Integrating the science and art of using food as medicine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The domestication of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago led to profound environmental changes that have influenced our diet and lifestyle. This has resulted in a global pandemic of nutrition- and lifestyle-related chronic degenerative diseases arising from a mismatch between our ancient genetic makeup and current lifestyle patterns. While conventional medicine tries to address chronic disease by symptom management, newer paradigms, such as integrative and functional medicine, attempt to identify the root cause of chronic diseases. Disease is described as a complex phenomenon comprised of core clinical imbalances in various organ systems and physiological processes resulting from the interplay of environmental inputs such as diet and lifestyle. Nutrition, as determined by dietary patterns consisting of foods with bioactive compounds, is critically involved in the creation and mitigation of disease primarily by disrupting or restoring balance or homeostasis in cellular mechanisms and products. Food serves as an information molecule, directly or indirectly influencing gene expression. Individual genetic predispositions in turn dictate unique dietary needs and requirements. Normalizing multiple biological systems requires a multipronged approach that includes a gradual transition to an unprocessed whole foods diet, knowing and learning about food sources, removing or controlling food allergens, reducing the environmental toxic burden, and following a holistic lifestyle intervention strategy that combines diet, exercise, stress management, and spirituality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAyurvedic Science of Food and Nutrition
PublisherSpringer New York
Pages49-58
Number of pages10
Volume9781461496281
ISBN (Electronic)9781461496281
ISBN (Print)1461496276, 9781461496274
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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  • Cite this

    Raj, S. (2014). Integrating the science and art of using food as medicine. In Ayurvedic Science of Food and Nutrition (Vol. 9781461496281, pp. 49-58). Springer New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9628-1_5