There are over 8,000 studies showing that eating more fruits and vegetables reduces your risk of almost every disease we know of:
…and many more!
Yet, despite this massive body of research, the average American still eats only 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And often at least one of those servings include french fries!
So is it any wonder why we have skyrocketing rates of almost every chronic disease known to man now?
Well, let me tell you the story from my parents’ perspective…
The History of Diabetes
When my mother and father graduated from medical school, Type II Diabetes used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes. Why? Because it ONLY occurred in adults, often only in the elderly.
Today, it’s incredibly common for children to be suffering from Adult Onset Diabetes! Except, of course, it’s no longer called that. Now they just call it Type II Diabetes because it would be ridiculous to diagnose children with a disease that only afflicts adults. So they changed the name of Diabetes… But did the disease change in the past 40 years? Not at all.
What has changed over the last 40 years that has made diabetes so common? And just how common is diabetes anyways?
Well, one study found that children born in the year 2000 will have a 33% to 50% chance of getting diabetes by the year 2030. This means at least one third and as much as one half of our country will be suffering from Type II diabetes – man, women and children. Early onset of Type II Diabetes in children means we’ll be having millions of children on dialysis, millions of children suffering amputations, blindness, kidney failure and other horrendous suffering caused by this disease.
Yet, once again, this disease did not even exist 40 years ago in children…
The answer to this problem is more simple than most people realize, yet more complex than you might think.
In the last 40 years, we’ve seen the introduction of thousands of foreign to nature chemicals introduced into our food supplies, our air and our drinking waters. We’ve seen massive pollution of the oceans, farmlands, soil, and water reservoirs. We’ve seen massive emissions into the air of toxic chemicals, mercury, PCB’s and much more.
Many believe these environmental factors are at the heart of the disease epidemic now wreaking havoc on Americans and many other countries as well. It’s not just America that has skyrocketing rates of chronic disease in younger and younger citizens. It’s also happening in the United Kingdom, most of Western Europe, Australia, and even China.
But, at least for now, America is by far in the worst shape. So we can “See ahead” so to speak what may be in store for other countries who continue down the path of more and more disease.
But if it was pollution alone that caused the skyrocketing diabetes epidemic, how come then other countries who have more pollution are not seeing even worse diabetes rates?
China for instance is notorious for its polluted air and water. Almost everyone knows that the air in Shanghai is so toxic that you are bound to come down with respiratory problems just from breathing it in for a few days, or even hours.
So, logic then, would lead us to believe that it’s not environmental pollution in itself causing the disease epidemics.
What else then could it be?
Others believe it is exercise that makes the difference. Citing good studies showing a massive reduction in the amount of movement and exercise people get every day in America, they say this is the reason we are so sick. If only we got up from our desks and moved around a bit more, we would not suffer so much disease.
And there is much scientific evidence to back this theory up. Americans do indeed live a sedentary lifestyle and this lack of exercise causes huge health problems. Lack of exercise increases the risk for almost every disease we know of from depression to obesity to diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer risk.
Yet when one looks at the fittest people in the world who exercise the most, like olympic and professional athletes, we often see another story. It’s almost commonplace now for a professional athlete to drop dead during a game from a heart attack. Why is that? Isn’t exercise the holy grail of health?
Exercise is without a doubt important for good health. But most people don’t understand that exercise, especially heavy and intense exercise, dramatically increases oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is a natural process in the body that occurs when you burn your food for fuel at the cellular level.
When your mitochondria, the little engines within your cells, produce energy by burning glucose with oxygen, they produce ATP (energy). Yet, they also produce as a byproduct of this reaction free radicals (aka oxidative radicals). These free radicals are unstable molecules, missing an electron, that collide with other nearby molecules, damaging them and potentially disrupting important cellular functions.
The more you exercise, the more you burn fuel in your mitochondria and the more oxidative stress goes on in your body. A common result of this phenomenon is actually quite well known in the fitness world – they call it “overtraining.” Overtraining is when an athlete just breaks down. For many years, no one knew why this occurred. The athlete just suddenly experienced a massive reduction their ability to perform physically.
Oftentimes, it was accompanied by a serious illness or other symptoms that prevented the athlete from competing anymore. But now we know that overtraining is contributed to by oxidative stress. When the body is no longer able to defend itself against the building levels of free radicals, the balance is tipped so to speak and the athlete falls off the edge. Their health goes downhill and quite quickly as does the ability to perform.
