Culinary Medicine: Basics and Scope

Culinary Medicine: Basics and Scope

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“The city has lost several of its grocery stores in recent years, leaving residents with few options when it comes to buying food. That’s where the relatively new discipline of culinary medicine comes in. Culinary medicine initiatives help to advance health equity by increasing access to healthy food and building awareness of the importance of nutrition.” reads an article in rapid growth media examining the health disparities in United States’s Michigan.

2018 was brimming with news of colleges and universities across the nation including a new curriculum in the field of medicine, i.e. culinary medicine to help people prepare food like a chef while thinking of the food’s nutritional value like a dietician.  

So, what exactly is culinary medicine?

It would be a mistake if you would think of going by its literal meaning as culinary medicine being a culinary art or food science. It is not merely about cooking and taking into consideration the micronutrients or macronutrients. It would also be ignorance to think of it as a branch that rejects the medical prescription.

Culinary medicine takes from both food and science and blends the art and certitude of food and science respectively to help enhance personal health and well being. When nutrition clubs with the scientific facts, such field in medicine is referred to as culinary medicine.

They say, we are what we eat, but have you ever given it enough thought that what you are eating is affecting your present health condition? This is  what culinary medicine is concerned with. It takes into consideration the actuality that the food is condition-specific and people should include different nutrition per their health condition. Culinary medicine aims to transform people’s eating behavior and help them understand that food being condition specific should be shopped for, stored and prepared in a particular manner.

What paved the way for this new clinical discipline?
  • Millennials and Gen Z are a highly aware generation who have the cognizance of this age produce severely lacking nutritional value, chemical involvement in artificially added flavors and nutrients. They only want the best for their body and are hence more inclined more towards the farms produce, local agriculture, organic food.
  • The escalating healthcare cost because of an increasing strain of diet-related health risk and diseases.
  • Increasing concern about weight management and unsuccessful attempts in managing chronic illnesses altogether.
How will it help the medical field?

To think that culinary medicine is just another clinical discipline would be a mistake since it goes way beyond physicians advising foods to patients. Culinary medicine is uncovering the lacking nutritional training given to the medical professionals in the medical schools. Physician despite being highly knowledgeable and experienced, might lack the precision to recommend diet as per the patient health condition. Culinary medicine, although fairly a new concept will help bridge this gap of knowledge and nutrition so that the physicians can dispense more precise treatment to the patient suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other health complications.

How will it help the patients?

This integrated healthcare field of medicine will help the patients eat right and keep their health complication under control. As mentioned before, food is person and condition-specific; hence culinary medicine will help people, healthy or suffering from an illness prepare meal to enhance their overall health and well being.

The medical community is divided on the benefits a new clinical discipline has to offer, with some arguing clinicians already advise patients to stick to a particular diet while specialty specific medical practitioners like a dietician, chiropractors are also trained to do so. Culinary medicine is here to change the way we think about our food habits and its future is filled with possibilities in improving the population’s health. What is needed to understand better this discipline is through research and results backed by evidence.