The Power of Produce

It’s no secret that eating your fruits and vegetables is a proven practice when attempting to better one’s health.  I’ve previously written a blog (The Teeth Whitening Diet) which outlines a few of the many dental benefits of fruits and vegetables, but the benefits don’t stop in your mouth.  There are countless ways that these super foods can keep your body working smoothly, and a recent Miami Herald article described yet another one.  “Eat your fruits and veggies,” by Mary MacVean discusses recent research that shows how eating more produce can help post-menopausal women lose weight and keep it off.

The benefits of fruits and veggies for oral health are quite extensive.  Not only do hard produce, such as raw apples, celery, carrots, and cauliflower act as a tooth brush for your teeth, they also help produce saliva which can keep plaque from forming.  The acid found in oranges and pineapples can actually help whiten teeth and fight bacteria that cause bad breath.  Experts agree that a white, bright smile can help make you look up to 10 years younger, and offers quite the self-esteem boost too.  The same can be said for weight-loss, but any woman in the post-menopausal phase of life would agree, that gets harder to achieve with age.  The study, published recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that adding more produce to ones diet doesn’t necessarily help shed pounds quickly, but in the long-run, the behavior helps many lose and maintain weight.

Bethany Barone Gibbs, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh department of health and physical activity, claims that one of the most challenging components of weight-loss is longevity.  Obviously, motivation is an issue, as many struggle to keep the same intensity over the long-haul as they had when they first started dieting.  There are also physiological changes that occur, including a decrease in resting metabolic rate, an increase in appetite-associated hormones, and a natural increased desire to eat more once you’ve lost weight.  With these cards stacked against you, it’s amazing anyone can lose weight and keep it off.  The study examined over 500 over-weight women, all who had the desire to lose weight.  With two control groups, they looked at the data after six months then again after four years.  At the six-month check, the researchers found that factors such as eating fewer deserts and fried foods, drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, and eating out less contributed to weight-loss success.  Some of those factors still played a minor role at the four-year mark, however eating more produce and less meat and cheese emerged as an important predictor of long-term weight loss.  The moral of this story is obvious: Eat your fruits and veggies! Your mouth and waistline will thank you!

Written by Mark Paulsort

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