Study Suggests Doctors Prescribe ‘Food as Medicine’

April 18, 2019

A new study suggests that doctors return to more natural and holistic roots by prescribing healthy foods and an improved diet for some Americans.  Long stuck in a culture where unhealthy diets and chemical-laden foods have become normal, many doctors are now breaking the mold – but it’s good and bad at the same time.

Those doctors who choose to prescribe a healthy diet feel that simply improving the quality of the foods a person eats could save the healthcare industry billions of dollars. Although this is far from a new concept, it is nice to see Western medicine doctors try something new instead of jumping to prescribe the latest and greatest Big Pharma pill loaded with side effects. 

These pill prescriptions also come at a time when a patient is already sick while prescribing a healthy diet could prevent major costs down the road.  In an effort to stop a preventable disease before it starts, some researchers and medical professionals are pushing for programs that would let doctors prescribe healthy foods and force insurers to cover those foods. This would inevitably lead to a change in eating habits that could help patients shift to a health-promoting diet from a disease-causing one, the researchers have claimed.

According to Popular Science, these types of healthy eating programs work. Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cases, as well as the deaths associated from cardiovascular disease, according to a new model. It would prevent hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases, as well, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“The power of food as medicine is increasingly clear,” said the study’s author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The idea of treating food (which is the nourishment we all need to survive) as a key element of healthcare is catching on across the healthcare industry, says Rita Nguyen, Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

“People are recognizing the common sense of it all,” she says. “We spend so much on healthcare, and our outcomes are abysmal. We don’t invest in prevention.” And many are now saying a switch to healthier eating habits is all that’s needed to improve your chances of well-being.

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