As I say in Set Your Metabolism on Fire, you should not only eat vegetables, but you should eat a variety of veggies. Well, my friends, it’s not just me touting the benefits of vegetable variety.
A new study published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention shows that eating more types of vegetables, and fruits, significantly reduces the risk of cancer, especially among smokers. In fact, they found that for each new fruit or vegetable that one adds to their diet, the risk of cancer is reduced by an additional 4%!
Variety vs Amount of Veggies
This study is unique in that it closely looks at the benefits of not simply eating more vegetables (i.e. more volume), but eating a larger variety of vegetables. This really piqued my interest because…
I’ve had a theory for quite some time, and one that I have no doubt we’ll find to be true. Here’s the gist of my theory: fruits and vegetables have a variety of nutrients in them, many of which we’ve not yet discovered. Therefore, one can’t simply focus on supplementing with vitamins and minerals, or even on eating a couple types of vegetables. Even if you make sure to consume nutrients like the flavinoid, quercitin, it’s impossible to consume all (or even most) existing nutrients without eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods like fruits and veggies.
As someone who wants to live a long, healthy life and help you do the same, I find this study interesting. I think it really is a clue as to how we can start to conquer cancer.
Sure, we still need a cure for cancer – no doubt. But understanding how to prevent cancer is just as important. And I think this study brings us a step closer to understanding how to prevent the onset of cancer.
By eating a variety of natural, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, we are also consuming a synergistic blend of disease-fighting, health-promoting nutrients that can NOT be found elsewhere. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take supplements like a multivitamin/mineral, in fact you probably should. I’m just saying that we still need to eat ample amounts of natural food to have the best chance of consuming naturally occurring nutrients, whether known or unknown.
While it may seem odd to think that we haven’t uncovered (and synthesized) all the various beneficial nutrients in food, keep in mind that it was just over 50 years ago that Coenzyme Q10 was even discovered! And it wasn’t even begun to be understood until well after that. Lycopene is another nutrient who’s role was not understood at all until the 1980’s.
So I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think we have more nutrients left to discover and understand. Actually, I think it’d be naive to think otherwise. But I’m not going to wait on these discoveries.
I’m going to make a more conscious effort to consume a larger variety of fruits and vegetables and I hope you will too!
Yours in health,