How to Use Food as Medicine

The saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” has been attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who is considered the father of modern medicine. Essentially, this saying is based on the understanding that the foods we eat can have a profound impact on our health.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of food as medicine. “This is likely due to the increasing awareness of the connection between diet and disease,” says Certified Health Coach and Food for Life Instructor at RiverRun HEALTH’s Healthy Lifestyle Learning Center. “In fact, studies have shown that eating a healthy diet can help to prevent or manage a variety of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.”

Learn more about how to use food as medicine in the following blog post.

What are some ways to use food as medicine?

There are many different ways to use food as medicine. Here are a few tips:

  • Bump up your fiber. Only 5 % of the US population gets enough fiber. Fiber is ONLY found in PLANT- FOODS. Fiber feeds a healthy gut, controls blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and keeps you satisfied and full longer.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health. Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels.
  • Include healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds, can help to improve heart health and cognitive function.
  • Limit processed foods and read labels carefully. Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt. They can also be low in nutrients.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for good health and can help to flush toxins out of the body.
  • Cook more meals at home. This will give you more control over the ingredients in your food.
  • Make gradual changes to your diet. This will make it easier to stick to your new eating habits.
  • Find a support system. Having friends or family members who are also eating healthy can help you stay motivated.

What are some foods that can be used as medicine?

Using food as medicine is a powerful way to improve your health. By making small changes to your diet, you can take steps to prevent or manage chronic health conditions and live a longer, healthier life. Here are some specific examples of how certain foods can be used as medicine:

  • Berries: Berries are packed with antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and disease. They are also a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion.
  • Beans: The positive attributes of beans have been known worldwide by the healthiest populations. Furthermore, beans are inexpensive, filling, delicious, and available in a wonderful variety of colors.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that have been shown to boost the immune system and protect against cancer.
  • Nuts: Nuts are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. They can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals.

These are just a few examples of how food can be used as medicine. However, there are many other ways to incorporate foods into your diet that can help you manage or prevent chronic illness. In fact, here are some of Crissie’s top recommended recipes that use healthful ingredients:

Easy (and Healthy) Bean Salad Recipe – Click to View

Healthy Blueberry Pie Recipe – Click to View

Want to learn more about using food as medicine?

Importantly, by eating a healthy diet, you can take steps to improve your health and prevent disease. If you are considering using food as medicine, be sure to talk to your doctor first. They can help you create a diet that is right for you and your individual health needs.

At RiverRun HEALTH’s Healthy Lifestyle Learning Center, we work with patients to develop comprehensive healthy lifestyle plans tailored to each individual’s specific needs and goals. Additionally, we emphasize evidence-based disease prevention and reversal, while also focusing on your whole health. If you’d like to learn more about how our Healthy Lifestyle Learning Center, as well as programs like the FoodRx: Using Food as Medicine healthy cooking course can help you, contact us at 423.531.9300 or visit

Christine A. Smith, RN, BS,
Certified Health Coach & Food for Life Instructor

Christine (Crissie) Ann Smith, Registered Nurse, and Certified Health Coach is ready to help you develop healthy, smart goals along with support, encouragement, and accountability toward your unique wellness plan. She works closely with primary care physicians to personalize wellness plans for each patient, providing education and support on their journey. Crissie believes in focusing on healthy, lifelong habits that will support you in your passion for living. Learn more about RiverRun HEALTH’s Healthy Lifestyle Learning Center and Wellness program.

Scroll to Top