Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine: The Concept of “Food is Medicine”Selim El Kaffas
Food being medicine is not a new concept – Hippocrates himself was a proponent of it – and yet many fail to realize how powerful a good diet can be when treating or preventing a disease. One of the reasons why it’s such a good deterrent of illnesses is that a wholesome diet can give a person different nutrients that create a harmonious balance in their body that no medication can achieve. Research has shown time and again that what we eat has a wide-reaching effect on our health and wellness. From the vitamins we get, to the correct amount of protein intake, a large part of our health is ultimately dependent on our food. However, this does go both ways. A bad diet can worsen your health, with diets high in processed food and sugars being a major contributor to developing chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This only makes adjusting your diet more important, as not only can it help you avoid and treat diseases, but neglecting to do so will only worsen your situation.
Nutritional Benefits of a Healthy Diet:
Here’s a list of some of the many health benefits eating healthy can provide:
- Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and fibers can decrease the risk of developing liver, upper gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers.
- According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, up to 80% of stroke and premature heart disease cases can be prevented with eating wholesomely and exercising.
- Getting the amount protein your body needs to function properly is extremely important. Symptoms of protein deficiency can include a loss of muscle mass, delayed or improper growth, thinning hair, and Edema, a condition characterized by swelling due to excess fluids trapped in the body’s tissue.
- Harvard Medical School recommends staying at a healthy weight and exercising regularly as a way to strengthen your immunity.
- A balanced diet should include a variety of essential minerals that the body needs to function correctly. They have a wide array of different functions, from helping in the formation of bones and muscles to playing an integral role in digestion and metabolism, these minerals are called “essential” for a reason!
Medically Tailored Meals
To give an example of “Food is Medicine” in action, medically tailored meals (MTMs) are meals approved by a physician or a dietitian that reflect appropriate dietary standards. These meals are designed to deal with chronic illnesses and pre-existing conditions, helping people affected by them better adjust to daily life. MTMs are specifically fitted to the needs of each patient, allowing them to be just as effective as medication, if not more so, when mitigating the complications of a disease. Sufferers of chronic diseases are often faced with the difficulty of finding a reliable source of nutritious food that won’t agitate their condition, and MTMs are the best, most hassle-free solution for this issue.
MTMs & Healthcare Expenditure
Eating well can also lower your healthcare expenditures. There’s no need to buy medication when your food is your medicine! People who take care of their diets using MTMs spend less time in the hospital since their conditions are mainly combatted using their meals and not their prescriptions. Preventing a complication also translates into money saved treating that complication through medical intervention, and thus, MTMs prove to be the least invasive and most cost-efficient method of helping in the upkeep of your health
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Poor nutrition is one of the leading factors in many of the healthy pandemics we face today. It’s often hard to overstate how effective a tool like a good diet can be. It’s hard to find any other treatment method that is as wide-reaching in its effects as eating healthfully. Its benefits even extend beyond your body, as having a reliable source of healthy food can save you the stress of fretting over what to eat. With so many pros and so little cons, maybe Hippocrates was right after all!