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Dr. Weil’s Summer Garden

Take a tour of Dr. Weil's summer garden in British Columbia. Filled with fruits, vegetables and flowers, there is always a bountiful supply of food for body and soul. (Part one of three).

10 Vegetables You Should Have in Your Kitchen, Part 1

Vegetables are a natural source of healthful nutrients that can help keep your body running optimally. In this two-part series, find out what vegetables I suggests you have in your kitchen.

Vegetables (and fruits) are the foundation of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, and for good reason - fresh produce is the best source of natural nutrients that can help keep your entire body running smoothly. I recommend every healthy kitchen have the following versatile and flavorful favorites on hand:

 

  1. Onions: This classic, pungent vegetable adds depth and richness to any meal. Sulfur compounds found in most varieties of onions may be responsible for its health benefits, including the possible lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
  2. Garlic: This fragrant bulb contains many of the same phytonutrients as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral compounds. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal infections.
  3. Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.
  4. Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
  5. Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts.

 

Don't miss my nex blog post for the other five of the 10 Veggies You Should Be Eating.

Why Men Should Eat More Veggies

Attention men: Need another reason to eat your vegetables? Find out what vegetables can do for your prostate – and ways to get more veggies into your diet!

Research indicates that men who eat plenty of soluble fiber have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Heart-healthy fiber can be found in fresh produce, steel cut or rolled oats and beans, but fiber from vegetables was shown to be the most beneficial for prostate health.

How to achieve this feat? Be adventurous! Replace meat with beans and hearty root vegetables in soup and casserole recipes; make a vegetable-based casserole the main dish at dinner; order a veggie pizza instead of a meat version; and include a fresh, organic vegetable salad with lunch and dinner. All taste good…and are good for you.

 

Farm Vegetable Salad (Video)

This salad is best seen as a canvas upon which to paint the best of the season's bounty. Chef Michael Stebner of True Food Kitchen restaurant uses heirloom tomatoes, carrots and beets in his rendition of this healthy appetizer - but the possibilities are endless.

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How Vegetables Can Save Your Life

Eating more vegetables – and fruit – can literally lengthen your lifeEating more vegetables – and fruit – can literally lengthen your life, according to an ongoing study from Europe. Researchers from 10 countries have been following more than 450,000 people for over 13 years, during which time about 26,000 of the study participants have died. An analysis of the data shows that eating about 2.4 cups of vegetables or more daily reduced the risk of death by 10 percent and delayed that risk for 1.12 years compared to the risks of people who consumed less than nine ounces (about one cup) of vegetables and fruit daily. The researchers also reported that for every increase of about one cup in daily vegetable and fruit consumption, the mortality risk drops by six percent, and calculated that if everyone were eating the recommended 2.4 cups of vegetables and fruits daily, the mortality risk could drop by about three percent. Most of the deaths seen in the study were from cardiovascular disease. The highest (between 30 and 40 percent) reduction in the risk of death associated with fruit and vegetable consumption was observed among study participants who also drank alcohol, and a 20 percent risk reduction linked to eating fruits and vegetables was also seen for obese people. Eating a lot of raw vegetables had a big impact, too – high consumption was linked to a 16 percent reduction in the risk of death.

My take? This study’s findings are impressive, especially since the amount of fruits and vegetables that made a difference was relatively low – 2.4 cups a day is not that much. We know from earlier studies that individuals who consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily have a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease or stroke than do those who eat fewer than 1.5 servings per day. Similarly, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Earlier results from this same European study published in 2010 showed no risk reduction for cancer deaths, but the research team didn't look at the effects of specific nutrients on cancer risk. As far as that is concerned, I believe you can benefit from regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, which contain a cancer-preventing compound so potent that it is being investigated as a chemotherapy agent. I also continue to recommend eating berries and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables for their protective phytonutrients and antioxidants. My anti-inflammatory diet calls for four to five servings of vegetables (cooked or raw) and three to four servings of fruit daily.

Source:
Marie-Jose Sánchez-Perez et al, “Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality: European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition,” American Journal of Epidemiology August 15, 2013 doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt006. Epub 2013 Apr 18

Surprising Veggie Storage Strategy

Taking veggies out of your refrigerator and exposing them to light for 12 hours a day helps boost their anti-cancer effectsIf you want to get a little more nutritional bang for your buck from vegetables, don’t let them languish in the dark. A new study from Rice University suggests that taking veggies out of your refrigerator and exposing them to light for 12 hours a day helps boost their anti-cancer effects and that eating them four and eight hours later gives you the benefit of those effects.