By: Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.
Let me make one thing clear though, even if all you have to eat are the single most pesticide contaminated plant foods: the 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 green 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 is so good for us? Is it the vitamin C, the vitamin E, the fiber, the folate, flavinoids, 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 are 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 more than 500 different carotinoids. More than 500 different 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 micro-grams 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 know 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, 1 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, endemetrial 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 diverticulitis 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 center piece 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 does fruit juice, fruit loops, ketchup or white potatoes.
About Michael Greger M.D.: Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.
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