What Does 'Using Food As Medicine' Really Mean – Zenwise What Does 'Using Food As Medicine' Really Mean – Zenwise
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What Does 'Using Food As Medicine' Really Mean

“Food as medicine” sounds like the newest health and wellness buzzword, but it’s far from new. While we’re finally seeing more acceptance and expansion into the Western world, other cultures have long recognized the role of diet in health for centuries.

A medicinal text from ancient Egypt, The Ebers Papyrus, stems back from the 2nd millennium B.C. and mentions multiple foods that could be used to treat ailments including honey. Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine from India, also began seeing food as a tool to balance the three doshas and prevent diseases.

The Chinese also have a long history of using food as medicine. Since the 3rd century B.C., ginseng, goji berries, and mushrooms have been used to promote good health and soothe different ailments. During this time, the world saw the first dietary guidelines created.

But it wasn’t until the 5th century B.C. when Ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, the one considered the father of Western Medicine said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." And it’s hard to argue that we should all prioritize diet and nutrition.

In the mid to late 18th century, the Western world finally has a “food as medicine” breakthrough with the documentation of the first clinical trial however, nutrition and the science that would follow was not officially discovered until the mid-19th century.


Modern experts weigh in on “food as medicine” movement

According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, food is an integral part of treating and preventing some chronic diseases. Improvements in diet quality, like adding nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, may reduce disease symptoms and improve quality of life.

Some say the world is facing a global epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.

“One of every five deaths across the globe is attributable to suboptimal diet, more than any other risk factor including tobacco,” say researchers in a study published in BMJ.

Understandably, the American Society of Nutrition is keen on exploring the impacts of food as medicine. The organization says this movement “sits at the crossroads of nutrition and healthcare.”

The food as medicine movement has been the focus of exciting new research in recent years. And the evidence suggests food as medicine can work to improve chronic disease risk factors and outcomes.

There’s no slam-dunk definition of this concept, but it generally refers to prioritizing food and diet in an individual’s health plan.

The focus is on the increased consumption of whole, minimally-processed plant-based foods and limited intakes of highly processed foods rich in added sugar, oil, and salt. Head to our blog that spells out exactly How Your Body Responds To Sugar for the not-so-sweet truth.


Benefits of food as medicine approach

According to Medical News Today, medical nutrition therapy is an evidence-based health practice that uses diet and food to support the treatment of diseases.

“For instance, an increase in dietary fiber supports lower blood sugar levels in persons with pre-diabetes or diabetes, reducing the occurrence of nerve and blood vessel damage associated with high blood sugar levels,” the authors write.

A holistic nutrition approach focuses on the individual's dietary needs and seeks to find a balance between the different food groups to prevent disease and promote overall health. Holistic Nutritionists work on tracking food patterns, current health, and genetic factors, to suggest a diet plan. They emphasize nutrient-dense foods, nutrient timing, and balanced meals. Besides food, they also consider exercise, stress management, and sleep when designing a diet plan.


Ready to get started?

You can start your journey by focusing on incorporating whole foods in your diet. You can make small changes by adding more vegetables to your meals, reducing your sugar intake, and opting for whole grains instead of refined ones.

Many of us mean well but fall off the healthy eating wagon from time to time. But don’t hop on the self-loathing trains with stops at could of, should of, and would of. Check out our cheat sheet with proven tips here.


What is a GAPS Diet?

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet is a strict elimination diet that eliminates all types of grains, refined sugar, and processed foods. According to Healthline.com, GAPS was coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who also designed the GAPS diet.

The GAPS diet emphasizes the consumption of nutrient-dense, whole foods that are easy to digest and have anti-inflammatory properties.

The diet seeks to heal the gut and help with immune system regulation, and it's known to help with conditions such as autism, ADHD, and depression.

Consult with a trusted healthcare professional before embarking on the GAPS diet.


The bottom line

The food as medicine movement has countless implications and we’ve barely brushed the surface in this article.

Here at Zenwise® we are guided by a philosophy called “consciously wise nourishment.”  Every formula is steeped in ancient Zen tradition and validated by modern science-based wisdom.

We also offer informative, easy-to-understand articles based on the latest scientific research affecting your well-being. Head to our blog page for gut health guides, holistic hacks, and tips for finding balance.

Looking for additional advice to guide your health and wellness journey?  Our knowledgeable customer service team is ready to help. Reach them at support@zenwise.com or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at (800) 940-1972.






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