Explore the role of food in health. Apply nutrition science to guide you on using food as medicine for you and your family.

235,930 enrolled on this course

Chopping board with stethoscope and berries in a test tube.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

How can we use food as medicine?

This course introduces the concept of food as medicine. You will explore how food can be important both in preventative health and as an aid in the management of certain chronic diseases today, in the past and in the future. You will also learn about what’s in food that gives it the potential to improve our health and how to recognise which types of foods are essential for health and wellbeing, and how food can play an important role in treating/preventing disease.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds HELEN 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 seconds DAVID 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 seconds SIMONE 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 seconds JANEANE 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 seconds HELEN 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

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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 will have broad general interest appeal to everyone interested in food, nutrition and health. But it will be of particular interest to healthcare professionals who are looking to have more evidenced-based information, to assist them in providing food-based recommendations to their patients.

AfN Certified Course

This course has been certified by the Association for Nutrition. It meets AfN standards for nutrition training of individuals working at Level 1 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). What does AfN Certification say about this course - please visit the Association for Nutrition website.

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.

BDA Endorsed Course

BDA endorsement applies only to the educational content of the learning activity. Completion of this course does not provide you with qualifications to practice 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. "

Who will you learn with?

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.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by

Association for Nutrition

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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