Sometimes Food Is The Best Medicine

As a physician, I regularly write prescriptions for medications to help my patients get better. But can I write a prescription for food? This may sound like a strange question, but a survey of doctors found that most wished they could write prescriptions for nutritious foods. Those doctors are aware of what a growing body of evidence shows: access to nutritious foods plays an outsize role in wellness.

I began to think about the relationship between food and health when I was a resident working in a busy Boston hospital. A patient I’ll call Ted came into the emergency room seeking treatment for vague symptoms that didn’t seem to add up to any specific diagnosis. I grabbed a chair and talked to Ted for a few minutes, and eventually he came to trust me. “Doc,” Ted finally confessed, “I’m tired and I need a meal.”

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