Listen to Doctors Prescribe Fruits and Vegetables Instead of Pills
The Greek doctor Hippocrates, recognised as the founder of medicine, famously said “Let food be thy medicine” and it seems that modern medical research may prove him correct.
Recently, the Harvard School of Public Health got together with the Culinary Institute of America to sponsor a crash course which teaches doctors how to build food into their medical practice.
Surprisingly, few doctors medical school learn about how nutrition affects health. In fact, less than 20% of American medical schools have a required course in nutrition. Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives aims to change that.
The advice to eat a healthy diet is not new. However, as a society, we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to taking that advice. Approximately 50% of deaths from heart disease, strokes and Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. are linked to a poor diet. That’s roughly 1,000 deaths every single day.
Most poor diets consist of too many carbohydrates, sweets and products made from white flour, and not enough fruits, nuts, whole grains and vegetables.
The latest data shows that nearly 23% of Americans consume less than one portion of fruit a day, and have an average vegetable intake of only 1.6 times per day.
We live in a society where food is often regarded as the problem, when in fact, good, real food, is the solution. An approach where drugs and synthetic supplements are prescribed as the first solution, before addressing diet, is not always the right one.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure; reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes; prevent some types of cancer; lower the risk of eyesight and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.
Based on a study, those who consumed an average of 8 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who only consumed just 1.5 servings per day.
There were also significant changes in people suffering from high blood pressure. By eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated and total fats, patients showed similar results to those who were using medication.
Research also shows that the consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit is associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
What people eat can be medicine or poison and nutrition is one of the most powerful things you can change to reverse the effects of chronic diseases.
In general, many lifestyle medicine physicians recommend a plant-based diet, particularly for people with diabetes or other inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, prescribing food is more complicated than prescribing medications. It’s a lot cheaper to put someone on three months of medication than to figure out how to get them to eat a healthy diet. åHowever, the physician’s prescription can serve as a powerful tool for motivating behavioralå change.