Remember going to the doctor's office when you were younger? The shots were scary, but then you got a cool bandage to show off to your friends and maybe even a colorful balloon to carry around the rest of the day. It seemed like there was always a cure for whatever was ailing you, and hearing that your problems could be solved with this or that pill might have been a relief. However, the movement to use food as medicine has gained momentum recently, and some people are saying that maybe we didn't need all of those prescriptions in the first place.
We sat down to discuss this topic with Mandy Murphy, a registered dietitian and 2014 Fellow at the Center for Health Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, where she is pursuing her Masters. "When a patient’s just been diagnosed with heart disease or heart inflammation or high cholesterol, [food] is not even addressed, when a driving factor was probably stress and food," Murphy said. "It’s like, 'Here’s a pill or a prescription,' and that to me is unsettling." [Editor's note: Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your health regime, especially changes that involve prescription medications.] We were interested in her perspective, so we asked her to share some of her best tips for using food as medicine and leading a healthier lifestyle, plus her go-to anti-inflammatory tea recipe — delicious and nutritious.
Turn to food. “The foods we eat should promote health on a daily basis and that can kind of be our primary prevention. But then when we do get sick we can use food and natural remedies instead of going to Western medicine immediately," Murphy said. She believes there is a place for Western medicine, but when dealing with the common cold, food should be the first place you look for healing.