What is Food as Medicine?
“Food as medicine” is a fundamental concept that emphasizes the potent impact that dietary habits have on overall health. It is rooted in the understanding that the nutrients found in food can be as healing and preventative as medicine when consumed in a balanced and mindful manner.
This approach focuses on the idea that maintaining a nutrient-rich diet can prevent, mitigate, and even reverse various health conditions.
Below, we delve deep into the science and principles behind this concept, exploring the therapeutic potential of different foods and providing practical strategies for incorporating nutrient-dense foods into everyday life.
And if you’d like to learn even more in a free online Food as Medicine course, we’ve got some information about that below.
Some of the Best Food as Medicine
Here are some of the best examples of food as medicine.
- Turmeric, a common spice used in Asian cuisines, contains a compound called curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Similarly, garlic, widely used for flavoring, is known for its immune-boosting properties owing to a compound named allicin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon, support heart health by reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Read here about Glucosamine Supplements for Joints.
- Foods rich in dietary fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help manage weight, control blood sugar levels, and promote a healthy gut.
- Dark chocolate, with its high levels of flavonoids, has been linked to improvements in heart health. These are just a few examples illustrating how incorporating certain foods into our diet can profoundly impact our health.
As you see, you probably already have some of these healthy foods in your kitchen cabinet.
Is Food as Medicine Legit? Is it based on Actual Science?
While it is easy to be skeptical about the legitimacy of food as medicine, emerging research and long-standing traditions provide substantial evidence to support it.
The World Health Organization recognizes that traditional and complementary medicine, which includes the use of food for healing, plays a vital role in health maintenance. Moreover, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of certain foods.
For instance, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. Whole grains and dietary fiber have been associated with lower risks of diabetes and heart disease.
However, it is essential to note that while food can complement medicine, it should not necessarily replace conventional medical treatments. Always consult with healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about your health.
So, food as medicine is not only legitimate but also an essential aspect of achieving and maintaining optimal health. With the appropriate knowledge and guidance, integrating therapeutic foods into daily dietary habits can serve as a powerful tool for disease prevention and health promotion.
How can I learn about Food as Medicine?
For those interested in diving deeper into the concept of “food as medicine,” there are numerous avenues to explore. You can start by checking out educational resources from reputable health organizations. Websites such as the Mayo Clinic, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the World Health Organization often provide detailed guidelines and articles on this topic.
Online courses are another excellent way to gain a comprehensive understanding. In fact, PESI is currently offering free, 30-day access to their Food as Medicine course. It is taught by certified nutritionists. And you can get CECs for this course.
Reading books written by experts in the field is also beneficial. Books written by experts, such as Body on Fire by Monica Aggarwal M.D. and Jyothi Rao, M.D. and Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself by William W. Li, M.D., provide in-depth information on how to utilize food for health promotion and disease prevention.
Lastly, consulting with a registered dietitian or a healthcare professional specializing in nutrition can also be enlightening. These experts can provide personalized advice based on your health status and dietary needs.
Remember that while learning about “food as medicine,” it’s crucial to critically evaluate the information you come across to ensure its credibility and relevance to your situation.
PESI Food as Medicine Course Review
PESI has an online course for Food as Medicine that is simply the best around. If you want to know science-based, contemporary recommendations for nutrition, this is an excellent resource.
And, for the month of September, PESI has an outstanding offer:
- 30 day free trial of their Food as Medicine course!
If you want continuing education credits (CECs) or lifelong access to the course, it’s only $99 in September using this link.
PESI Food as Medicine Course Overview
The course is divided into eight modules. As you’ll see these modules cover a huge number of topics.
- Maximizing Nutrition With Science
- Part 1: Foundations
- Part 2: Quality
- Part 3: Carbs
- Part 4: Protein
- Part 5: Fat
- Part 6: Micros
- Part 7: Nutrients
- Part 8: Beverages
- Nutrition’s Impact on Performance Recovery
- Diet Wars
- Part 1: Paleo — DASH
- Part 2: Mediterranean
- Part 3: Keto — Low Carb
- Part 4: Elimination Diets
- Part 5: Vegetarian Diets
- Part 6: Fasting
- Mindfulness and Circadian Rhythms
- Solutions to Common Questions
- Part 1: Organics & GMO’s
- Part 2: Gluten, Grains, Lectins
- Part 3: Sweeteners
- Part 4: Prebiotics & Probiotics
- Part 5: Supplements
Part 6: Meal Planning
- Weight Loss and Metabolism
- Food as Medicine: Working with Special Populations
- Gut Health & Hormones: Your gut’s role in hormone balance & how to fix it
Food as Medicine Teachers
PESI’s online Food as Medicine course is taught by two authorities in the field of nutrition.
Cindi Lockhart, RDN, LD, IFNCP, is board-certified as an integrative and functional nutrition practitioner with over 30 years in professional practice. She has trained nutrition, fitness, and medical practitioners throughout most of her career, yet maintains a personal practice with clients as she believes that the only way she can effectively educate and inspire other practitioners is through her own practical experience with clients. In addition to educating on how Food is Medicine, Cindi also specializes in coaching clients and practitioners on the importance of managing stress, optimizing sleep, proper exercise and movement, and reducing exposure to environmental toxins. Cindi has extensive expertise in women’s health issues including hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmunity as well as gut health, weight management, histamine intolerance, and immune health.
Vanessa Ruiz, ND, RN-BSN, is a naturopathic physician and registered nurse. After experiencing health issues stemming from burnout as a nurse, she began studying integrative ways to help herself heal. Her interest in integrative health led her to become a naturopathic physician with a focus on mental health, trauma, and complex PTSD. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine at Southwest College in Tempe, Arizona.
She has been featured in the “A Created Life: A Journey to Empowerment” documentary and “Shoutout Arizona” for her ground-breaking work in mental health. She is a public speaker on the topic of functional medicine and mental health, teaching behavioral health professionals nationally and internationally. In addition to her clinical practice, she is the founder of Nurses for Natural Health, an organization dedicated to empowering and educating Nurses about natural health and burnout recovery.
What is PESI?
PESI is one of the most popular continuing education programs for personal trainers, yoga and Pilates instructors, and physical and occupational therapists. PESI stands for Professional Education Systems Institute, and the organization has existed since 1979. Their continuing education credits are recognized by major institutional bodies.
The teachers of their courses are recognized authorities in their fields.
In short, consider PESI like Masterclass for body nerds!
Abd El‐Hack, Mohamed E., Mohamed T. El‐Saadony, Ayman A. Swelum, Muhammad Arif, Mahmoud M. Abo Ghanima, Mustafa Shukry, Ahmed Noreldin, Ayman E. Taha, and Khaled A. El‐Tarabily. “Curcumin, the active substance of turmeric: its effects on health and ways to improve its bioavailability.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 101, no. 14 (2021): 5747-5762.
Pieroni, Andrea, and Lisa Price. Eating and healing: traditional food as medicine. Crc Press, 2006.