A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss. Their low glycemic loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.
At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, each with potentially hundreds of different plant compounds that are beneficial to health. Eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. This not only ensures a greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals but also creates eye-appealing meals.
Vegetables, fruits, and disease
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. Unlike case-control studies, cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don’t rely on information from the past. And, in general, data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer.
Some research looks specifically at whether individual fruits are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. While there isn’t an abundance of research into this area yet, preliminary results are compelling.
Data from the Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study show that women and men who increased their intakes of fruits and vegetables over a 24-year period were more likely to have lost weight than those who ate the same amount or those who decreased their intake. Berries, apples, pears, soy, and cauliflower were associated with weight loss while starchier vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas were linked with weight gain.  However, keep in mind that adding more produce into the diet won’t necessarily help with weight loss unless it replaces another food, such as refined carbohydrates of white bread and crackers.
Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. This can calm symptoms of an irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation.  The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and may help prevent diverticulosis.
Eating fruits and vegetables can also keep your eyes healthy, and may help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataracts and macular degeneration—which afflict millions of Americans over age 65. [20-23] Lutein and zeaxanthin, in particular, seem protective against cataracts.
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Photo: Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash
by Robert H Shmerling, MD (Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing 09/2017)
What a difference a few years can make. Not long ago, I was learning about the dangers of coffee — how it could raise your blood pressure, make your heart race, impair sleep, and maybe even cause cancer.
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is taking coffee off the possible carcinogen list. And there’s increasing evidence that coffee might actually be good for you. So good that doctors might begin recommending it.
What’s changed? It’s all about the evidence.
Possible health benefits of coffeeOver the last several decades, coffee has been among the most heavily studied dietary components. And the news is mostly good. Moderate coffee consumption (three to four cups per day) has been linked with longer lifespan. In fact, a November 2015 study in Circulation found that coffee consumption was associated with an 8% to 15% reduction in the risk of death (with larger reductions among those with higher coffee consumption). Other studies have found that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of
Possible health risks of coffeeA number of studies have linked coffee consumption to health problems, including:
And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee(commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…” And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.
Should you drink coffee?Considering all of this good news about coffee consumption, you might feel tempted to increase your intake or to start drinking it if you don’t already.
Here’s my take:
Credit to Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-latest-scoop-on-the-health-benefits-of-coffee-2017092512429