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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A few notes on nutrition for my day off

I thought I'd take the time to talk a little about nutrition, seeing as I don't have any exciting workout to report. The question I'd like to address is, What defines a 'health food'? If you asked this of 20 different people you might well get 20 different answers, ranging from 'low calorie' to 'high fiber' to 'low carb' to 'low fat'. While all of these have some shade of truth in them, no one is a complete answer. The best definition of a health food I have come across is the equation for health used by Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live: Health = Nutrients/Calories. Another way of saying this is, a health food is a nutrient dense food. Nutrients can be considered vitamins, minerals, fiber, or beneficial phytochemicals (ie plant compounds such as antioxidants).

I love Dr. Fuhrman's deffinition for many reasons, the foremost being that it is backed up by a truckload of research. The most nutrient dense foods on the planet are vegetables, and studies upon studies show that eating more vegetables = less obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, autoimmune disease, and increased lifespan. All that, and not one study saying you can eat too many. Rather than citing a whole slew of research articles, I will list the links of my two favorite nutrition books, both of which offer this message and both of which list all the sources of their information:

Eat To Live
by Dr. Fuhrman, M.D.

The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Chair of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University

Check them out. I highly recommend both books if you are interested in improving your health. In the meantime, be sure to eat plenty of Beans & Greens!



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