Is it possible that in your future you could be replacing your monthly stop at the pharmacy for heart pills or diabetes medication with a stop at the produce stand instead?
I know it sounds a bit strange, but if things keep going like they are now this very well could be the case. Hardly a week goes by anymore that scientists don’t uncover yet one more potent healing power hidden in the flesh of our favorite fruits and vegetables.
And the latest reason to be stocking your refrigerator’s crisper drawer instead of your medicine cabinet is quite a doozy, with the potential to roll back the risks of a wide variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, arthritis, and Type-II diabetes.
Produce flavonoids slash disease-linked inflamamtion
Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences In Uppsala (try to say that a couple of times fast) used data from participants in the Nurses’ Health Study to uncover a link between a certain type of antioxidants called flavonoids and lower levels of inflammation.
This finding is significant because literally dozens… if not all… diseases are driven in some way by inflammation.
The Swedish researchers used a food-frequency questionnaire to hone in on how much of six different flavonoid subclasses the participants were taking in through their diets. Using blood samples from each of the volunteers, they then looked for markers in the blood that indicate that there is inflammation in the body, including IL-6, IL-18, C-reactive protein (CRP), and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1).
When the researchers compared the two data sets, they found that the women who had the highest intakes of flavones from parsley and thyme and flavanones from citrus fruits had 9 percent and 11 percent lower levels respectively of IL-18 as compared with women who had the lowest average intakes. In addition, the women who had the highest intake of flavonols from a variety of fruits and vegetables also had a 4 lower lower level of sVCAM-1.
So, in other words, eating the fruits and vegetables appears to have literally reduced the inflammation in the participants’ bodies, dropping their risks of acquiring a life-threatening or life-shortening disease right along with it.
Grapefruit lowers risk for diabetes, hypertension & heart disease
Oh, and if you suffer from diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, you might want to stock up on grapefruit in particular. When the researchers dug into the data a bit further, they found that those women who ate the most of the tart citrus fruit had the lowest levels of CRP—the inflammation marker that is associated with all three conditions.
But don’t forget that grapefruit can interact with certain medications. If you’re on a prescription drug, be sure to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet. And, again, remember to buy organic and local, because no one wants to eat pesticide-laced or jet-lagged ones.
Remember $5 worth of produce always beats $30 worth of pharmaceuticals.