Two recent meta-studies are changing ideas about healthy eating. The first found that eating a handful of nuts a day lowers mortality rates. The second suggests that we should be eating up to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day instead of the currently recommended five servings.
A meta-study is a study that looks at data from multiple other studies that have already been done. Although cleaning the data in order to get meaningful results is a challenge, it allows researchers to look at much larger populations, over much longer time frames than can be done with any individual study. When done well, it yields results that are more reliable than what you can be determined from smaller, individual studies.
Each of these meta-studies found reductions in serious medical conditions, such as coronary disease, stroke and cancer. Each study also found a reduction in mortality. In other words, people who regularly eat nuts or who consume up to twice as much produce as is currently recommended are both healthier than average and they typically live longer than other people.
Although you should pay attention to how these foods are prepared, they do not have to be raw or organic to have a positive health impact. Studies also show that frozen fruits and vegetables retain their nutrients longer than fresh produce. So it does not all have to come from the fresh produce section of your local grocer. It is fine to stock on frozen produce for convenience.
Some tips for trying to eat healthy:
Buy fresh or frozen produce.
Learn to do a little prep ahead of time to make fruits into convenient snack items.
If available, get dry roasted nuts instead of nuts roasted in various oils.
Do not overcook fruits and vegetables. Overcooking destroys nutrients. Stir frying is a great option for not overcooking.
When eating out, choose salads, ethnic cuisines and baked options instead of deep fried foods.
This does not have to be a chore. The most recent study showed that adding any produce to your diet reduced disease and mortality.
The improvement gets better and better up to 800 grams of produce per day. But, if you currently don’t eat any fruits and veggies, adding just 200 grams per day can cut your risk of heart disease by 16 percent, your risk of stroke by 18 percent, and your risk of premature death by 15 percent.
In recent years, research has overturned many long-held beliefs about what constitutes healthy eating. Two new studies suggest that you can lower your mortality by eating a handful of nuts daily, or eating up to twice as much produce as is currently recommended.