My last blog reveals the 7 choices of Long Life Eating. IF you didn’t get a chance to read it you can check it out here: 7 Choices of Long Life Eating.
Today I want to focus on Choice #1 -Make more than half of your diet beans, fruits, and vegetables.
Human beings evolved on a diet that was at least 70 percent these three ingredients – and your body really hasn’t altered its nutritional expectations much over the past million years.
That is actually how many of us ate – until a few decades ago, when breakthroughs in convenience morphed our diet towards processed “food products” packaged in boxes, cans, wrappers, and freezer containers. It is no coincidence that these dietary changes have been paralleled by a massive rise in diseases linked to food, from heart disease and diabetes.
A mountain of research shows that making produce and legumes the centerpiece of meals and snacks – as they once were – is a powerful health insurance policy. There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is that plant matter is packed with compounds called phytochemicals that disarm free radicals. These are rogue oxygen molecules, created naturally in the body and also ingested with toxins and pollutants, that damage cells and raise the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other health problems.
One Harvard School of Public Health study of 39,127 women found that those who ate more than 10 fruit and vegetable servings per day had a 38 percent lower risk of heart attack than those who had less than 3 servings. Men who ate 9 servings a day cut stroke risk 39 percent. Just 5 servings a day lowers diabetes risk by 39 percent. A similar eating strategy cut levels of “bad-guy” LDL cholesterol 33 percent in Just two weeks!
A more natural diet goes a long way toward protecting you from cancer as well. An extra helping of two of produce at each meal could cut your odds for stomach cancer by 21 percent, lung cancer by up to 32 percent (even higher if you include lots of broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.) Researchers aren’t sure whether produce can protect against breast cancer, though one analysis found that cruciferous vegetables like cabbage may help.
Want to slash your risk for everyday health problems like migraine headaches, colds and flu, and slow-healing wounds, as well as big medical problems like heart disease, cancer, and dimming vision? Skip the drugstore – and drive straight to your local farmer’s market instead.
Eating lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes -foods high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals – is the cornerstone of the diets of healthy, long-lived populations around the world.
A glass of Concord grape juice at breakfast, a big spinach-and-white-bean salad at lunch, and a fruit salad after dinner provide immediate gratification, too. In one Australian study of 453 women and men ages 70 and older, those who ate the most healthy foods had the fewest signs of wrinkles! Treating yourself to the hundreds of important disease-fighting compounds found only in plant foods boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and cuts your odds for everyday annoyances such as easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, yeast infections, hemorrhoids, gout, and attacks of asthma brought on by physical activity.
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I focus on the Long Life benefits of adding more beans to your diet. It really isn't as hard as you think and the benefits are huge!
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