Every day, emails hit inbox reporting the latest nutrition research, food innovations and product development. It can be overwhelming.
Here’s are the headlines from just a few of the emails I received on a single day in May:
• Cocoa products show consistent blood pressure benefits.
• Black pepper extract could fight fat by blocking cell formation.
• Red wine polyphenols show prebiotic potential.
• Tomato juice shows sports nutrition potential.
• Soy compounds show heart health benefits for diabetic women.
• Flavonoid-rich berries could half memory declines.
• Chile pepper compound shows cholesterol-busting potential.
Do you see a common thread? They are all about naturally occurring substances in food. A health-conscious person who keeps up with the news could easily chase a new “super food” every week.
What’s the best way to respond to the “breaking science” of plant phytochemicals? In the words of Michael Pollen, “eat food.”
All plant foods offer benefits. It doesn’t matter that this week science might say raspberries are edging out strawberries for antioxidant potency. All berries are super foods, all dark fruits and vegetables are super foods, even lighter colored fruits and veggies offer powerful nutrition.
Aim for at least five cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Eat the ones you like. If you are in a holding pattern of only two or three fruits or veggies daily, try new ones not only for health benefits but the possibility of discovering wonderful new tastes.
Add spinach to a lettuce and tomato salad; try broccoli slaw with your next cookout and throw a few blueberries in a salad. It’s all good.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.