We already know that salt, sugar, fat and processed foods in the American diet contribute to the nation’s high rates of obesity and diabetes, even among children. In fact, 80 percent of deaths from heart disease and stroke are caused by high blood pressure, tobacco use, elevated cholesterol and low consumption of fruits and vegetables.
But you can also reverse that logic. Nutritional changes help prevent, limit and even reverse diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer.
The food-as-medicine movement has been around for decades, but it’s making inroads as physicians and medical institutions have started to adopt it as well.
Some recent examples:
- Shop with Your Doc – This St. Joseph Hoag Health alliance program sends doctors to the grocery store to meet with any patients who sign up for the service, plus any other shoppers who happen by with questions.
- The Therapeutic Food Pantry at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital offers patients several bags of food prescribed for their condition, along with intensive training in how to cook it. The philosophy is, when you know how to cook, you don’t have to depend on packaged foods with high salt and sugar content.
- Lifestyle Medicine, a formal sub-specialty in using food to treat disease, is now being offered to resident physicians of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Right now more than half of our food is processed, and only 5 percent of our food is plant-based in America. Those statistics should be reversed. By understanding the role that food plays in our life, which foods are nutritious, and how to prepare them, we are making life-changing steps towards our ideal health.