5 At-Home Tests to Support Food as Medicine

At-Home Diagnostic Testing

5 At-Home Tests to Support Food as Medicine

Ash Team

Food as medicine is an approach to health care and nutrition that emphasizes the use of whole, natural foods to prevent, manage, and even treat various medical conditions. The concept recognizes that the foods we eat can have a profound impact on patient health and well-being, and it seeks to harness the therapeutic potential of a nutritious diet

Why use food as medicine 

A primary goal of the food as medicine approach is to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers through dietary choices. By eating a balanced and healthful diet, patients can reduce their risk of developing these conditions. Patients can also lower health care costs over time, build a stronger immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve mental health outcomes with support from dietary changes.  

At-home diagnostic testing for food as medicine initiatives 

At-home diagnostics can play a significant role in supporting food as medicine initiatives by offering patients and providers convenient and timely access to health data related to their nutrition and dietary choices. Consistent tracking of key markers like blood sugar levels or body composition can help patients and care teams make real-time adjustments to their diets and evaluate the effectiveness of dietary changes. Moreover, positive changes in health markers can inspire patients to stick with dietary interventions and maintain a healthy eating pattern.

Below are five types of at-home diagnostic tests that providers can use to monitor patients on a food as medicine regimen: 

HbA1c Screening

HbA1c screening provides a baseline measurement of a patient’s average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. This baseline can help providers and patients understand their current glycemic control status and identify whether dietary changes are necessary. 

Based on the initial HbA1c measurement, health care professionals can work with individuals to set realistic blood sugar control goals. These goals may involve improving glycemic control through dietary modifications. HbA1c results can also guide the development of personalized nutrition plans. For individuals with diabetes or at risk of diabetes, these plans can include recommendations for specific foods, portion sizes, meal timing, and macronutrient ratios to optimize blood sugar management.

General Wellness Panel

A general wellness panel, also known as a basic health panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel, typically includes a set of blood tests that provide a snapshot of a patient’s overall health. While the exact tests included in a general wellness panel may vary depending on the healthcare provider and the specific laboratory, a typical general wellness panel often includes screening for liver function, kidney function, heart health, thyroid function, and lipids. 

Based on the results of the wellness panel, health care professionals can provide personalized dietary recommendations tailored to a patient’s specific health needs and goals. For instance, if cholesterol levels are high, dietary advice may focus on reducing saturated fat intake. Regular wellness panels can serve as a preventive screening tool, helping individuals and providers detect potential health issues early. This can lead to timely dietary interventions and lifestyle changes.

Allergy Testing

Allergy testing can support food as medicine initiatives in several ways by helping patients and health care professionals identify and manage food allergies or intolerances that may impact health. This information is crucial for creating personalized dietary plans that exclude problematic foods and ensure patients receive proper nutrition without adverse reactions.

Allergy testing results allow health care professionals to develop customized nutrition plans that meet a patient’s dietary needs while avoiding allergenic foods. The removal of problematic foods from their diet can lead to a significant reduction in symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, skin problems, respiratory issues, and more. 

Heart Health Panel

A heart health panel, which typically includes various blood tests and assessments to evaluate cardiovascular risk factors and overall heart health, can significantly enhance and support food as medicine initiatives. By assessing biomarkers like cholesterol levels and blood pressure, a heart health panel can help identify dietary risk factors contributing to poor heart health. This enables individuals to make informed choices about which foods to include or limit in their diets.

Based on the results of a heart health panel, health care professionals can provide specific dietary recommendations to address elevated risk factors. For example, they can advise on reducing saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar intake while increasing fiber-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and heart-healthy fats. A heart health panel can also guide patients in balancing their intake of key nutrients like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which can impact blood pressure regulation. Proper nutrient balance is a crucial aspect of heart-healthy eating.

Gastrointestinal Panel

A GI panel is part of a holistic approach to digestive health. It complements other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as stress management and physical activity, which also play roles in GI health. By identifying and addressing underlying GI issues, a GI panel can lead to a significant reduction in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

A GI panel can also help diagnose or rule out various GI conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food allergies, and gastrointestinal infections. For individuals with IBS, a GI panel can evaluate their response to a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet, which involves restricting certain types of carbohydrates that can exacerbate GI symptoms.

Chat with Ash Wellness about at-home diagnostic testing for your food as medicine initiatives.


At-home diagnostic tests can provide valuable information and should be used as a part of a broader healthcare approach. The interpretation of test results and the development of dietary recommendations should ideally involve consultation with health care professionals, such as registered dietitians or doctors, who can provide personalized guidance and ensure that dietary changes are safe and appropriate for a patient's unique health needs and goals.

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