SalmonBerry

Plant Power

In Nutrition on April 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm
photo (52)

Superfoods: onion, kale, sweet potato

I’ll be the first to admit that nutrition research can be contradictory, changeable, and alarmist especially as presented by media sound bites. “Fat is bad” then “Eat more fat” and “Carbs make you fat” then “Actually, only ‘bad’ carbs make you fat” and “Antioxidants: more equals better” then “Wait, antioxidant supplements act as pro-oxidants”! During graduate school I was required to pore through the research and the one constant in almost 40 years of nutrition research was this: fruit and vegetable intake is inversely correlated with chronic disease risk.

This means that as you INCREASE your F/V consumption you DECREASE your risk of developing a chronic disease (and the other way around). This is one of the most consistent findings of nutritional epidemiology.

cauliflower

Huge, homegrown cauliflower

 The correlation starts at a min of 5 servings of F/V and – this is the good part – maxes out at 9 servings of F/V. So you can eat 12 servings per day of F/V (if you can fit all that fiber in your belly) but research has demonstrated it WON’T MAKE YOU ANY HEALTHIER than the person eating 9 servings of F/V. Of course, the amount of F/V servings needed depends on body size and gender: a petite woman needs 5-6 while a bigger man needs up to 8-9. Look closely at your diet to see where you can replace an animal food with a plant food. It’s time to change that long-told storyline in your head about the veggies you don’t like and the foods you think you “need” to be healthy. Challenge those old patterns and re-investigate plant foods you may have written off years ago. Meat-lovers, don’t dispair! There is room for animal foods in your diet but consider using them as an accompaniment (i.e. garnish or side dish, perhaps?) to your main meal of powerful plant foods.

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