The naturopathic notion of Food as Medicine dates to Hippocrates of Ancient Greece with the well-known quote of “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food” which refers directly to the understanding of nutrition as a form of therapy and as a prophylaxis, or prevention of disease.
The main concept of nutritional medicine is that good health occurs when all essential nutrients reach the cells of the body in optimal amounts. Adequate nutrients are required for the biochemical processes our bodies depend on to function and regenerate. This means, when treating the underlying cause of symptoms or imbalances in the body, the naturopathic approach considers and addresses the nutritional and environmental factors.
A holistic approach to nutrition is based on whole foods in their natural state as protective against disease, whilst nutrition depleted refined foods may promote disease. Nutritional medicine with whole foods can provide essential nutrients, energy and phytochemicals and with safe and effective therapeutic results. Combining medicinal foods with medical treatment can provide adequate nutritional support for the improvement of symptoms and reduction of side effects.
Nutritional recommendations are tailored to individual needs and are designed specific to health and therapeutic goals. Current health status, lifestyle factors, physical activity levels, sleep quality and daily stress are all important considerations in nutritional therapy.
The foundation of a healthy diet produces therapeutic treatment with the use of food, however, there are times where therapeutic doses of certain nutrients are not obtainable through food alone. In these instances, supplements or nutraceuticals may be recommended to attain the required adequate amounts.