"Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food." -Hippocrates, Father of Medicine
Most of us have heard that diets high in fruits and vegetables can help us lose weight, reduce our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, arthritis and even wrinkles. As a matter of fact, 8 to 10 servings a day can cut our cancer risk in half!
In 1998, the University of Naples in Italy studied 70 to 100 year olds and found that the healthiest and longest lived ate a lot more fruits and vegetables.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that the USDA Food Guide Pyramid advocates eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day for optimum health!
Food science has just recently come to realize that there is much more to micronutrient nutrition than just vitamins and minerals. Indeed, there may be well over 1,000 different plant chemicals, known as phytonutrients, that may have metabolic activity in humans! These include classes such as the polyphenols, carotenoids, flavinoids, coumarins and isothiocyanates, just to name a few! Some serve as antioxidants, some assist the liver in detoxification, others modulate the immune system and hormone metabolism. Research on phytonutrients is an exciting new frontier for nutritionists.
Further study has shown that the fruits and vegetables that come in rich vibrant colors, like tomatoes, carrots, spinach, broccoli, blue berries and raspberries, are much more potent and beneficial than the pastel colored produce like ice berg lettuce, bananas, celery, corn and potatoes.
Plus certain foods may contain greater quantities of enzymes, fibers, probiotics, and even specific medicinal substances, the later being especially true of many edible herbs and spices.
The Super Foods and The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.)
As we have become more aware of the amazing and broad spectrum of health, antiaging, and disease preventing benefits of foods especially high in this "new" array of such micronutrients, a new name for them has arisen, the "Super Foods".
The "S.A.D." fact remains, that in spite of all the support from mainstream medicine organizations like the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, and governmental health organizations like the National Institute of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the USDA, and even the U.S. Surgeon General, few of us eat the recommended minimum of two fruits and three vegetables daily. Even counting the "pale" plants like French fries, green-gassed bananas and ice burg lettuce, few achieve the daily minimum, much less. How many fewer of us enjoy the optimal 8 to 10 servings, and that emphasizing fresh and organic phytonutrient dense fruits and vegetables of deep and bright color!
The reasons for this lack are many and varied, and deeply ingrained in our American culture and lifestyle, though it can hardly any longer be accounted to ignorance. Wha...