Whole Foods: The New Medicine
Can Food Prevent Disease?
Societies and cultures have been preventing diseases for centuries without the use of synthetically-made prescription drugs. Every culture from ancient Rome, to modern Tibet has encompassed such concepts. It was even Thomas Edison that once said, "The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition."
As a country once dependant on designer drugs to “fix” our problems, we are now starting to see a shift back to our roots toward a more healthy, whole foods lifestyle. The idea, which is now being backed by the U.S. government, is to prevent the problem before it occurs.
Do as the Okinawans Do!
Fruits, vegetables, and berries are known all over the world to carry antioxidant properties. The people from the islands of Okinawa have the longest life expectancy in the world, and this has been attributed to the local diet, which consist of 300% more green and yellow vegetables than any other country. What you eat can determine how elastic your blood vessels are, how easily you resist cancer-causing toxins, and if you will get diseases like diabetes.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests we eat 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day! If you’re not sure, one serving is about the size of your fist. That sure seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Medical science reminds us almost every day that good nutrition and good health go hand in hand, especially when it comes to the healthful benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, despite the growing medical evidence, less than 25% of American adults eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Why Can't I Just Take a Multi-Vitamin?
This is a tricky one. We might think that a multi-vitamin can fix all of our problems, but the truth is a multi-vitamin is synthetically created in a lab. There are certain nutrients (called Phytonutrients) found in fruits and vegetables that simply cannot be recreated. Also, nutrients found naturally in the food we eat are bio-available. Bioavailability is the degree or rate to which a substance is absorbed or becomes available in our bodies. The bottom line; research shows that a multi-vitamin just doesn’t work as well as the vitamins naturally found in whole foods!
Show Me the Research!
If the Okinawans aren't reason enough to start eating whole organic foods, then maybe a little scientific research will convince you. Many major universities and hospitals have conducted independently funded clinical research that has been published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. The researchers had participants take a whole-foods, concentrated supplement containing the entire 13 servings of over 17 different fruits, vegetables, and whole grains recommended by the USDA.
- Delivers key phytonutrients that are absorbed by the body: The idea that naturally occurring nutrients and vitamins found in whole foods absorb and work better in your body than a synthetically created multi-vitamin. Studies conducted by Georgetown/UCLA, University of Sydeny, King's College in London, Brigham Young University, University of Arizona, University of Flordia, and the University of Texas Health Science Center.
- Reduces oxidative stress: Several of these bioavailability studies also reported improved antioxidant capacity and reduced lipid peroxides, a key indicator of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by the imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen and our ability to detoxify and repair the resulting damage. Oxidative stress is involved is diseases such as Parkinson's, heart failure, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue, and aging.1
- Helps support a healthy immune system: A healthy immune system protects the body, and good nutrition is important for a healthy immune system. Clinical research from the University of Florida and at the University of Arizona found that eating 7-13 servings of whole organic fruits and vegetables that were commercially available in a encapsulated form supported several measures of immune function.
- Helps protect DNA: A diet rich in nutrition from fruits and vegetables is also important to protect DNA from oxidative damage, which can weaken the structural integrity of DNA. DNA becomes damaged and fragile when exposed to oxidative stress; antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can help protect DNA from this damage.2 Studies conducted at University of Florida and Brigham Young University have found a reduction in DNA damage after taking supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts.
- Positively impacts several key indicators of cardiovascular wellness: Maintaining healthy amino acidic levels found in the blood is important for your heart and cardiovascular system. Clinical studies at the University of Sydney, and researchers in Foggia, Italy both found a reduction of amino acid levels in subjects. Researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine found that subjects who took a fruit and vegetable supplements were better able to maintain the elasticity of arteries, even after a high-fat meal.