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Food as Medicine

Monash University via FutureLearn


How can we use food as medicine?

Are you interested in learning how food can be used as medicine? If you want to understand the power of nutrition, this 3-week course will teach you about the role of food in improving health.

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.

Why macronutrients and antioxidants are special

To begin, you’ll learn about what food contains and what makes it special. From macronutrients and micronutrients to antioxidants, you’ll discover how each element contributes to your overall health and wellbeing.

We’ll explore how food was used as medicine in the past and the role food plays in disease prevention and treatment. You’ll also learn how we can make food a part of medicine in the future.

The importance of nutrition for your brain and gut

In your second week, you’ll investigate the different relationships between food and the gut, brain, appetite and genes. You’ll also gain an understanding of how food affects fertility and pregnancy.

You’ll study examples of food as medicine, including the FODMAP diet for IBS and probiotics for gut health. Find out how your body controls your appetite and learn more about the eating pattern known as ‘food addiction’.

Mindful eating and the future of food

Finally, we’ll discuss the complexities of nutrition science, how it’s evolving, and how nutrition misinformation may end up as fact. Then you’ll learn to apply mindfulness to the way you engage with your food.

The future of food is exciting, so we’ll explore how food may be used as medicine in the future, and the potential role food will play in your health and wellbeing.

IANE Membership

Completion of this course enables doctors and healthcare professionals to apply for membership of the International Academy of Nutrition Educators (IANE) - a membership only open to qualified health professionals.

IANE membership enables access to a global network of medical nutrition experts and knowledge symposia, bespoke support and mentorship to implement nutrition into practice, and opportunities to participate in public health nutrition advocacy initiatives through NNEdPro’s partnership with governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Check out IANE pathway requirements: Find out more about Food as Medicine Final Assessment Course (NNedPro)

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.


  • Food as medicine
    • Course introduction
    • History of food as medicine
    • Food in health and disease
    • What's in food that makes it special?
    • Foods and inflammation
    • Feedback from the course educators
  • A body systems approach for food as medicine
    • Food and the gut
    • Food and the brain
    • Food and our genome
    • Foods, fertility and pregnancy
    • Food and weight
    • Feedback from the course educators
  • Interpreting the science of food as medicine
    • Introduction
    • Nutrition complexities and controversies
    • Making choices: Food and diet
    • Who can you trust?
    • Applying food as medicine to you
    • Where is the future heading?
    • Prove your knowledge and understanding
    • Additional resources
    • Feedback from the course educators

Taught by

Helen Truby


4.6 rating, based on 118 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 619 ratings

Start your review of Food as Medicine

  • This is a fantastic course but make sure you clear the deck and have no other courses, etc. on the go at the same time as there are up to 30 steps per week and there's a whack of stuff to absorb, and it goes at a very fast pace so it's hard to take it all in in way that will sink in. The content and instructors are excellent. If you are going to really reflect on the material, do the reading, etc., allow about 7 to 10 hours a week.
  • Sonya Pinto

    Sonya Pinto completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    It’s a amazing course especially for beginners like me . My take aways : Food can be a source of many things , the biggest other than energy , nutrition and pleasure in enjoying it is to fuel our body and to help in disease prevention. I learnt a…
  • Linda Saalman

    Linda Saalman completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Informative, accessible, well-designed class that takes into account likely levels of student knowledge and preconceived opinions without pandering to them. Monash, of course, is the premiere research institution on the topic of FODMAPs, and their deep expertise in nutrition is evident. They also do a nice job offering supplemental reading material for people who wish to dive a bit deeper. And FutureLearn, of course, is a platform particularly well-suited to student discussions and supplementary material, allowing students to complete the course taking very little time each week, or spend more time and have a more engaging and deeper experience.
  • Jan

    Jan completed this course.

