Senior Health: Dark Red and Green Fruits and Veggies

Nov 2nd, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts had an interesting article this week on the benefits of berries as an antioxidant.  Another article addressed whether or not diet could improve the chronic condition called glaucoma.  It occurred to us that taking another look at the relationship between diet and disease is in order.

Dark red and green fruits and veggies have amazing antioxidant value.  Antioxidants are nutrients in foods that fight free radicals; but those pesky little things (free radicals) can cause cell damage, and contribute to chronic disease like cancer,

heart disease, diabetes and strokes.  So eating foods high in antioxidants makes a lot of sense in order to keep chronic diseases as far away as possible.

But can diet actually prevent disease, or cure it?  The long and short answer is, for the most part, we don’t really know.  In the article referenced above related to glaucoma, the Medical Health Alert is clear:  diet will not cure glaucoma; those afflicted with the disease will be using eye drops for the rest of their lives to treat the symptoms; it is not likely the disease will ever be ‘cured’.  But it makes sense to eat a diet rich in antioxidants anyway, for general health benefits, not necessarly in hopes that glaucoma will one day go away.

On the other hand, more research is being done daily on the provable relationship between diet and disease, and some fascinating results are beginning to surface.  A naturopathic nutritionist recently worked with a sister of one of SCJ’s editors regarding a chronic itchy-excema-kind of rash on her hands.  She’d had it for years.  Over the course of almost a year, the rash finally began to disappear, and now she is free of a problem only a steroid-laden cream could address in the past.  The highly-experienced nutritionist discovered the relationship between certain conditions in the body and the itchy rash.  She’d treated it before and knew what to do; much of the treatment was related to diet and supplements, a lot of dark red and green fruits and veggies.  The rash is now gone.

Although pharmaceutical companies will not likely finance studies to determine the relationship between diet and disease, other philanthropists may become intrigued enough to want to support such studies.  Hopefully we will know more about how diet affects disease in the future.



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