Food as Medicine

We are all familiar with the term ‘super food’.  It has recently become trendy for supermarkets to be well-stocked with magical sounding rainforest fruits like açaí, dark leafy greens like kale and chard, exotic oils such as flax and coconut, and twelve grain bread.  Nutrition is one of the most important components of preventative medicine and it is fortunate that the food industry has started to respond to consumer demands for healthy foods by increasing their quantity, variety, and availability in stores.

There are numerous diets designed to optimize health and nutrition, however one of the favorites (of nutrition experts and consumers alike) is the Mediterranean Diet, popular for being both exceedingly healthy and delicious.  The Mediterranean Diet is highly adaptable and is characterized by a large intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fish, garlic, fresh herbs, and olive oil.  It has been shown to have positive effects on many illnesses including cancer and heart disease, as well as being highly beneficial for health in general.  An interesting component of the Mediterranean Diet is the strong recommendation that people combine it with daily exercise.  This does not necessarily have to be a vigorous trip to the gym; simply going for a walk or a bike ride is sufficient.

This page is far too short to address the intricacies of detailed dietary recommendations.  However, more information is available: please see the list of additional resources below and keep an eye on The Zeneration Blog for updates on the latest research about the effects of specific foods; these entries will also always include recommended recipes!  You will notice that some of the resources on the list below are cookbooks; one of the most challenging aspects of Food as Medicine is learning how to make a strange but nutritious vegetable or fruit palatable.  While many of us do not have time to cook elaborate meals every night, recipes can often be simplified so they remain nutritious and enjoyable without being too time consuming to prepare.  The foods you put into your body become a part of it and play an essential role in your health; don’t underestimate the power this gives you when making choices about what to eat!


DISCLAIMER:  This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice.  You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.



1.  The DASH Diet Eating Plan: Research

2.  Integrative Medicine Second Edition by David Rakel for more detailed information on usage for specific conditions.  Copyright 2007, 2003 by Elsevier Inc.  Published by Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA 2007.

3.  Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber MD, PhD.  First Edition, published by the Penguin Group, New York, NY 2008.  Originally Published in French by Éditions Robert Laffont, S.A. Paris 2007.

4.  Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition Revised, Updated, and Expanded Third Edition by Paul Pitchfield.  Published by North Atlantic Books Berkeley, CA, 2002.

5.  Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and Healthy Eating

6.  Oldways: Changing the Way People Eat

7.  The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health by The Moosewood Collective.  Published by Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York NY 2009.

8.  The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden Ph.D, C.N.S. Published by Fair Winds Press, Gloucester, MA 2007.

9. William Li: Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?  TED: Ideas Worth Spreading Feb 2010.

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