There is overwhelming evidence demonstrating the impact of food and diet on health, specifically among food-related diseases. Whether or not a poor diet can cause damage to the body should no longer be debated, as evidence supports the potential causal relationships between dietary factors and diet-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. While diet has the potential to cause disease, it is also capable of building, maintaining, and restoring health. The report, written in conjunction with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, aims to bridge the gap between traditional medicine and the use of food as medicine in the prevention and treatment of disease.
This comprehensive narrative review and reportis divided into five parts, including: 1) background information on the history of using food to treat disease, 2) modern challenges to widespread use and acceptance of food as medicine practices, 3) current evidence about contemporary food as medicine practices (such as medically tailored meals, produce prescriptions, and functional foods), 4) literature review of food as treatment for specific disease states, and 5) recommendations to stakeholders (including policymakers, health care professionals, and academics) to contribute to a healthier, more equitable health care system.