People Eat Food – Not Nutrients!

November 5, 2009 in Blog Recipes, Diabetic Menu Item, Foodland Chronicles, Mediterranean, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

I just wanted to explain a little bit more about why the focus of the Dr. Grandma’s blog and newsletter is not on individual vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants. And so on.

In brief, I’ve learned over my decades of focus on public health nutrition, that the bottom line of most studies about individual nutrients seems to end up the same way – that we need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans; and less meat, saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and empty calories like sugar.

In my opinion, the focus of eating an orange for vitamin C, or a banana for Potassium is not so very helpful. ‘Why,’ you ask? If you’re tired of bananas or oranges, you may think that you’re not getting your vitamin C or Potassium. If you’re really disciplined and keep eating the bananas, for example, you may risk becoming tired of them; then they go on the list ‘I can never eat another banana.’  Just as the banana and the orange have hundreds of nutrients, so do the other fruits and vegetables that you eat. Surprisingly, some may have more of the ‘marker nutrient’ than the fruit or vegetable you have chosen to eat. So I personally, believe that it is a better goal for you to strive to eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Seriously, do you really need to know the difference between the nutrients in a mango or a pomegranate?

Part of what I’m trying to do on this blog and newsletter, is to help you learn about some new ways of eating. Providing recipes and food ideas that you may have not considered in the past. NOTE:  I hope that you will share your recipes too.

In addition, I’m trying to lead you away from thinking that you need to get your nutrients from supplements to be healthy. Supplements are generally sold (at a considerable price) as a single nutrient or from a single food (like some supposedly exotic berry - it’s something like Ponce de Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth.) My opinion is that these substances are going to make our pockets lighter, and not give us the thousands of nutrients that are packed in natural fiber-containing whole real foods. And as I’ve recently written, science doesn’t know yet, if it is the effect of single nutrients, or some synergism of several nutrients working together to deliver a specific type of health.

I’ve been fascinated for decades, that it turns out that the fruits, vegetables and whole grains have won the prize as related to decreasing risk for what seemed divergent types of diseases (for example, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and so on.) Is it just a really interesting coincidence; or do our body’s cells stay healthy by a common group of nutrients found in real food?

Consider taking some time, purchasing a new-to-you fruit or vegetable and use it in a new recipe, ‘cause only what actually makes it to your tummy benefits your body.' Do you only think of cranberries as sauce with turkey? Try this Caramelized Relish for Chicken with your turkey.