the 1920s to refer to specific foods claimed to be especially beneficial to health, although the term has no official definition. Some terms that are associated with health food are macrobiotics, natural foods, organic foods and whole foods. Macrobiotics is a diet focusing primarily on whole cereals. Whole cereals, along with other whole foods, are foods that are minimally processed. Whole cereals have their fiber, germ and hull intact and are considered more nutritious. Natural foods are simply foods that contain no artificial ingredients. Organic foods are foods that are grown without the use of conventional and artificial pesticides and must meet certain organic standards.
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