One study focused on almost 9,000 breast cancer survivors and asked the women about their diet every four years after their diagnosis. Over the follow-up period, averaging 11.5 years, women who ate more fruits and vegetables and women who ate more vegetables had a lower risk of dying from any cause than did women with lower intakes of these foods. Women with the highest intakes of vegetables and fruits averaged 7.4 servings per day; those with the lowest intake averaged 2.2 servings per day.
Farvid MS, Holmes MD, Chen WY, et al. Postdiagnostic fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer survival: prospective analyses in the Nurses’ Health Studies. Cancer Res. 2020;80(22):5134-5143.
Total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a reduced risk of frailty with those averaging seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily having a lower risk than those averaging fewer than three servings a day. Leafy green vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables, and apples and pears were specific fruits and vegetables associated with a lower risk.
Fung TT, Struijk EA, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Willett WC, Lopez-Garcia E. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of frailty in women 60 years old or older. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 [published online ahead of print].
The quotes above are just two of the studies profiled in the Vegetarian Journal’s most recent scientific update. Unfortunately the citations are not links to the original studies. Here is the link to the full Vegetarian Journal Scientific Update:
Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. The team’s findings show that these super foods may also help guard against cancer. Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than white button, cremini and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer. According to the findings, individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not eat mushrooms.
Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — in particular, three vegetables and two fruits — provide the greatest mortality benefit, according to an observational study and meta-analysis in Circulation.
Researchers analyzed results from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over 100,000 people regularly completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed for up to 30 years. During that time, nearly a third of participants died.
After multivariable adjustment, the greatest mortality benefit was seen for five servings of produce a day, compared with two servings (hazard ratio, 0.88). Eating more than five servings a day was not associated with greater risk reductions.
2. Consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens and dark orange vegetables plus good sources of vitamin C like peppers, citrus fruit, and strawberries.
3. Get most of your fat from healthy sources, like nuts and nut butters, avocados, seeds, and moderate amounts of oils. Be sure to eat a good source of the essential omega-3 fat ALA found in flaxseed, hempseed, canola oil, and walnuts.
4. Eat three cups of calcium-rich foods every day including fortified plant milks, fortified juices, tofu made with calcium sulfate, and cooked kale, collards, bok choy, or turnip greens (double the amount of greens if you eat raw greens instead of cooked).
5. Don’t shun supplements. All vegans need vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods. Most also need a supplement of vitamin D, at least during the winter months. You may wish to consider vegan DHA and EPA supplements. If you don’t regularly use iodized salt, it’s prudent to take an iodine supplement. Vegan.com maintains a supplements page that provides current and helpful information for all these nutrients.
The PREDICT 1 (Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial 1) analyzed detailed data on the composition of participants’ gut microbiomes, their dietary habits, and cardiometabolic blood biomarkers. It uncovered strong links between a person’s diet, the microbes in their gut (microbiome) and their health.
Researchers identified microbes that positively or negatively correlate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ with an individual’s risk of certain serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Surprisingly, the microbiome has a greater association to these markers than other factors, such as genetics. Some of the identified microbes are so novel that they have not yet been named.
Researchers began studying close to 50,000 women in 1984 when their average age was 48 years old. They collected information about the women’s diets over the next 22 years. The women’s cognitive function was assessed at 28 or 30 years after the start of the study. At that point, 41% had good cognitive function, 47% had moderate function, and 12% had poor function. Women who had the highest long-term intake of total carotenoids were 33% less likely to have poor cognitive function and 14% less likely to have moderate cognitive function than those who had the lowest intake. The same results occurred when the researchers examined individual carotenoids.
The researchers found that people who ate avocado every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health. They also had greater microbial diversity compared to people who did not receive the avocado meals in the study.
Sharon V Thompson, Melisa A Bailey, Andrew M Taylor, Jennifer L Kaczmarek, Annemarie R Mysonhimer, Caitlyn G Edwards, Ginger E Reeser, Nicholas A Burd, Naiman A Khan, Hannah D Holscher. Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa219
Funding for the research was provided by the Hass Avocado Board and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The researchers found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit.
Previous research has found that poor diet contributes to nearly half of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the U.S., with a lack of fruit being a major factor. According to the researchers, fruits provide an abundance of nutrients, including fiber, potassium and several heart-healthy bioactives.
Valerie K. Sullivan, Muzi Na, David N. Proctor, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Kristina S. Petersen. Consumption of Dried Fruits Is Associated with Greater Intakes of Underconsumed Nutrients, Higher Total Energy Intakes, and Better Diet Quality in US Adults: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2016.. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.08.085