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|All Health and Nutrition Bites|
More Fruit, Less Junk
There's a lot of concern about childhood obesity, and justifiably so: over 1 in 3 children (including adolescents) are at least overweight, if not obese. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as of 2008, 20% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese, while 18% of kids 12-19 are obese.
Fruits, Vegetables and Your Brain
We know from recent studies that following a Mediterranean-style diet reduces your risk of Alzheimer's and can also slow the normal decline in cognition as one ages. I've written about how drinking juice, a good source of polyphenols, can also help you reduce your risk of Alzheimer's, and I've also reported on how eating fish can also help you avoid mental decline.
Getting the balance right
We've seen in previous studies that eating red meat has been linked to breast cancer in women (News Bite 11/15/06) as well as colon or rectal cancer (Dr. Tim Says... 01/09/06). Researchers at the University of North Carolina noted these results as well as those studies that link eating more fruits and vegetables with a reduced risk of these cancers (such as the News Bite from 05/23/06). Similarly, some dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean Diet, appear to protect against colon and rectal cancers.
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I've written on many occasions about the positive effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on such conditions as oral cancer (News Bite 05/17/06) and gallbladder disease (09/12/06), as well as contributing disease factors like inflammatory markers (06/14/06) and DNA oxidation (08/01/06). A recent French meta-analysis of the results of several prospective studies has specifically examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (J Nutr 2006;136:2588-2593).
The studies the scientists at University of Paris analyzed included nine cohorts, seven from the United States and two from Finland, with sample sizes ranging from 501 to over 75,000: a total of 91,379 men and 129,701 women. Each study assessed fruit and vegetable intake separately and included the number of servings eaten per day as part of the analysis.
The results are straightforward: each additional serving of fruit and vegetables per day reduces your risk of CHD by 4%. (An additional serving of fruit reduces your risk by 7%.) The researchers warn that the data does not support a direct relationship between fruit and vegetable intake alone and a reduced risk of CHD, but rather note that increased fruit and vegetable consumption is likely part of a healthier lifestyle that includes more exercise, less saturated fat intake, and not smoking.
Fruits and vegetables are delicious both raw and cooked and are clearly linked to a healthier, longer life. Try a new recipe as part of increasing your intake:
First posted: October 20, 2006