The Science behind ‘Food First’ to improve medical outcomes

Restore health and limit disease

Food has the ability to heal and cause great harm. For many years there has been so much focus on the foods which cause harm and contribute to chronic disease, but research is now moving towards the foods which can help reduce and even limit diseases, therefore becoming the new front line defence against disease.

The concept of ‘food first’ to treat disease is fast catching on. Patients with chronic complaints, who make changes to their diet before reaching for pills/medication, have noticed a big improvement in their symptoms. Most chronic conditions can be helped with the right kind of food and lifestyle changes.

This approach may not work for everyone, dietary changes, as a stand alone, may have little or no impact on curing a patients illness. It is more about embracing the idea that changes to everyday eating habits can be a very effective first step towards better health. The changes and improvements experienced will then further empower and motivate a patient to make further lifestyle changes. All of this enables the body to have a stronger platform with which to fight disease.

It is impossible to run randomised controlled trials to create broader evidence to prove dietary change is effective in combating chronic disease. The reason for this is that everyone is unique. Everyone has their own genetics, history and lifestyle, making it impossible to advocate one treatment plan for everyone with a particular disease. For example: the Mediterranean diet used for cardiovascular disease. Instead nutritional treatments are based on an individuals unique genetic makeup.

Functional medicine looks at many therapeutic plans, which address nutritional inadequacies through the ‘food first’ approach. Each food plan is based on the health needs and lifestyle preferences of each individual patient, encompassing macro and micro nutrient foods with clear directives. None of these interventions are intended as a short term fix, but are designed to be introduced as a sustainable lifestyle change creating optimal health and wellbeing for an individual.

These dietary plans include an individuals stress levels, exercise and sleep habits. The food plans include strategies and tips to keep patients engaged and motivated to maintain their prescribed food protocol. All of these changes in their diet should show meaningful improvement in disease or illness symptoms.

The science is there to help heal, it is not a prescriptive formula rather a very individualised formula which creates lasting effective health changes, reducing chronic inflammation and disease.

Look more closely at your lifestyle and diet before using medication. Medication will work far more effectively on the disease if the body is healthy.

Insights & references taken from The Institute of Functional medicine.

Amanda Higgins -The Health Nut