What’s the Number 1 Killer in the United States? Diet!

Did You Know…that our biggest death risk is our diet, and that the number one dietary problem may be as simple as not eating enough fruit?

According to the 2012 Global Burden of Disease Study, it’s true: diet is the number 1 killer in the United States, and the most important dietary risk is not eating enough fruit.  In case you find this hard to believe, the Global Burden of Disease Study was the largest and most comprehensive systematic analysis of causes of death ever undertaken.  It was conducted jointly by almost 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries.  Worldwide, inadequate fruit consumption is responsible for an estimated 4.9 million deaths, according to the data.

 

Statement From the Union of Concerned Scientists

“If Americans ate just 1 more serving of fruits or vegetables per day, this would save more than 30,000 lives and $5 billion in medical costs each year.”


Protection Against Platelets: The Fruit Effect 

One way that fruits and other plants protect our health is through their antiplatelet effects.  Platelets in our blood have the important function of forming clots, which of course protect us when we are bleeding.  However, too much platelet activity is also the culprit behind the kinds of blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes.  Platelets are also thought to have dangerous inflammatory effects that lead to hardening of the arteries, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can help offset the negative effects of platelets.

The Benefits of Berries 

For example, researchers have shown that certain types of strawberries can have a significant antiplatelet effect in a petri dish as well as in real people.  Researchers actually looked at platelet activity in the blood of volunteers before and after they had eaten a pint of strawberries daily for a month and found a significant beneficial difference.

Other berries offered similar benefits, sometimes in quantities of only two servings per day.  While no benefits were observed with orange or grapefruit juices, grape juice reduced platelet activity as well as aspirin, which has long been recognized for its heart protective qualities.  Of course, aspirin can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and bleeding problems, while fruit is completely safe and side-effect free.

More Good News for Berries  

Berries are widely believed to be the healthiest fruits, valued for their protective benefits for our brains, our immune systems, our eyesight, and more.


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