Biggest study ever conducted on health value of vegetables

HealthValueOfVegetablesTracking the self-reported eating habits of more than 65,000 people over 12 years, researchers at University College London found that those who consumed about seven portions a day of  a few fresh fruits and lots of vegetables reduced their risk of death during the study period by 42 percent, according to The Washington Post.

Consuming that same amount dropped the specific risk of dying from cancer by 25 percent, and from heart disease by 31 percent.

“The size of the effect is staggering,” said researcher Oyinlola Oyebode. Even minimal consumption had a measurable impact:  Eating one to three daily portions cut the risk of death by 14 percent. Fresh vegetables provided the biggest benefit. However, consuming canned fruits actually increased the statistical cause of death, likely due to sugar and additives.

Another British study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism and reported in Time magazine concludes that some vegetables may help prevent or even cure aching, swollen joints. Stuffed with vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as potassium, zinc and fiber, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts contain a sulfurous compound called sulforaphane that has shown to slow the destruction of cartilage in joints.

Researchers found that mice given a diet high in sulfuraphane had less cartilage damage and fewer signs of osteoarthritis than mice on a sulfuraphane-free diet. Studies with cultured human cartilage cells added more evidence that sulfuraphane protects against damage by blocking enzymes that contribute to inflammation.

Researchers are now studying whether a diet high in cruciferous vegetable will improve outcomes for arthritis patients getting knee replacements. Even better would be halting arthritis before replacement parts were needed. “Prevention would be preferable, and changes to lifestyle, like diet, may be the only way to do that,.” said study author Ian Clark of the University of East Anglia.

It has long been known that sulfur compounds in cruciferous vegetable, which are called superfoods, help protect against cancer.

It’s encouraging to see the ‘food as medicine’ principle finally emerging in the mainstream. But it’s a shame that  our long detour down the road of quick-eat nutrition-empty fast and processed foods (Standard American Diet), and our quick-fix love affair with often dangerous Big Pharma drugs has led us to a strange place we never bargained for.

Fortunately, many people are beginning to realize that natural historical truths combined with modern knowledge is the wise way to go–for our health and the health of those who follow us.

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