Wellness Survey Update: Process Matters…

This post is a week late and for that I apologize but I have learned a lot in that period and in time will share.  For todays post,  the bottom line…

How you process your food matters… better to eat RAW (e.g. vegetable/fruit smoothies / green vegetable juices) or BOILED food (e.g. stews).

Looking further into the survey and green vegetables (which suggested that the more days you ate green, the fewer number of chronic conditions you had) I was unable to note any statistical relationship between the number of days that one consumes green vegetables and any of the specific chronic diseases that were surveyed.  This surprised me.  I have been thinking about why this may be the case, especially in light of the work and outcomes of Dr. Joel Fuhrman (YouTube him), who talks much about the importance of nutrient density. He makes the claim that the more nutrient dense your diet, the less disease you will have (including obesity).  He also notes that the green leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods that we can eat.  I really believe this and have seen some remarkable results from people who juice a lot of greens regularly (weight loss, drop in blood pressure etc).  So again, the results of the survey surprised me.  Possible explanations;

1) there is no relationship (doubt this is the reason),

2) the survey does not quantify how many greens you eat, and even if eaten every day the amount may be over shadowed by the amount of meat, grains, sugar and other nutrient poor foods that we eat, or

3) the way that we process our foods may alter the food in a manner that the nutrients in them are less effective.

I think the real answer is in the last two, and especially the last one, how we process our food.  I have been able to identify studies that demonstrate that when you cook food it can have a negative impact on food quality, with some nutrients declining by 70% depending on the methods (boiling, baking, frying, micro-waving)  In many cases boiling appears less damaging, and microwaving the most damaging.  So we can take a plate of food, pop it in the microwave, and get rid of 70% or more of some nutrients, lessening its health impact.  Further if greens are combined with foods that are less nutrient dense (like oils and sugar, especially in salads), the negative effects of these less nutrient dense foods may further limit the benefits of the weakened greens.

Then what to do?  There are three strategies to consider 1) make veggie/fruit smoothies; this allows you to eat your greens raw and you won’t be mixing them with the oils typically found in a salad dressing, 2) juice your greens; again you are eating raw, in greater amounts without the added oils 3) add a lot of greens to your stew; this will cook your vegetables at a lower temperature and destroy less of certain nutrients.  The goal of these strategies is to get more nutrients per calorie in your meals.  You can learn more about this by reviewing many of the YouTube presentations by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, or reading his book “Eat To Live”.  I would also suggest that you have a look at the movie “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix.  Let me know what you think :) Hope this is helpful.  See you next week.

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