Imagine every time you visit your family doctor, he or she is nutritionally trained so they can advise you on the relationship between your health and your diet. At the same time, have an allied dietitian to guide you on how to cook certain foods at home. Recipes will be tailored to your personal needs and, as nutritionists and doctors are now trained to work as a team, you will have your "health coaches" to help you successfully implement this new plan. This scenario sounds unbelievable, but it is the new trend abroad and is called culinary medicine (1).

Essentially, culinary medicine is a new, science-based field of medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine (2). It has emerged for many reasons, from people's need to eat away from home, from the media's promotion of food and cooking, from often conflicting dietary advice, from the ineffectiveness of conventional medical practices in chronic diseases, from the rise of holistic therapies and the shift to organic foods, from the proliferation of processed foods, and from the rising cost of health care.

Its aim is to help people make good personal medical decisions about high-quality meals and to help prevent and treat disease. Within medical cooking, the question of "what should I eat based on my condition" is answered and, as is clear, different clinical conditions require different meals, foods and drinks in order to improve.

Particular attention is paid to how food works in the body, as well as to the socio-cultural aspects of food and cooking, and the enjoyment of these. In this way, the patient can derive the strength and will to care for themselves safely and effectively through the foods and beverages that will help them.

Some dietary patterns have even been shown to be more effective for certain conditions, such as the anti-inflammatory diet for rheumatoid arthritis (3) and the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular disease (4), advanced colorectal cancer (5) and type 2 diabetes (6). Some foods have also been shown to be effective, such as legumes for lowering cholesterol (7), soya beans for hypertension (8), etc.

Culinary medicine has been part of the curriculum in US medical schools since 2003, the first medical cooking centre opened in 2013 at Tulane University in New Orleans and since then, some medical schools have been teaching culinary medicine to undergraduate students as part of elective courses, while some hospitals offer culinary medicine programmes to medical staff and the public.

Culinary medicine essentially offers systematic ways of understanding and evaluating a patient's cooking and nutrition as part of their care, to be applied based on their health goals. Indeed, to some extent, the dietary, cooking, and so forth choices made by clinicians who practice or teach culinary medicine in their own lives are also considered (9), as their habits are in some ways a factor in shaping their diet and nutrition practices and advice to students, staff, and patients (10).

What is culinary medicine

In this context, there are some who question this whole process, since doctors were already giving nutritional advice to patients, while dieticians and other health professionals are specialised in this. On the other hand, most doctors are not trained to understand the mechanism by which nutrition affects metabolism, immunity, pathophysiology and overall health, while more expensive, conventional medical interventions (drugs, interventions) take less time, occupy medical staff for a shorter period of time and have a more immediate effect - regardless of whether other problems are caused in the long term - and are therefore preferred by most. In diabetic patients, for example, the increased health costs of not giving correct dietary advice are high, and many trainee doctors say they do not feel sufficiently trained to advise their patients on prevention. (11)
Other non-medical specialists, such as chefs, trainers, coaches, and farmers, also offer important advice on better performance, improved mental health, treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, and rapid recovery, but unfortunately the knowledge of these professionals does not extend to medicine, with many recommending dietary supplements to a great extent. Nonetheless, these professionals have much to offer in culinary medicine.

Can the dietician be involved in culinary medicine? Absolutely. Nutrition is part of every stage of life and part of every stage of disease. In the absence of adequate nutrition, dietitians are there (think enteral feeding or parenteral nutrition required in certain conditions) or when diets need to be modified (think cystic fibrosis, inherent errors of metabolism, allergies, gastrointestinal disease) or where excessive nutrition causes problems (think type 2 diabetes and obesity) and anything in between or a combination of all. Dietitians are the ones who have the knowledge and training to talk to you about food combinations, what form foods should be eaten in to retain their nutritional elements, the time and method of cooking, and so on. Culinary medicine comes to enhance the role of dietitians and the importance of nutrition and is an emerging field: It is a new educational and nutritional approach to improve eating behaviours, focusing on skills such as food purchasing, storage and meal preparation, and where doctors and dietitians-nutritionists are in full collaboration to maintain your health and prevent disease.

So what will happen in the future? Culinary medicine, like exercise, should be an important tool for every health professional, who, being trained in this field, should be able to advise, depending on the health problem and the patient, on the frequency of meals, the aim, the choices, the quantities, the preparation, and even perhaps the cultivation of foods or their correct selection and purchase. Until it is more widely understood that our diet is our most important health weapon.

Culinary medicine Tips. See more here and here
 -Spices such as garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme have been shown to reduce E. coli growth by up to 90% in undercooked meat (13).
 -Add a lemon or orange peel to your tea to reduce the risk of skin cancer by up to 42% (15).
 -Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables, as well as fruits and vegetables in general, help reduce the chance of surgery for gallstones when eaten daily (16).

Elettra Premium Culinary Practices

Below two Culinary medicine Practices to get the most out of polyphenols and antioxidants

Garlic and Elettra Silver extra virgin olive oil    
 -Crush your garlic and leave it for 10 minutes before adding it to your food. This converts the enzyme alliinase into alysine with powerful anti-inflammatory activity (17). Put crushed garlic in good quality olive oil to get the maximum antioxidant benefits.

 Tomato and Elettra Silver extra virgin olive oil    
 -Combine extra virgin olive oil with tomatoes or even tomato paste for greater lycopene absorption. Tomato paste has 10 times more lycopene, but only 25% of the lycopene is absorbed without a fatty source (18).

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2. La Puma J, Marx RM. ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine. New York: Crown; 2008
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5. Meyerhardt JA, Niedzwiecki D, Hollis D, et al. . Association of dietary patterns with cancer recurrence and survival in patients with stage III colon cancer. JAMA. 2007;298:754–764
6. Koloverou E, Esposito K, Giugliano D, Panagiotakos D. The effect of Mediterranean diet on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of 10 prospective studies and 136,846 participants. Metabolism. 2014;63:903–911
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10. Frank E, Kunovich-Frieze T. Physicians’ prevention counseling behaviors: current status and future directions. Prev Med. 1995;24:543–545
11. Park ER, Wolfe TJ, Rigotti NA. Perceived preparedness to provide preventive counseling. J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20:386–391