This quote has been attributed to Hippocrates who is considered to be the father of western medicine. With the growing epidemic of chronic disease, this age old adage is more apropos than ever. In the U.S., the 7 out of every 10 deaths and over 75% of national health expenditures can be attributed to Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Diabetes (CDC). All three of these major diseases are preventable and develop over time as a result of how we live our life.
Our food choices can make a major impact on our health by contributing to the prevention of these chronic diseases. In fact, dietary risk factors have been shown to be even more impactful than smoking on disability adjusted life years and death (JAMA, 2013). Given the epidemic of chronic disease and the real impact that our food choices have for our individual and collective health, I think it is time that we return to our roots (no pun intended) and let food be our medicine.
I will be exploring this topic further with new blog entries on how food can be our best medicine to treat and prevent Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and many forms of Cancer. As a physician I routinely give my patients food prescriptions to fit their individual needs and teach them how to make healthy food choices to prepare meals that are tasty and medicinal for their particular health conditions. As a medical educator, I am actively engaged in teaching students how to use food as medicine.
With this blog series I will begin sharing some of my insights into the use of Food as Medicine to treat and prevent the chronic diseases of our time. I look forward to your feedback and hope that this blog will be helpful to you as we begin to explore foods for a healthier life. As always, with any food or lifestyle changes, please consult with your personal physician before making any modifications to your diet.
Dr. Shad (Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH) is a Stanford-trained medical doctor, associate professor in academic medicine, speaker, and author with expertise in nutrition and culinary medicine, wellness, public health and prevention.
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