Nine Servings a Day Minimum

Nine Servings a Day Minimum
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In trying to reach your nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which ones don’t count?

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Let me make one thing clear, though. Even if all you have to eat are the single most pesticide-contaminated plant foods—peaches, apples, peppers—the benefits of these fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk, even if you can’t find organic options. So while organic is absolutely better, we should never avoid buying fruits and vegetables out of fears of pesticide exposure. Remember the greens study? Three leaves of spinach! The benefits of even pesticide-laden conventional produce blow away the risks. But if you have a choice and the means, certainly buy organic.

Plants are storehouses of thousands of special phytonutrients. What is in plant foods that’s so good for us? Is it the vitamin C, the vitamin E, the fiber, the folate, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, the antioxidants, beta carotene, potassium, lycopene, luteine? Does it really matter? Well, it matters to the drug manufacturers, right?  They can’t patent a carrot and make a million dollars off of it—although I’m sure they’re trying! Drug companies have done all these studies where they said, look, we know fruits and vegetables prevent cancer; I bet it’s that beta carotene stuff.

So they gave people beta carotene supplements to see if that prevented cancer. Didn’t work. There are more than 500 different carotinoids. More than 500 carotenes, from alpha-carotene through zeta-carotene and beyond, and they just gave people beta and expected it to work? So, they tried vitamin E supplements. Didn’t work. Vitamin C supplements. Didn’t work. They just can’t find the right mixture. Luteine, this great antioxidant in leafy greens, has recently been added to Centrum’s one-a-day multivitamin. If you look on the back here, it says each pill has 250 micrograms of luteine. Well, this single leaf of collard greens has more than 10,000. Popeye was right! Eat your greens!

So instead of trying to synthesize a pill to prevent cancer, we’ve known all along that whole fruits and veggies prevent cancer naturally. So why don’t doctors prescribe that? They’re cheap. Doctors should be whipping out their prescription pads, and writing prescriptions for broccoli: one cup a day, unlimited refills. Side effects include: a lower risk of mouth cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer, lung, breast, stomach, colon, kidney, bladder, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancer as well. Oh, and you might get a little piece of green stuck in your teeth. All embarrassing.

The same diet that prevents stroke and cancer also prevents heart disease and diverticulosis, and protects against emphysema, dementia, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Imagine if the “kale lobby” had McDonald’s $100 million advertising budget. So, try to put veggies on everything. The more the better. No longer should we ever have spaghetti with marinara sauce. We should have spaghetti with marinara sauce with lots of veggies on top. Right? No longer just a bean burrito, but a bean burrito with lots of veggies stuffed in it. Vegetables should ideally be the centerpiece of our meals.

The official federal recommendation for the minimum number of servings of fruits and veggies is now up to nine a day. Minimum! And iceberg lettuce doesn’t count towards that total. And neither do fruit juice, Fruit Loops, ketchup, or white potatoes.

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.

Let me make one thing clear, though. Even if all you have to eat are the single most pesticide-contaminated plant foods—peaches, apples, peppers—the benefits of these fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk, even if you can’t find organic options. So while organic is absolutely better, we should never avoid buying fruits and vegetables out of fears of pesticide exposure. Remember the greens study? Three leaves of spinach! The benefits of even pesticide-laden conventional produce blow away the risks. But if you have a choice and the means, certainly buy organic.

Plants are storehouses of thousands of special phytonutrients. What is in plant foods that’s so good for us? Is it the vitamin C, the vitamin E, the fiber, the folate, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, the antioxidants, beta carotene, potassium, lycopene, luteine? Does it really matter? Well, it matters to the drug manufacturers, right?  They can’t patent a carrot and make a million dollars off of it—although I’m sure they’re trying! Drug companies have done all these studies where they said, look, we know fruits and vegetables prevent cancer; I bet it’s that beta carotene stuff.

So they gave people beta carotene supplements to see if that prevented cancer. Didn’t work. There are more than 500 different carotinoids. More than 500 carotenes, from alpha-carotene through zeta-carotene and beyond, and they just gave people beta and expected it to work? So, they tried vitamin E supplements. Didn’t work. Vitamin C supplements. Didn’t work. They just can’t find the right mixture. Luteine, this great antioxidant in leafy greens, has recently been added to Centrum’s one-a-day multivitamin. If you look on the back here, it says each pill has 250 micrograms of luteine. Well, this single leaf of collard greens has more than 10,000. Popeye was right! Eat your greens!

So instead of trying to synthesize a pill to prevent cancer, we’ve known all along that whole fruits and veggies prevent cancer naturally. So why don’t doctors prescribe that? They’re cheap. Doctors should be whipping out their prescription pads, and writing prescriptions for broccoli: one cup a day, unlimited refills. Side effects include: a lower risk of mouth cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer, lung, breast, stomach, colon, kidney, bladder, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancer as well. Oh, and you might get a little piece of green stuck in your teeth. All embarrassing.

The same diet that prevents stroke and cancer also prevents heart disease and diverticulosis, and protects against emphysema, dementia, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Imagine if the “kale lobby” had McDonald’s $100 million advertising budget. So, try to put veggies on everything. The more the better. No longer should we ever have spaghetti with marinara sauce. We should have spaghetti with marinara sauce with lots of veggies on top. Right? No longer just a bean burrito, but a bean burrito with lots of veggies stuffed in it. Vegetables should ideally be the centerpiece of our meals.

The official federal recommendation for the minimum number of servings of fruits and veggies is now up to nine a day. Minimum! And iceberg lettuce doesn’t count towards that total. And neither do fruit juice, Fruit Loops, ketchup, or white potatoes.

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.

Doctor's Note

For more on the efficacy of supplements versus whole foods:

And more on the carotenoid family of phytonutrients:

Learn more about lutein:

And check out the prequel: Can pesticides be rinsed off?

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Vitamin B12: how much, how often?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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