Food As Medicine

Food As Medicine

The phrase, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” is often attributed to Hippocrates (400 BC) and used to emphasize the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease. So what does food that comes from the greenhouse/garden have in common with a pharmacy? They both are tools to heal our bodies. Many illnesses can be prevented, treated, or even cured by dietary and lifestyle changes. Medicine such as antibiotic may be necessary in the event of having an infectious disease, but lifestyle change may be better for other conditions.

What we choose to eat has profound effects on our overall health. Research shows that dietary habits influence disease risk. While certain foods may trigger chronic health conditions, others offer strong medicinal and protective qualities. Thus, many people argue that food is medicine. Dr Scott Stoll, a board-certified physiatrist and founder of the Plantarian Project, describes how nutrients in the plant based whole foods diet may reverse the course of disease like rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.  A plant-based whole food diet is high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acid. The protein in whole foods aid immune function, muscle synthesis, metabolism and growth, while fats provide fuel and absorb nutrients; turning genes off and on. Notably, a plant based whole food diet may decrease the risk of disease and improve overall quality of life, while the opposite is true for highly processed foods.

American College of Lifestyle Medicine ( stated, “Diet, what we consume in our bodies, has been identified as the single important factor for morbidity and mortality in the United States where the majority of population faces over-nutrition due to high intake of ultra processed, calorie dense, high saturated fat laden foods.”

Mrs White stated, “Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from our food. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, muscles, and nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body; but this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.“ Ministry of Healing, p 295

In summary, plant based whole food does much more than simply provide all of us with fuel. It may promote or worsen health, depending on what foods we choose to eat. The decision of what we put on our plate has a multitude of implications on our health.

Yin Schaff, Health Ministries Coordinator