    Food as Medicine is an excellent short course. It contains interesting information at just the right depth that will provide stimulation to learn more. Anyone interested in the field of nutrition could use this course as a great introduction and overview.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course was balanced and evidenced based. It provided me with much more information on a broad range of topics about how to improve both my health, and the health of my family. Thank you to the team that created the MOOC, as I thoroughly enjoyed it!
  • Profile image for Irene Margolis
    Irene Margolis
    I absolutely loved this course. So detailed and full of useful information. The lecturers are clear in their ability to get their message across, and the information is understandable. I only wish I had more time to participate in the discussions, make sure to allow plenty time when doing the course to really participate and take all the information in. Thank you for such a lovely and full experience. I definitely recommend this course for anyone who would like to learn more about the subject. (I also really and particularly enjoyed the part about mindful eating - I think we will all be much healthier if we practice it !)
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This was not like any other MOOC I have taken. This was the most interactive MOOC I've taken. There were discussions between class mates, real time interaction with the course moderator, and at the end of each module the moderator addressed current questions from students in a video as opposed to a canned weekly wrap up that gets used class after class.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course is fantastic. Love it. Great quality of presenters and videos and I love their weekly wrap up videos. I've done a few Monash online courses now on Futurelearn and they are consistently excellent. Highly recommend anything made by the Australian Monash University.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this course. The range of topics covered stimulated thought re foods eaten on a number of levels. The title
    Food as Medicine reinforces the fact that what you eat shapes your body and how well it functions or doesn't function and basically replaces/reduces the need of conventional medicines.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Cutting through myth and showing the science to healthy eating and ways in which our food can be our medicine. Great course work and content with engaging educators.
  • Anonymous
    I thoroughly enjoyed this short, free course. I have a real interest in healthy eating. I used to teach cookery to learners with disabilities and also used to encourage elderly residents in a nursing home to continue to enjoy preparation and eatin…
  • Anonymous
    This was an wonderful experience to take this course and studying with the rich contents as well as sharing own understanding with other learners. The course contents were really very important both for the beginners as well as professionals as it s…
  • Julia Yeates completed this course.

    I'd love to give the course a 5 star review but the sub-titles were frequently inaccurate and on one video clip they were completely out of sync which, for someone without English as a mother tongue could have been confusing. (Happy to proofread for free guys :)

    I also think that some of the science could have been explained better, it was ok for me because I have a science/tech background but perhaps others may struggle, especially with the genetics section

    But a good course and very worthhile
    Thank you FutureLearn and Monash Uni
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It has been 3 weeks of knowledge impartation. I enjoyed every bit of the lessons taught. I can now boast that I am ready to take my study in Nutrition further and get certified. I can support my family and friend with all that I have learned.

    Just one more thing, I am of the opinion that a dedicated link or contact should be made available for those that might want to gain clarification as to how to gain admission to study full time or online.

    Best regards to the entire team of Food as Medicine.

    Ometere Mercy Udom
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Superb organised and in layperson's language, with fantastic supporting documentation and articles. A huge enterprise, greatly appreciated.

    I wish only that you would talk briefly about lipoedema, even if just to define it and tell students to find resources only and talk to their GPs. It is a condition not well known, and yet a huge tragedy for 1/4 of all women who struggle and punish themselves to lose these diet-and-exercise-resistant fat cells to no avail.

  • Anonymous
    I thoroughly enjoyed this course. As a nutrition professional, I thought it may be a little basic, however it provided good revision and a new angle on certain topics - never a bad thing!

    What I loved most was the engaging delivery. It's clear the course leaders are passionate about their topic and are able to give nuanced information, moving away from outdated reductionist approaches to food, health and weight loss.

    Highly recommended.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I really enjoyed learning from this course and have gained lots of insight into choosing the right foods and healthy foods to eat. I was interested in foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and will purchase the e-book with anti-inflammatory recipes.

    Thank you for offering this course to the public. I have one important feedback about some articles not being available for the public to read, the ones that require authorized access. Perhaps, it is better if Monash Uni can get permission from these websites to provide access for the public to see.

    Many thanks and best regards,

  • Cecilia Montague
    Food As Medicine is a very good course.
    There's a lot of information about the body and diet.
    It's fun to participate in the quizzes and to carry out the recommended tasks.
    I have learned a lot from the videos and course teachers ,who have a kind and intelligent approach to nutritional education.
    Thanks to everybody at Monash University for coordinating the course curriculum.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course was very well-planned and executed with a mix of videos and articles so it that did not get monotonous. None of the videos were very long, so it helped one absorb the information. By and large, it was simple for a lay-person like me to understand. A few areas got a bit technical, but that is to be expected. I would highly recommend this course, especially since it was short, sweet, concise, and interestingly-programmed.
  • Carol Fitzgerald completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This was a thoughtful and evidence based approach, well presented by a major university. It addressed the food myths and advertising hype, equipping people to understand the place of sound nutrition and healthy eating habits in health and wellness.

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