DANVILLE, Pa., Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hippocrates, hailed as the father of modern medicine, is credited as being the first to propose "food as medicine and medicine as food."
More than 2,500 years later, Geisinger Health System has introduced a literal translation of those prophetic words with the launch of its Fresh Food Pharmacy, a new program that offers food insecure, diabetic patients in Shamokin, Pa., prescriptions for free foods aimed at keeping their disease under control. "Diabetes, as well as other diet-related illnesses, are a serious issue in low-income communities," explained Andrea Feinberg, M.D., program champion for the Fresh Food Pharmacy and an internal medicine physician who specializes in pulmonary and critical care. Thanks to the generous support of the Degenstein Foundation and Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets, free groceries and meal plans are provided to diabetic patients enrolled in the program. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics eat vegetables, fruit and lean proteins, and choose whole-grain foods over those made with refined grains or flours. The organization also recommends avoiding excess salt, high calorie snack foods and foods high in saturated or trans fats. Following those guidelines, Dr. Feinberg noted, can be a challenge for low-income patients because the fresh and nutrient-dense foods that can reverse or slow the disease's progression are difficult to afford.