What we know about free radicals is that they don’t just damage on molecule and stop… A single free radical molecule can damage one molecule and then move on to another, and another, and another… in a seemingly endless potentiality of destruction. Until that free radical is neutralized, it will continue to damage more and more molecules, and turning those molecules into free radicals, almost like an avalanche that grows as it goes down the mountain.
This could be why oxidative-stress related diseases and conditions, like overtraining, seem to occur to quickly. When, in reality, the disease or condition was building overtime as the oxidative stress load grew and grew until finally the avalanche was unstoppable.
Does this mean exercise is bad for you because it increases oxidative stress?
No, not at all! Exercise is very good for you. But we must simply understand and accept the fact that increased exercise leads to increased oxidative stress – and we must be willing to protect ourselves from this oxidative stress by giving our body what it needs to protect itself – antioxidants.
How Antioxidants Work
Antioxidants come from natural plant sources. They do not come from animal products. They do not come from processed foods – only from plants – fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and seeds.
How do antioxidants prevent oxidative stress?
Antioxidants work in many ways. Most commonly, they either directly or indirectly neutralize the damaged free radical molecules through a complex process called an “antioxidant cascade.” These antioxidant cascades could require 10, 20, 100, or even more antioxidants or phytonutrients from plants to effectively neutralize the free radical molecule.
This is why it’s so important to eat many antioxidants – from a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, seeds and nuts. It’s essential to eat many tens of thousands of these nutrients because they work together in synergy. If an antioxidant cascade requires 100 nutrients or antioxidants to come to completion and your body is missing just one, it can’t work! Or it can’t work properly at least. And so the whole process breaks down and your body is unable to defend itself.
This is why isolated, fragmented antioxidants from vitamin supplements simply do not work – they do not prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes or any other chronic condition.
The History of Vitamins
We used to think vitamin supplements were the answer to better health. If we need antioxidants to protect ourselves, why not just take a vitamin pill and be done with it? But just in the last 20 years we’ve discovered tens of thousands of phytonutrients and antioxidants that we never knew existed before. Just one apple, for instance, contains over 10,000 phytonutrients – and probably tens of thousands more just waiting to be discovered!
And the most amazing thing about this is that we have NO IDEA what these tens of thousands of antioxidants and phytonutrients do. We just know that they exist naturally in fruits, vegetables, berries and other plant foods.
So when you come to understand how many antioxidants there are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, and you understand how antioxidant cascades work, and you understand that your body has hundreds, maybe even thousands or tens of thousands of different kinds of antioxidant cascade processes going on in the body, you start to realize why a multivitamin with 30 or 40 nutrients in it could never possibly give your body what it needs to reduce oxidative stress – and to reduce your risk of disease.
And this theory has been confirmed by hundreds of studies in the last 20-30 years showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that isolated vitamin supplements DO NOT reduce your risk for disease – not at all! In fact, in several studies it has been found that isolated vitamin supplements can actually INCREASE your risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Yet over 60% of Americans still take some kind of vitamin supplement – despite the research showing that they do not work and may in fact increase your risk of disease and death.
Fruits and Vegetables
The case for fruits and vegetables is growing every day as more and more studies come out showing the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Over 8,000 studies now show conclusively, beyond any shadow of a doubt when one looks at the totality of the research, that fruits and vegetables reduce your risk of diseases – cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many more.
In fact, many scientific reviews have been done showing that fruit and vegetable intake is the MOST IMPORTANT predictor of whether or not you will suffer a major chronic disease – diabetes, cancer, heart disease or stroke. The data on fruits and vegetables shows it’s even more important for your health how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat every day than whether or not you smoke, exercise, or drink alcohol!
This is exactly why the USDA, the American Cancer Society, the World Health Organization and hundreds of other governmental and nonprofit health groups around the world recommend people eat more fruits and vegetables. Most of these organizations recommend eating 7-13 servings a day. And many are considering raising those dietary recommendations to 15 or even 20 servings a day for good health!
Yet, once again, the average American eats only 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
So is it any wonder why we’re suffering an epidemic of chronic disease never before witnessed in the world?
I’ll let you decide.
If Vitamins don’t help, what can we do?
Juicing Fruits and Vegetables
One of the best and most well known ways to dramatically increase your fruit and vegetable intake is through juicing. Ever since the “Juice Man” came on TV promoting his juicing machine and the miracles of juicing, there has been a small yet loyal subculture of Americans who swear by juicing and its benefits. And the research shows they’re right – juicing fresh raw fruits and vegetables can dramatically increase the nutrient levels in your bloodstream and reduce your risk for disease – just as eating more fruits and vegetable servings every day can do.
