Well, now, who would have expected it? Eating more produce and certain grains may help prevent the development of multiple chronic diseases.
This is the conclusion from a study involving 1,020 people soon to be published in the journal Clinical Nutrition. It is timely study. Fresh produce is exploding in our grocery stores and in our gardens – and soon, we will see the fascinating entries at the La Plata County Fair.
Whether we are discussing various cancers, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases or anemia, nutrition affects each disease and matters. The more processed our food is, the lower its nutritional value. The less processed our food is, the higher its nutritional value, which means we end up taking fewer pills to treat chronic disease.
Researchers for this study classified participants into six categories: healthy, healthy to single chronic disease, stable with single chronic disease, healthy with multi-morbidity, stable with multi-morbidity and increasing multi-morbidity. This was based on the development and progression of 11 chronic diseases across five years.
Researchers identified that the average daily intake of produce was significantly higher for people in the healthy group and those with one chronic disease compared with those with two or more diseases. The healthy group also ate nearly twice the amount of grain products (excluding wheat and rice).
Consumption of grain products also was associated with higher intake of dietary fibers, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. The grains included were oats, corn, rye, barley, quinoa, millet and sorghum.
The results of the study don’t surprise me. What amazes me is why we feel the need to continually prove “the obvious.” I smile when I get the “you-must-read” recommendations about books professing new “solutions.” The marketing of these new “solutions” shouldn’t override scientific substance.
The basic truths still hold. Our bodies need a variety of good quality nourishment the majority of the time. If a structure is sound, it can typically withstand an occasional assault.
So here is my new grabber, perhaps it will make me famous and wealthy: The 80:20 rule. If I can pick best choices 80 percent of the time, health is mine. Chances are pretty good that I will often exceed the 80 percent, but attention and human fallibility still come into play. Best choices will be defined based on reliable scientific research involving basic, real food. The 80:20 rule eliminates a lot of guilt and a few occasional unexpected choices. Take a moment to think about this.
Some basic principles of this “new” 80:20 rule diet are:
Choose food that is less expensive and involves less packaging.
This food has less chance of having added chemicals.
You will spend less time in the grocery store.
The risk of product recall is lower, presuming proper care and cooking.
You have less of a need for commercially produced over-the-counter supplements and thus less risk of overmedicating.
Your nutrient variety will increase.
Your satiety will increase.
What’s in your health basket?
email@example.com or 382-6461. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.