Food Podcast: Medical facilities work to get patients access to healthy food

Food Podcast: Medical facilities work to get patients access to healthy food

On this episode of the Food Podcast presented by Clearview Federal Credit Union on the TribLIVE Podcast Network, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank discusses why medical facilities are working to get patients access to healthy food.

In a sense, food can act as medicine for a variety of medical conditions. It’s one of the reasons hospital systems such as UPMC are providing healthy food resources to patients.

“For example, when you’re recovering from surgery, it’s important that you fuel your body with the right about of protein, vitamins, fiber and nutrition to get, for example, something like anesthesia out of your system and really regain your strength, so your own digestive system is actually your best weapon,” said Simone Frerk, executive director of food and nutrition services for UMPC hospitals.

Frerk said her team works to get patients access to healthy food, but it’s important to look at the big picture to see whether patients are able to prepare healthy meals at home.

“It’s important to understand everybody’s background. Are they able to get around? What is realistically in their house? Do they have a full kitchen? Do you just have a studio and a hotplate or just a microwave? There are all these differences that need to be considered,” Frerk said.

Even something as simple as offering a butternut squash to a patient can create hurdles if they don’t have the strength to cut through the thick skin or if they don’t have knives at home. Frerk said oftentimes they’ll have patients who are financially stable but have no way of physically getting to a grocery store.

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Listen: Food Podcast episode ‘Food is Medicine’