Food as Medicine

Intrigued by the connection between food and health? Discover nutrition science and explore the facts of using food as medicine.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 4 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $79 Find out more

Explore evidence-based research on how what we eat impacts our health

Never before have we known so much about the nutritional value of our food. But there’s still uncertainty around how it can be used to improve our health.

On this Association for Nutrition (AfN) certified course, you’ll be introduced to the fascinating concept of using food as medicine.

As you consider how what we eat affects our health, you’ll learn how food can be used to prevent and treat illness and manage chronic disease.

You’ll also discover nutrition science and learn what it is in food that can improve our health, as well as the essential foods we need to boost our health and wellbeing.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsHELEN TRUBY: Humans have always used foods as medicine. Right from ancient times, across many cultures right up until now. Why is this and what is the evidence? At a time when we are being bombarded by messages about the health properties of food, of miracle foods and special diets. What's a fact and what is fiction? Can we really use food as medicine? Hi, I’m Helen Truby. I’m head of nutrition and dietetics at Monash University in Australia. My team and I are here to explore the exciting area of food as medicine.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsDAVID KANNAR: So the role of food in preventative medicine is becoming increasingly important. Diet has long be known to promote health, and many chronic medical conditions can be helped by improving diet, changing lifestyle and increasing regular exercise. So, your mum was right. You are what you eat, and food has a strong influence on disease prevention.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsSIMONE GIBSON: There’s a lot of evidence about food and how it affects our health and the evidence is changing. What we recommended twenty years ago has now evolved into new recommendations of what we suggest people eat today, and that’s likely to change again into the future as more evidence comes to light.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsJANEANE DART: What is exciting to consider and what we’ll explore is how food is utilised as medicine in the twenty-first century. There are multiple examples of how foods have been used as medicine in the past, and I guess looking at different cultures and across different parts of the world. The literature from an arts perspective is really stemmed I guess from the French and the British began to write about food, and I think there’s a lot of unrecorded history of food and what’s happening now is the medical and scientific literature is beginning now, and those worlds are beginning to merge.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 secondsHELEN TRUBY: By the end of the course, we want you to be able to identify foods that are healthy and helpful to you and your family, and understand what foods may be used as medicine. So join us and learn about all the wonderful properties that food has and how you might be able to use it as medicine.

What topics will you cover?

  • History of food as medicine
  • Food and its role in prevention and treatment
  • Macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants
  • Nutrition complexities and controversies, and the importance of evidence
  • Food and the gut
  • Food and the brain
  • Foods, fertility and pregnancy
  • Food and weight
  • Food and our genome
  • Public health nutrition guidelines

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe what is meant by the term ‘food as medicine’ and list a number of examples of how foods have been used as medicine in the past
  • Identify how and which types of foods are essential for health and wellbeing, and play an important role in treating/preventing disease
  • Identify current evidenced based, nutrition related public health guidelines and apply these to improve personal eating habits and nutritional intake
  • Identify foods/components of food that have an effect on different body systems, weight and appetite, fertility and pregnancy, and the genome

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone fascinated by how food, nutrition and health are connected.

If you’re a healthcare professional, this course will give you evidence-based information to share with your patients if they require food-based health recommendations.

This course is AfN Certified.

This means it meets the Association for Nutrition standards for nutrition training of individuals working at Level 1 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Please note completion of this course does not lead to registration on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists nor does it equip any individual to practice ethically as a nutritionist.

This course is BDA Endorsed.

This course is endorsed by the British Dietetic Association. BDA endorsement applies to the educational content of the learning activity. Completion of this course does not provide you with qualifications to practise as a nutritionist or dietitian.

What do people say about this course?

I researched what FutureLearn had to offer through a recommendation from a friend who has done a few Future Learn courses and found them very useful. I am a homoeopath and was interested in knowing more about nutrition to assist my practice; the Food as Medicine course offered by Monash University seemed to completely fit the bill. The academic staff are very successful in simplifying and demystifying an area which can otherwise be very confusing due to information overload. Their approach helps you cut through the multitude of myths and misinformation regarding food and nutrition, to get to the basics of what the body needs to function at its best. I would recommend the course to anyone who is interested in health, whether they have a background in this area or not.

Nicky Martin

Who will you learn with?

Helen Truby

Helen Truby

I am Professor and Head of Department of Nutrition & Dietetics at Monash University. My professional background is paediatric dietetics and have research interests in clinical nutrition and metabolism

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established1958
  • LocationMelbourne, Australia
  • World rankingTop 80Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019

Endorsed by

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.

Free
$0

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 5 weeks

Upgrade
$79

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible
New

Unlimited (New!)
$249.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: