It’s possible by now you’ve heard the phrase “food as medicine.” It’s a theory that food can cure or prevent disease and illness, particularly prevalent on social media.
But is there anything to it?
Of course, there is plenty of evidence that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins, while being low in processed foods, can reduce the risk for a host of health conditions, including obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and more.
There is even evidence that certain antioxidant compounds and nutrients found in these items and foods like spices, tea, and coffee may help fight inflammation and, at times, promote a degree of healing.
Certain compounds in broccoli, for example, have been found to promote better liver health.
The concept of food as medicine is primarily based on prioritizing food and diet in a person’s health plan to either prevent, reduce symptoms of, or reverse disease.
There is enough evidence to suggest that food can help promote better health, prevent illness, and even potentially restore health.
But it is also essential to remember that food and nutrition are not a cure-all or a guarantee of immaculate health. Genetic factors, environmental factors, or autoimmune conditions or predispositions are factors in a person’s overall health profile and risk.
Further, using diet to treat a diagnosed condition is not necessarily going to work, either. Sometimes medicine is what’s needed. And although adopting a healthy diet is unlikely to hurt and likely to be beneficial, it is unlikely to restore health independently or medical treatment.
Using a healthy diet to complement treatment is probably a good idea, particularly because it can help establish good eating habits. If a condition is effectively treated with medicine, diet may help recurring flare-ups or future trouble.