Friday, January 11, 2008

One More Reason to Eat Your Veggies!

In 2007 a study called the European Prospective Investigation in Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Population Study reported some very interesting results. The study, which was based on information gathered from more than 22,000 men and women, was used to make conclusions about the impact that diet had on health. Many different research papers have been published since the data began to be analyzed, but one of my favorites was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. This analysis was performed to measure the effect of fruits and vegetables on health. It was found that men and women who increased their dietary fruit and vegetable intake by two portions per day had an 11% increase in functional health. An 11% increase in overall health might not sound much like much, but in reality it’s huge. If you felt sick 10% of the time that would equate to 36 days a year! A whole month! If you could get that month back simply by eating more vegetables wouldn’t you be willing to give it a a try?
If you want to find out how many daily fruit and vegetable servings are optimal for your age and level of activity check out this link:

Fruits and Veggies Matter

I personally think that the more fresh veggies and fruit you can get in the better, and having something at every meal should be a standard of the American diet. It’s pretty easy to incorporate these foods into your diet. Try blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or flax seed on your cereal in the morning- preferably not Fruity Pebbles or Captain Crunch.....

For lunch try a salad or slice up an avocado for your turkey sandwich. Carrot sticks, celery, dried fruits, or mixed nuts make a great finger-food to snack on throughout the day.

It’s easy to add a veggie to dinner just pick something you like and go with it. It is a good idea to try steaming or lightly sautéing your veggies instead of drowning them in butter or, worse yet, nuking them in the microwave. Try seasoning with something like Herbamare, a natural seasoning with no bad additives like MSG.
Another good tip it to try and eat lots of different colored fruits and vegetables, as the colors are often the made by different components such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioflavinoids.

If you find that you have a difficult time adding enough fruits and vegetables to your diet you might consider a “green drink.” Some people are unnecessarily put off just by the mention of a green drink. Yes, they may look a little funky, but I assure you that they taste much better than they look. My personal fav is Greens First. I like this product because it tastes great and it is sweetened with stevia. The next time you're in the office, ask your doctor for a free sample.

Should you buy organic? Good question. There are certainly some products which you should try to only eat if they are organic. A good up-to-date list of what to buy organic can be found at the Environmental Working Group’s website, make sure you scroll down the page to see the list. Another good site is Consumers Union Org. On their website there is great information regarding the safety of our foods, including antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified foods (GMO’s).

Also, don’t forget to support your local farmer’s market. There are several in the Phoenix area and they are generally a great place to buy fresh organic produce inexpensively. Not to mention that it’s kind of fun to go to the market and actually meet the people who are growing your food.

Lastly, here’s a tip on washing your produce: there’s no need to buy expensive vegetable wash. When you get home from the store simply fill up your sink with water, add one cup of hydrogen peroxide, then add your produce. Let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse and they’re ready to use. The hydrogen peroxide helps to remove any polishes, bugs, and pesticides. Best of all hydrogen peroxide costs about a buck at the dollar store. I wish I could take credit for this trick but I can’t. Jethro Kloss came up with this in his Back to Eden cookbook.

bon appetit,
Jake Psenka, ND

1 comment:

Mrs. L said...

So glad NFC is blogging. Just got the email sharing the news.

A thought, though - get your weblink on the top of your sidebar. If someone finds you and wants a closer look, not many will scroll down through old posts to find it.

Thank you for taking good care of us.