And over the last twenty years, food technology has increased in remarkable ways when it comes to juicing. We now have “slow juicers” which can juice fruits and vegetables so fast they put the old clunky juicers from the 70s and 80s to shame and yet still help retain much more of the raw nutrients and enzymes from the produce than the older technologies. This is indeed one of the few improvements in food technology that actually has the potential to truly impact and improve human health and help prevent disease.
Yet, despite the dramatic improvements in juicing technology, a good high quality juicer still costs anywhere from $300 to $5,000. And the cost of the produce itself for juicing is far too great for more families in the median income range of around $40,000 a year.
Then, of course, there is the time and hassle of juicing. It could take 20-30 minutes to make a cup of juice for cleaning, washing, and juicing the produce and then the cleanup afterwards of the machine and countertops. There’s also the problem of spoilage and fridge space. You often have to buy 5, 10, or 20 pound bags of carrots, apples, and other produce to save money and if you don’t eat it or juice it fast, it will rot!
Because of the hassles and cost of juicing, many people simply won’t do it. Luckily for them, there may be another way to get the benefits of fruits and vegetables without the hassle and cost of juicing, and without having to eat a large salad for every meal.
Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate Supplements
Over the last 20 years, there has been a new food technology in the supplement world that has changed everything, at least for those who know about it. They’re called whole food supplements or fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrates.
Basically, fruits and vegetables are juiced in a factory and then the water and sugar are removed. The fiber, of course, is removed during the juicing. So what you’re left with are the micronutrients – all the tens of thousands of antioxidants naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables.
There are some potential problems with these supplements though – contamination, purity, and processing. If the produce is not organic or the processing is not just right, the powders could be contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, radiation, bacteria or “Fillers.”
Fillers are inactive ingredients or chemicals that are either intentionally or unintentionally put into the supplement. Some are there simply to “fill” up the supplement to make it look like there’s more juice powders than there are. Others are simply byproducts of the processing of the produce. Either way, you want to make sure you only take supplements that are free of any fillers.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure any fruit and vegetable supplement you take is free of all pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, radiation or bacteria. Preferably, each batch would be tested at an independent laboratory to make sure there are no such contaminants in the product you’re taking every day for your health.
Other potential problems with fruit and vegetable supplements include the processing – and specifically heat. When fruits and vegetables are heated above around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, all of the naturally occurring enzymes are deactivated, rendering them unusable by the body. Furthermore, many of the antioxidants and phytonutrients are destroyed as well by cooking – nutrients like folic acid, for example, can be as much as 95% destroyed or denatured by cooking.
So you’ll want to make sure that any fruit and vegetable supplement you take is not heated or cooked at all during the processing. This is why bottled fruit and vegetable juices just don’t cut it. By law, any fruit or vegetable juice must be pasteurized in America, destroying all of the enzymes and many other nutrients and antioxidants in the process. Drinking fruit and vegetable juices from the store just won’t cut it when it comes to providing your body with what it needs to prevent and reduce your risk for disease.
My family and I take one fruit and vegetable juice supplement that has passed the test for us. It’s batch-tested for all heavy metals, radiation, pesticides, herbicides, and bacteria. It’s processed at low temperatures to ensure it’s never high heated and all of the enzymes are active and the antioxidants are not damaged in the processing. You can learn more about this fruit and vegetable juice powder supplement here.
Fruit and Vegetable Supplement Research
There have been a number of very fascinating studies done recently on fruit and vegetable juice supplements. Here, we’ll review some of the research studies and the findings.
Fruit and vegetable supplements and nutrient levels in blood
There are dozens of studies showing that eating a fruit and vegetable juice powder supplement can dramatically increase antioxidant levels in you bloodstream. In fact, one study showed that lycopene increased by over 1700% after just a few weeks of supplementation!
Current Therapeutic Research (1996): Changes in plasma carotenoid, alpha-tocopherol, and lipid peroxide levels in response to supplementation with concentrated fruit and vegetable extracts: a pilot study
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (2009): β-Carotene and α-tocopherol in healthy overweight adults; depletion kinetics are correlated with adiposity
Fruit and vegetable supplements reduce risk of common colds
A few studies have even shown that supplementing with a fruit and veggie concentrate can reduce common cold symptoms and sick days by as much as 50%.
Fruit and vegetable supplements and immune function
There are a few studies showing that eating a fruit and veggie supplement can improve immune function.
