Food as Medicine: Doctors are Focusing More on Healthy Foods

Image via Tulane University (video below)
Image via Tulane University (video below)

Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.

— Hippocrates

This is how we begin our Nutrition page here at Factor 75. We are strong believers that your mind and body performs more optimally with the proper nutrition.

Now comes a recent article by the Chicago Tribune highlighting a trend we’re seeing gain more publicity: doctors are straying away from prescribing drugs to treat illnesses, lower cholesterol, or heart health and are instead educating patients on changing their lifestyle towards a more healthy one.

The article begins with a quote from one of the doctors interviewed for the story, Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a cardiologist in the Twin Cities for twenty years. In the last ten years, she has shifted her focus, realizing “that what I was doing was just making numbers look good and not treating the underlying problems of diet and nutrition.”

A Denver based cardiologist, Dr. Richard Collins, similarly shifted from performing angioplasty procedures to unblock arteries and treat cardiovascular disease towards providing his patients with the tools of how they should cook to prevent heart disease.

“Americans love salt, sugar and fat, but we need to promote the consumption of whole foods, such as fresh vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins, in proper portions if we are going to take on and prevent the unsustainable growth of cardiovascular heart disease.”

– Dr. Richard Collins

Dr. Klodas and Dr. Collins are also aligned with our own partner, Dr. Mark Rosenbloom MD, and his philosophy of needing more optimization experts to go beyond reaching the “average health” requirement that is established for doctors and patients. (For further reading, click here.)

One more bonus for a healthy food as medicine “prescription” is actually the money it would save for all parties involved. According to a report by the IMS Institute for Health Informatics in 2014, doctors prescribed $374 billion worth of pharmaceuticals — an all-time high. Given that the numbers for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are all on the rise, the amount for pharmaceuticals will likely follow.

The irony is that though pharmaceuticals may help your cholesterol numbers, it may also cause other problems or side effects that are just as damaging to your health. For instance: an increased risk of diabetes.

So, we ask you: what makes the most sense? Treating an illness with drugs that merely halts, or even creates further health issues *or* following a healthy lifestyle plan that utilizes food as medicine, improves your condition and your overall health to prevent future issues.

We’re glad we’re seeing more and more media promoting that doctors are not taking the easy way out and educating their patients. This also means some further educating for themselves. Here is a video to end on, which shows doctors learning to cook their own medicine.

OK, so what healthy foods should we eat?

Our recommendations parallel the ones listed by Dr. Klodas to the Tribune, specifically for a healthy heart. (You’ll find many of these in our own cheat sheet below.)

Fiber (fruits, vegetables, grains), omega-3 fatty acids (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds), antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts) and plant sterols (grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds.)

We’re not saying you should stop seeing your doctor, but there are plenty of tips you can do from your very own home to help. Whether this post is the first step to starting, or simply a reminder, we hope this inspires you to take even more control of what you consume. After all, “let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”