Should plants and hydration be part of our prescriptions?

As someone who reads my blog or newsletters regularly, you are probably using allopathic medicine only when necessary. But for a high number in our society, most turn automatically to medications, leading to prescribing being the most common patient led intervention happening in the NHS. In the US this is driven by a lot of advertising of products, in the UK it’s not permitted in the same way, but patient groups are a way of gaining interest in new medications. Most people also now expect to come away from their doctor with a prescription.

Prescriptions are the second highest area of spending after staff costs always one of the biggest overheads in a business the size of the NHS inevitably. The total net ingredient cost (NIC) of prescription items dispensed in 2017 was £9,167.2 million. The total number of items dispensed in 2017 was 1,105.8 million. Over half of our population are on medications in the UK with 1.1 million prescriptions being dispensed.

What if GP’s prescribed plant-based eating, and asked most people to not only hydrate themselves which in a recent survey showed that 1 in every 10 visits to the GP was likely to be dehydration related but also to actually eat 5 portions of vegetables a day, we might see a reduction in prescription costs. Cost of 2 litres of filtered tap water, depends on whether you are metered and the cost of your filter I guess, but really it’s less than the cheapest medication.

This may seem a simplistic approach, but in reality, most people are not hydrating themselves, 56% of drinks, bought from convenience stores are fizzy sugary drinks, only 13% of the market is mineral water. Although the average household is now eating more vegetables the poorest in our society are still only eating 2-3 portions a day. There is a lot of room for improvement and maybe prescribing dietary changes could be a good way forward to reducing medication costs and increasing health. Cost of 5 portions of vegetables, £3.50 maximum, and I’m being generous depending on which type of vegetables you are eating.

There is another great aspect to prescribing fruit, vegetables and water, and it’s the lack of side effects, well except improved bowel movements, less likelihood of colon cancer and constipation, improved energy, skin tone, happiness, less joint pain, bright eyes and a bushy tail! Side effects from medications are a serious issue, with many medications being now given for the side effects of the original medication. Omeprazole is an example of this, mostly I see that it’s being taken to off set the side effect of another medication with my clients.

So is it time for you to adjust your diet so that it addresses your deficiencies?

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