Integrative Medicine (1999): Immune Function in Elderly Smokers and Nonsmokers Improves During Supplementation with Fruit and Vegetable Extracts
Fruit and vegetable supplements and cardiovascular health
Several studies show improvements in cardiovascular health from supplementing with a fruit and veggie concentrate. One study, nicknamed “The Big Mac Study” showed dramatic reduction in vasoconstriction after eating a high fat meal. This is truly a fascinating study done by Dr. Gary Plotnick and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology!
What happens when you eat a high fat meal, such as a fast food fried meal, your arteries constrict dramatically by as much as 60% or more for 4 to 6 hours. This constriction occurs, scientists believe, because of damage to the endothelial cells – the special cells that line your blood vessels and arteries and are responsible for blood vessel constriction and blood flow modulation.
That’s why so may people suffer heart attacks after a meal. Because their blood vessels were already partially blocked by plaque caused by hardening of the arteries and oxidative stress in the blood vessels. Then, that massive arterial constriction from the high fat meal was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, and brought on the onset of a heart attack.
Researchers found that supplementing with a fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrate reduced this vasoconstriction by 60% to 99% after just 28 days of supplementation! This dramatic protection of vasoactivity could mean huge benefits for cardiovascular health from fruit and veggie supplements.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2003): Effect of supplemental phytonutrients on impairment of the flow-mediated brachialartery vasoactivity after a single high-fat meal
Fruit and vegetable supplements and inflammation
Inflammation contributes to almost every chronic disease we know of and is closely linked to oxidative stress. Reducing inflammation is a sign that the body is healing itself and better able to modulate immune function.
Molecular Nutrition and Food Research (2010): Systemic inflammatory load in humans is suppressed by consumption of two formulations of dried, encapsulated juice concentrate.
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (2000): Availability of micronutrients from dried, encapsulated fruit and vegetable preparations: a study in healthy volunteers
Fruit and vegetable supplements and oxidative stress
There are numerous studies on fruit and veggie supplements showing they reduce oxidative stress in the bloodstream by as much as 75% and, in some study participants, free radicals in the bloodstream were undetectable after supplementation! This is huge. If fruit and veggie supplementation can reduce circulating free radicals by as much as 75%, imagine the impact of that on your health over one year, five years, ten years or more.
Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise (2011): Effects of a fruit/berry/vegetable supplement on muscle function and oxidative stress.
Read The Research:
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007): Four week supplementation with mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrates increased protective serum antioxidants and folate and decreased plasma homocysteine in Japanese subjects
Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2004): Supplementation with Mixed Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrates Increased Serum Antioxidants and Folate in Healthy Adults
Fruit and vegetable supplements and pregnancy health
One fascinating study on fruit and vegetable supplements was a retrospective study done in a medical office by an obstetrician in Mississippi. The study found a reduction in preeclampsia rates from 21% to 0% in mothers who took a fruit and veggie supplement during the pregnancy.
Fruit and vegetable supplements and DNA damage
We’ve even found a few studies on DNA damage and fruit and veggie supplements. These studies showed a reduction in DNA damage by as much as 66%. Theoretically, if you could reduce DNA damage, you can reduce the risk of mutations and cancers.
Fruit and vegetable supplements and skin health
We found one study on skin health showing that participants who took a fruit and veggie supplement had improved skin density and moisture when compared to placebo.
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology (2011): An Encapsulated Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate Increases Skin Microcirculation in Healthy Women
Fruit and vegetable supplements and periodontal health
One study found that eating a fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrate helped dramatically improve participants who had severe periodontal disease (gum disease). The patients taking the supplement showed reduced pocket depth.
Journal of Clinical Periodontology (2011): Adjunctive daily supplementation with encapsulated fruit, vegetable and berry juice powder concentrates and clinical periodontal outcomes: a double-blind RCT
Fruit and vegetable supplements and athletes health
A few studies have been done in athletes and fruit and veggie supplements. One of them studied the elite Cobra forces in Austria and showed a reduction in permanent protein damage in muscles called protein carbonyls. The study also found a reduction in missed work days due to illness by as much as 50%, showing that supplementing with fruits and veggies could reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.
Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise (2009): Protein Modification Responds to Exercise Intensity and Antioxidant Supplementation
Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise (2006): Oxidative Stress Response to Aerobic Exercise: Comparison of Antioxidant Supplements
How To Pick The Right Supplement For You
Picking the right fruit and vegetable supplement may be hard at first, but after a little research you’ll quickly find that there are only a few good candidates out there. Look through the research studies and you will find the supplement that stands out for you.
If you’d like to learn more about what fruit and vegetable supplement we recommend, you can sign up for our free nutrition and supplement report below: