Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!



Fruits and vegetables are vital components to the anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Eating copious amounts of the right types of these disease-fighting foods will allow you to improve your health, feel better, look better, and have more energy! Countless studies have shown eating fruits and vegetables decreases your risk of heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, and numerous other chronic diseases. Your first step is to begin adding non-starchy vegetables to your meals in large quantities. Since 4 cups of green leafy vegetables such as spinach only contain around 30 calories, gaining unhealthy weight from these sources is not an issue! The only vegetables to be generally avoided are starchy tubers, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams, as these are high glycemic foods that can cause large spikes in blood sugar. However, if you are an athlete training for an event or simply engaging in regular heavy exercise, then these foods can be added to enhance your performance.

Certain types of fruits are better sources of energy than others. Glycemic index and glycemic load are two concepts that have been popularized in the last several years, and are very important to understanding what foods you should be eating. The glycemic index measures how fast a particular food triggers a rise in blood sugar. The higher the amount of glucose or fructose in a food, the fast it breaks down and causes a rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. Grains and starches are simply long chains of glucose held together by carbon bonds. As a result, they break down very quickly and rapidly enter the blood, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are between 30 and 70 percent fructose, another type of sugar. Fructose converts very slowly to glucose in the liver, so it causes a much smaller insulin response. The insoluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables also acts to further slow down the entrance of fructose into the bloodstream. The total <A rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link/1241890’);” href=”“>glycemic load</A> of a meal is also important. If a high glycemic food, such as a banana is consumed with a low glycemic food such as a chicken breast, the effect on insulin levels will be much less drastic than if the banana was eaten alone.

Now you can see why eating a potato or piece of bread, which are 100 percent glucose, causes a greater insulin spike than pure table sugar, which is half glucose and half fructose. This is why the concept of glycemic load is even more important, because it takes into account not only the rate at which a food enters the bloodstream, but the amount of calories it contains. This is very important because some foods have a very high total <A rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link/1241890’);” href=””>glycemic index</A>, but do not contain many calories, so their glycemic load is relatively low. For example, a bagel and a serving of watermelon both have a glycemic index of 72, while the glycemic load of the fruit is a mere 4 compared to 25 for the bagel! The higher the glycemic load of your diet, the more insulin your body is producing. A study at Harvard Medical School actually found the higher glycemic load of your diet; the more likely you are to develop obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Clearly, this is an incredibly important concept that must be considered when deciding what foods to eat.

The great thing about the <A rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link/1241890’);” href=”“>anti-inflammatory</A> method of eating we teach our patients is naturally low glycemic. It should come as no surprise that eating the foods we were designed to eat results in a healthy insulin response, not the jarring ups and downs in mood, energy and overall health that eating a pro-inflammatory diet can cause. For example, a person who is overweight with Type II diabetes will have very different needs, even in regards to the type of fruits and vegetables they are eating, than a competitive tri-athlete burning thousands of calories a day. It cannot be emphasized enough that this program is specific to your needs, not a one-size-fits-all approach. In the Resources section of your manual we have included tables with the glycemic index and load of many common foods as well as recipes using low glycemic foods.


Source by Dr. Jonathan Walker