How COVID-19 Shines A Light On Our Broken Food System

Only 12% of us in the US are metabolically healthy—it’s pretty alarming when the healthy population is the minority. And in the age of COVID-19, it’s important to recognize that those with a chronic disease are at an exponentially higher risk of hospitalization than someone who is metabolically healthy. If we as a population were healthier (think less obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.), the evidence supports that we’d be faring much better throughout this pandemic. Of course, a major driver of chronic diseases and the risks they create is our food system. We can’t expect to be a resilient population if we aren’t feeding our bodies real food with real nutrients we can use to function optimally. To dig into this topic further, I was excited to sit down with Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. Throughout our talk it’s clear that nutrient status has massive implications for our immune health. More and more information is emerging on the relationship between certain nutrients and the severity of COVID-19 and Dr. Mozaffarian shares which he feels are the most promising to research in regards to this specific virus. We can’t talk about a lack of proper nutrition amongst the general public without recognizing the role the food system plays. Dr. Mozaffarian and I talk about strategies for including the “Food as Medicine Model” as part of our standard healthcare system, including using SNAP (our food stamps program) to better support the people who rely on it most—children, the elderly, and our veterans. Food and disease are not independent topics. While we continue to think about immune health more than ever before, we need to recognize the essential role of food and work to change our broken food system from the ground up. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more. Find the “Report of the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health: Honoring the Past, Taking Actions for our Future” at https://sites.tufts.edu/foodnutritionandhealth2019/
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