HCF Fit and Well : HCF Health Agenda - January 2017
37 January 2017 | Health Agenda HEALTHY LIVING In Australia the idea of prescribing vegetables to address health conditions began in remote Aboriginal communities. A study in the Northern Territory found a quarter of the money local people spent on food was used to buy drinks, mostly sugary so drinks, and only 5.4 per cent of their food budget was spent on vegetables. These statistics led researcher Kerin O'Dea, Professor of Nutrition and Population Health at the University of South Australia, to recommend that doctors begin writing prescriptions for healthy food, such as vegetables, just as they do for medications. In the United States some doctors are already using scripts to encourage people to eat more vegetables. Along with giving patients a prescription for their usual cholesterol or blood pressure medication, some GPs prescribe daily broccoli, carrots and other vegetables. Vegetable scripts Four vegies with healing properties did you know? Capsicum A red capsicum has double the amount of vitamin C of an orange. Vitamin C is beneficial for wound healing and can help heal ulcers. Broccoli Broccoli is packed with vitamin C, carotenoids and B vitamins. It is also rich in phytonutrients and there is emerging evidence that phytonutrients help lower the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers. Spinach Loaded with antioxidants, including zeaxanthine and lutein, spinach helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and other vision problems. Garlic The National Cancer Institute in the United Kingdom lists garlic as a potential cancer-preventing food. It has anti-inflammatory properties and also reduces the risk of heart disease and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, according to Liverpool John Moores University researchers. SOME DOCTORS NOT ONLY PRESCRIBE DRUGS, THEY WRITE SCRIPTS FOR VEGETABLES TO IMPROVE THEIR PATIENTS' HEALTH AND REDUCE THE RISK OF DISEASE. Words Sarah Marinos In New York families who visit doctors working at the Lincoln Medical Centre in the Bronx for health advice are prescribed their required medication, plus vegetables to help manage their weight and associated health problems, such as diabetes. There is also a push to encourage more doctors to increase their knowledge of nutrition and how it can improve health. A growing number of conferences, courses and fellowships are providing in-depth training for general practitioners who are keen to increase their understanding of food as medicine. Professor Vicki Flood, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, believes vegie prescriptions are a potentially beneficial idea. "It's a step in the right direction to encourage people to adopt eating practices that can have positive impacts on their health," she says.
HCF Health Agenda - Issue 02
HCF Health Agenda - April 2017