Searches on this topic tend to produce testimony on websites
of companies that want you to buy their product, using phrases
like "a recent study showed [insert claim here]". These studies
are seldom documented precisely, which makes them of little
value, even if they're true.
By weeding through the search results, however, it is possible
to locate more specific and authoritative citations.
An article on the Body Mind Spirit website by Margaret Nowotarski,
Ph.D., notes the following statistics:
"The statistics are alarming:
- One in three people will get cancer at some time in their life
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death
- Poor nutrition and physical inactivity together are the second
actual cause of preventable death in the United States
On the other hand new evidence shows that:
- Eating five or more fruits and vegetables per day cuts cancer
risk in half
- People who eat more fruits and vegetables have a 30% lower risk
of premature heart attack than people who eat a few
- About 25% fewer strokes are projected for adults who eat 8 or
more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Fruits and vegetables may help keep blood sugar down and control
More on the page:
The statistics above, and more, are borne out in the US
General Accounting Office's Report titled: 'FRUITS AND
VEGETABLES - Enhanced Federal Efforts to Increase
Consumption Could Yield Health Benefits for Americans'.
See Appendix IV on page 51 of 67:
The following article, by Allison Byrum of the American Chemical
Society, cites an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical
Society, the world's largest scientific society.
The article notes:
"Fruits and veggies grown organically show significantly higher
levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally
grown foods, according to a new study of corn, strawberries and
marionberries. The research suggests that pesticides and
herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics <
chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen
to be good for our health. Fertilizers, however, seem to boost
the levels of anti-cancer compounds."
"Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant
activity. Many are produced in plants in response to environmental
stressors, such as insects or competing plants."
"If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics
to defend itself," says Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., a food scientist
at the University of California, Davis, and lead author of the
paper. "Bitter or harsh phenolics guard the plant against these
More on the page at OrganicConsumers.com:
A page from Bob's Red Mill grain company also cites some
very specific and authoritative resources on the superiority
of whole grains and whole foods in general:
A link to an article on WebMD about foods for better
concentration, by Dulce Zamora and reviewed By Brunilda
Nazario, MD, which discusses the value of whole foods such
as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains vs the quick fixes
we find in caffeine and sugar. The article cites several
A link to an article by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, on
WebMD.com, about TransFats (hydrogenated vegetable oils)
contained in processed foods, and absent in whole grains:
A link to an article by a Mayo Clinic staffwriter on the
benefits of whole grains, which notes:
"Whole grains haven't had their bran removed by milling,
making them better sources of fiber ? the part of
plant-based foods that your body doesn't digest. A diet
high in fiber can help prevent constipation and can also
help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Whole grains are also important sources of vitamins and
minerals, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate,
selenium, zinc and iron."
A link to another article on WebMD, by Jennifer Warner
and reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD, which cites a study
published in the February issue of the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition. The article summarizes the study:
"A new study shows men who eat about one serving per day of
whole-grain cereal are as much as 20% less likely to die
from heart disease or other causes than men who rarely eat
whole-grain cereals, such as wheat or bran flakes or oatmeal."
Much more on the page:
A link to an article on the Health A to Z website, by Jill
Max, which cites a study at Tufts University about the
phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as flavanoids which
can be found in oats, in addition to the soluble fiber they
contain. These make oats useful in maintaining cardiac
health through the prevention of plaque:
There are links to other articles on the Red Mill page, as well:
A very comprehensive overview of the value of whole foods is
authored by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., CHES on this page of her
"When we consume foods that are missing certain of their
original ingredients, wouldn?t our bodies know that? Wouldn?t
they respond in some unexpected manner to this deficiency?
For a long time, society ignored this question, even though
studies had shown conclusively that various fragmented foods
contributed to disease -- e.g., polished rice caused beri-beri,
and plain cornmeal brought on pellagra, both B-vitamin
"But recently, there have been some studies that show more
clearly that the body can distinguish between whole and
fragmented foods, between whole foods and nutrients taken
in the form of supplements -- and that whole foods have
better health benefits than the individual nutrients."
"For example, whole foods are more likely to protect against
disease than their individual nutrients. According to Nan
Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D., in the September ?98 Women?s
HealthLetter, whole grains give better protection against
chronic diseases than any of their component nutrients
used as supplements."
Much more on the page:
And, finally, an article on Psychology Today online, by
Julie Weingarden-Dubin, cites such major authorities as
Dean Ornish, M.D. and Andrew Weil, M.D., titled 'Food Rx:
The Natural Way to Total Health'. The article details the
benefits of a large variety of specific foods on the
following areas of health:
Memory (and aging)
The article is here:
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A user's guide on this topic is on skermit-ga's site, here:
Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.
Searches done, via Google:
"health benefits" "organic OR whole OR natural OR unprocessed foods"
statistics "health benefits" "organic OR whole OR natural OR unprocessed foods"