The variety of fruit and vegetable consumption may decrease disease risk, independent of quantity.
One of the reasons some studies haven’t shown more impressive results tying disease reduction to the quantity of fruit and vegetable consumption, may be because of quality of fruit and vegetable consumption. People are more likely to eat bananas than blueberries; cucumbers instead of kale. Variety is also important though. If you eat a whole cantaloupe you would be recorded getting 8 servings of fruits or vegetables. One head of iceburg lettuce makes like 10 cups.
We know that whole foods are better than eating individual nutrients, for example a carrot is better than a beta carotene pill, because of what’s been called nutrient synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as many of the nutrients interact, work together, and complement one another. But what synergy between foods?
Check this out. I've talked about the wonders of the spice turmeric, but the key component has very poor bioavailability. Just a tiny bit gets into your bloodstream after eating a nice curry—unless, you add some black pepper. The phytonutrient in black pepper boosts the levels of the turmeric phyonutrient 2000%! That's why dietary diversity is so important.
Not only may the variety of fruit and vegetable consumption decrease disease risk independent from quantity of consumption, sometimes variety may be even more important. Check this out, no difference in inflammation—C-reactive protein levels—between those eating 6 servings of vegetables a day and those eating 2 servings, but those eating the more variety—even if they didn’t necessariliy eat greater overall quantities—had significantly less inflammation
This supports the American Heart Association’s latest dietary guidelines, which, for the first time, added a recommendation for also eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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Make sure to watch the "prequel" to this video, yesterday's video. SeeEPIC Study for an example of one of the studies that didn't show results as impressive as expected. For more on the anti-inflammatory nature of plant foods, see Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants and Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods. For more on black pepper, see Is Black Pepper Bad For You?, and for more on turmeric, see Oxalates in Cinnamon. There are 13 other videos on spices and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects, so please check them out.
Also, be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Fighting Inflammation with Food Synergy, The Most Anti-Inflammatory Mushroom, How to Enhance Mineral Absorption, Kiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Antioxidants in a Pinch: Dried Herbs and Spices, Lead Poisoning Risk From Venison, Cinnamon for Diabetes, Anti-Cancer Nutrient Synergy in Cranberries, and Mushrooms and Immunity