Consume a greater variety of vegetables.

Consume a greater variety of vegetables.

While it is common to find scientific research on how certain vitamins and minerals supplements can improve health, this is not the case when it comes to the real McCoy (whole food supplement).

How accurate is this? Inquire within yourself, or do an advanced search of scientific publications on the internet (such as PUB Med or any other advanced search of scientific articles), about how many times you find a study on a certain fruit or vegetable that comes out establishing some health benefit. It is not a set of fruits or vegetables, but a specific fruit or vegetable. Furthermore, evidence of good health rather than sickness (this is an important distinction)

In this case, we are not talking about made-up research by some scientist or health freak, but rather actual science. And we're talking about actual fruits and veggies, such as a specific apple or broccoli, rather than a collection of fruits and vegetables as a category. So, we're discussing something very specific and not at all abstract—and here is where actual scientific study comes in extremely handy: such research is neither abstract nor non-scientific, which is the difference between them. In addition, if I can show something and you cannot, it is not scientifically demonstrable. Period.

How many are there? Which veggie are we talking about? What kind of fruit?

Many organizations, including Harvard, Tufts, and Eat 5 a Day, advocate for eating fresh fruits and vegetables (for a really good google search, try vegetables and health or fruits and health).

For example, the Harvard website provides the most recent dietary recommendations, which state that "fruits and vegetables should be consumed in quantities ranging from five to thirteen servings per day, depending on calorie consumption." In order to maintain weight and health in a person who consumes 2,000 calories per day, this equates to nine servings, or 41.22 cups, of fruit each day. " The USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture, is cited in this instance. It is a useful abstraction, but it is not a specific guide to certain fruits and vegetables and how they might benefit your overall health and well-being.

However, the majority of what these respected schools advocate is a load of hot air. On the Harvard website, for example, there were no scientific studies confirming the health benefits of a single fruit or vegetable, not one. It's true, it's pleasant air, but it's still just air.

We're not talking about legitimate research on fruits and vegetables, such as the one listed in Pub Med, "Electron beam and gamma irradiation effectively reduce Listeria monocytogenes populations on chopped romaine lettuce," (J Food Prot. 2006 Mar;69(3):570-4, for those who need to know). We're talking about phony research on fruits and vegetables, such as the one listed in Pub Med, "Electron Beam and Gamma Radiation." This kind of research is not interested in the health-promoting advantages of eating romaine lettuce, which is the subject of this particular study. And it makes no attempt to pass itself off as anything other than what it is.

Of course, websites advertising the health advantages of eating fruits and vegetables may be concealing the results of scientific research because they do not want to burden their visitors with all of the numbers and scientific names for turnips and plums, among other things. Alternatively, farmers that raise very fine produce will also provide information about how to get their produce.

In the South Pacific, I recall reading about research involving folate and green leafy vegetables, as well as some children on an island in the region. The project, which was a legitimate scientific investigation, had to be stopped when the scientists discovered that the youngsters in the trial were unable to get sufficient folate for their diets from the fresh veggies since the plants themselves were lacking in folate. Because depriving the children's diet of this necessary nutrient may be harmful to them morally, the research was terminated—especially since the science had shown that they would be lacking in a natural diet—because of this. It seems as if the health-promoting properties of this whole set of veggies have been disproved—and I have not come across another research that would contradict this one isolated, specific, controlled scientific study on green leafy vegetables and how they enhance health in people.

So, how can you determine if the fruits and veggies you consume are really beneficial to your health? The short answer is that you don't. On the other hand, what would happen if you stopped eating fruits and veggies altogether? It might be all of the illnesses that are written about in Pub Med and quoted by the Tufts nutritionists, and it could become the cover story for Time Magazine about our fat nation: eat your fruits and vegetables and remain healthy, or until we know for certain that something else is happening.

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