Instead of a doctor prescribing you a drug, in the near future, you may leave the doctor’s office with a prescription for plants. Dovera, an insurance giant based in Slovakia, has partnered with the Natural Food Interaction (NFI) to create a tailor-made whole-food plant-based diet for their patients. As the success of the “plant prescription” in treating type 2 diabetes grows, this is a method that more healthcare providers are likely to adopt.

Rx: Plant-Based Diet, in the Place of Prescription Drug

As more studies emerge confirming the health benefits of plant-based diets, more doctors are beginning to use food as medicine to treat and even reverse diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Walter Willet, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical school, has been an outspoken leader in the movement to prescribe patients a plant-based diet: “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant-based diet, not necessarily totally vegan, and our estimates are about one-third of deaths could be prevented.”

Stateside, doctors like Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Freeman, advocate for the necessity of a plant-based diet for their patients looking to combat heart disease. Even just a diet with reduced meat intake might help improve heart health. Dr. Akua Woolbright, the National Nutrition Director for Whole Cities Foundation, suggests, "Consume only one serving of meat, eggs or dairy per day, or practice a flexitarian diet, in which you eat mostly plant-based foods with small amounts of animal products limited to just a few times a week or a month."

Based on the Slovakian program’s success, we hope large healthcare providers worldwide take a plant-based approach to disease intervention and prevention. Having an apple a day might not keep the doctor away, but a whole food plant-based diet shows promise.

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