Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation

Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation
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The variety of fruit and vegetable consumption may decrease disease risk, independent of quantity.

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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 the quality of fruit and vegetable consumption. People are more likely to eat bananas than blueberries; more likely to eat cucumbers instead of kale. Variety is also important, though. If in one of these studies, you ate a whole cantaloupe, you would be recorded getting eight servings of fruits or vegetables. One head of iceberg lettuce makes ten 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 called nutrient synergy—where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as many of the nutrients interact, work together, complement one another. But what about synergy between foods?

Check this out. I’ve talked about the wonders of the spice turmeric, but the key component of turmeric has very poor bioavailability. Just a tiny bit gets into our bloodstream after eating a nice curry—unless we add some black pepper. The phytonutrient in black pepper boosts the level of the turmeric phytonutrient 2,000%! 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 even be more important. Check this out. No difference in inflammation—C-reactive protein levels—between those eating six servings of vegetables a day, and those eating two servings. But those eating the more variety—even if they didn’t necessarily 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rick Harris and Vladimir Morozov via Flickr, and Josiedraus via Wikimedia Commons.

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 the quality of fruit and vegetable consumption. People are more likely to eat bananas than blueberries; more likely to eat cucumbers instead of kale. Variety is also important, though. If in one of these studies, you ate a whole cantaloupe, you would be recorded getting eight servings of fruits or vegetables. One head of iceberg lettuce makes ten 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 called nutrient synergy—where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as many of the nutrients interact, work together, complement one another. But what about synergy between foods?

Check this out. I’ve talked about the wonders of the spice turmeric, but the key component of turmeric has very poor bioavailability. Just a tiny bit gets into our bloodstream after eating a nice curry—unless we add some black pepper. The phytonutrient in black pepper boosts the level of the turmeric phytonutrient 2,000%! 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 even be more important. Check this out. No difference in inflammation—C-reactive protein levels—between those eating six servings of vegetables a day, and those eating two servings. But those eating the more variety—even if they didn’t necessarily 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rick Harris and Vladimir Morozov via Flickr, and Josiedraus via Wikimedia Commons.

Doctor's Note

Make sure to watch the prequel to this video: Apples and Oranges: Dietary Diversity. See EPIC 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. Also check out my other videos on spices.

And be sure to check out my associated blog posts:  Fighting Inflammation With Food SynergyThe Most Anti-Inflammatory MushroomHow to Enhance Mineral AbsorptionKiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel SyndromeAntioxidants in a Pinch: Dried Herbs and SpicesLead Poisoning Risk From VenisonCinnamon for DiabetesAnti-Cancer Nutrient Synergy in Cranberries; and Mushrooms and Immunity.

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