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Q: Benefits of Healthy Foods ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Benefits of Healthy Foods
Category: Health
Asked by: michael17-ga
List Price: $36.00
Posted: 29 Jun 2004 11:24 PDT
Expires: 29 Jul 2004 11:24 PDT
Question ID: 367770
I would simply like some factual information and statistics about how
a dietary intake of organic/whole/natural/unprocessed foods causes
positive health benefits (i.e. prevents obesity, prevents cancer,
increases length and quality of life, improves learning/thinking
ability [this one is especially important], etc.) I'd prefer highly
reputable sources - like the American Heart Association, Harvard
Medical School, etc. -, but some moderately reputable sources - like a
credible but not-so-famous nutritionist Phd. - would be acceptable. 
And to clarify, I do not want long-winded clinical studies, but rather
I want concise summaries (ranging from a paragraph to several pages),
eloquent overviews or even bulleted stats. My eventual target audience
is laymen so I don't need dense medical terminology, I merely need
short, sweet, convincing facts. [note: the above 4 words divided by
slashes are essentially synonomous for my purposes]. And to whoever is
reading this: thank you very much for your time.
Subject: Re: Benefits of Healthy Foods
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 29 Jun 2004 15:16 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

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

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
top researchers:

A link to an article by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, on, 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:

Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that  
the answer cannot be improved upon by way of a dialog  
established through the "Request for Clarification" process. 
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"
michael17-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
the response answers my question thoroughly and accurately

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