“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” This famous quote is often attributed to Hippocrates. But, as research by Diana Cardenas in 2013 shows, this quote can not be found anywhere in Hippocrates’ writings. Diana Cardenas discovered that the quote started to emerge from 1926 on and really started to get popular in the 1970s.
There are good reasons for the quote to go round, though. Hippocrates considered nutrition one of the main tools that a doctor can use. More than that, dietary measures play a lead part in the original oath of Hippocrates. I
But the original Greek oath, literally translated, says: “I will apply dietetic and lifestyle measures to help the sick to my best ability and judgment; I will protect them from harm and injustice.”
The dietetic and lifestyle measures are just one word in Greek, διαιτήμασί (pronounce as “deaytimasy”). You may recognize the word “diet” in there. It means as much as a lifestyle regime, with a focus on diet. Exercise is also part of it. Sometimes it is just translated as: dietetic measures.
“Recently, some medical doctors and communities have taken this idea literally and have brought the nutrition to the patient. Sprawling across 2,658 square feet, three stories up Boston Medical Center’s rooftop farm produces more than 25 varieties of crops and houses three beehives to aid in pollination. From collards and chard to radishes, carrots, bok choy and more, the farm supplies the hospital with 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of fresh produce during the brief Massachusetts growing season. More than half goes to the Boston Preventive Food Pantry, which now serves more than 22,000 families annually. The rest is used in hospital meals and the on-site teaching kitchen that offers free culinary classes for staff, patients and their families.” Source: Farming at New Heights, by Pooja Makhijani. Eating Well, June, 2021.
The goal of these innovative programs is to get nutritious food to people who maybe cannot afford or have access to them to ultimately help to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
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